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Showing posts from April, 2011

How we do Sprint Zero

Today, a reader of my newsletter asked me,
What is the purpose of Sprint Zero?

A colleague of mine argued that during Sprint Zero, the team implements the most important features from the product backlog with the object of determining the team's velocity. I disagreed, because we have the velocity from previous sprints/projects. So could you help me to understand clearly what is Sprint 0 about and when and why do we need it? I really appreciate your helps and articles. Thank you! Sprint Zero is often used to mean 'getting ready for the first sprint.' Some Scrum coaches don't like the term because every sprint should produce an increment of value for the customer or user. A sprint 0 which creates say, artifacts like a design document or development environment, violates this rule, because such artifacts have no value for the customer or user.

Still there are some things you need to have ready before you can do your first sprint planning:
You must have the roles ide…

LAS Conference 2011: Submission Deadline Extended

We have extended the submission deadline to April 30. Since the most of the Program Commission is on vacation the last two weeks of April, it didn't really make any sense to require submissions by income tax day.

In the meantime, the Scrum Alliance has announced that Stephen Denning will be Keynote speaker for the Scrum Gathering in Seattle, so this conference will be an opportunity to meet him for those Europeans who cannot make it to Seattle.

Full details about the CFP are on the conference homepage (English, German)

Interview: Mary Poppendieck on Lean, Scrum, Kanban and Leadership

Last year Mary Poppendieck delighted the participants of the Lean Agile Scrum Conference in Zürich with her stories about and approach to lean leadership and 'the tyranny of the plan.'

She told an amazing story of the building of the Empire State Building in New York. Although 4 times bigger that any previous building, it was built in just a year. The architects did not even have a design when they started! At it was completed on time and held the record of world tallest building for 40 years. The lessons of this building illustrate core principles in managing companies and software projects.

Peter Stevens: Mary, what is the core message of lean leadership? 

Mary B. Poppendieck: The core message of lean leadership is 1) focus on delivering ever increasing value to customers, and 2) do this by leveraging the brainpower of bright, creative people.

PS: What is the biggest obstacle to adopting Lean Thinking in Management?

MBP: As I see it, management incentives usually focus on max…

Scrum Breakfast May: Demo Driven Development

Meeting real deadlines is a hard and stressful job. It's a job that typically eats all resources available because when the best way is known, it is preferred to go full steam ahead. Except that typically the best way is not known. While the status quo can be comfortable, it is certainly not perfect. There always is something to improve. However, when entrenched in a routine, it is hard to find that something and how to improve it.

In this talk, Tudor Girba draws a number of lessons learned during seven years spent in the research world. These principles are universally applicable.

His approach is simple, easy and inexpensive to apply, and can be used with a wide range of activities, including the design of software systems, understanding clients' requirements, or managing teams.

When: Wednesday May 4, 2011, 8.00 to 11.00
Where: SwissICT, Vulkanstrasse 120, 8048 Zürich
This talk will be held in English.
More Info and Registration: SwissICT

And of course, we will hav…

Changes to DasScrumTeam Course Program for the Fall

In a few days, we at DasScrumTeam will announce our Swiss course program for the fall. We are planning 4 courses in Zürich (including 2 CSPO's) and 3 in Bern (including 1 CSPO). My partners, Andreas Schliep, Peter Beck and I decided to take this opportunity to make some improvements to our course program.

Here is a summary of the changes:
Consistant naming of all courses. "Jumpstart" now refers to entry level Scrum courses, so we have:Certified ScrumMaster/Jumpstart -- in Switzerland, this is our current practice; in Germany and Austria, these are new names. Certified Scrum Product Owner/Jumpstart -- the Jumpstart name is now applied to CSPO courses as well.There are no new dates for "CSM for Scrum Professionals." We plan to re-evaluate our advanced course concept in the context of new guidance from the certifying bodies.Our CSM/Jumpstart course will become a 3 day course, like the CSPO. We made this change because our participants repeatedly asked for more time…

Scrum Breakfast April: Agile Leadership

A last minute reminder:

It's easy to start an Agile project. It's hard to do it well. Siegfried ("Sigi") Kaltenecker an experienced corporate coach has observed that this is often a leadership problem. So, how should leadership be set up in an agile context? Who is involved in what way? How does the team manage itself and what does line management do?


His most recent study, 'Leadership Success Factors in an Agile Environment'  brings possible answers extracted from extensive interviews with 60 experts from various organizations. He also proposes two new training concepts, in which learning team leadership and agile management are the focal points.


When: Wednesday April 6, 2011, 8.00 to 11.00
Where: SwissICT, Vulkanstrasse 120, 8048 Zürich
This talk will be held in German.
More Info and Registration: SwissICT

And of course, we will have the usual coffee & gipfeli beforehand, a 15 Minute introduction to Lean, Agile & Scrum for those who need it, and ou…

Interview: Seth Kahan on Getting Change Right

I met Seth Kahan, virtually, after I decided to participate in the Washington Gathering on Radical Management. So I downloaded his book on getting change right. While browsing through the table of contents, I came on the section 'Jumpstart Storytelling' - I jumped to it directly!

My reaction? "Wow, this guy really does know about making change happen!" So I am all the more honored and enthusiastic to be part of the gathering. We corresponded a bit on the change process - here is an excerpt from our discussion:

Peter Stevens: You have written about getting change right. What is the wrong way to go about change?

Seth Kahan: The biggest drain on momentum and brainpower in change efforts today is obsession with the project plan. I have seen more projects flounder and die because leaders and consultants are hammering out finely detailed project plans rather than engaging people.

People create project plans for many reasons. Here are three I see often:
It is tempting to i…