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Showing posts from March, 2009

Of Light Bulbs and Lasers

"Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare."

— Patrick M. Lencioni in The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team Every time I give a talk, people want to know 'Why do Scrum?' and 'How do I convince my boss?' This example is now a standard part of my Scrum talks (and it's easy to demonstrate):
What is the difference between ordinary light and a laser? A bulb produces white light – light at multiple frequencies going in all directions at once. And there is usually more heat than light. Shine a pen light at the wall during the day, and the effects are invisible if the light is more than a foot or so from the wall.

Laser light is special. The light is all on the same frequency going in the exactly the same direction. A laser pen can illuminate a point across the room by daylight. A laser can read bits on a DVD. A laser can measure the distance to the moon (which i…

From Pointy Haired Boss to ScrumMaster

Why doesn't everybody do Scrum? This is my favorite question to see on the feedback forms after a public talk about Scrum. It showed up again after yesterday's talk to the SAQ (Swiss Association for Quality) annual meeting yesterday in Olten. 

My talk, "From Pointy Haired Boss to ScrumMaster" is available for download.

I also mentioned some useful links:
Scrum Books:
Scrum Courses in German: and
SwissICT Lean Agile Scrum GroupDeutschscrum Mailing List I like doing these "Tech Talk," "Brown-Bag"  or "Do Food" style events for companies and organizations. If you would like a speaker to talk to your company or group about Scrum, just drop me a line. If I have time and you're not too far away, I'm happy to come. I usually do it for free and everybody has a good time and gets excited about Scrum. Just drop me a line if your interested!

Which Scrum Course?

I was asked recently two related questions about Scrum and my Scrum Courses:
Which course should I take?How do I get my manager on board with Scrum?These two questions are more related than they seem. I offer four open courses. Scrum Jumpstart, Practical Product Owner, Certified Scrum Master and Certified Scrum Product Owner (the latter two in cooperation with Certified Scrum Trainer Andreas Schliep).

The Scrum Jumpstart course is about getting people informed and excited about Scrum. It's the best way to get your feet wet with Scrum.

This is also the course to get your manager into Scrum. Take him or her with you, so that s/he can share your excitement and experience with Scrum. It's not just about theory, it's about doing Scrum and doing exercises and role plays which make the advantages of Scrum obvious and intuitive. Scrum is an agile management practice, so your manager should feel right at home.

Scrum Jumpstart is also the course to send your team to as they are getting …

Ken Schwaber to teach CSM in Zürich

Ken Schwaber will be coming to Zürich to teach a Certified Scrum Master course. June 2 & 3, 2009.

Ken is one of the co-developers of the Scrum process and an Agile and Scrum evangelist. He is a signatory to the Agile Manifesto and founded the Agile Alliance and the Scrum Alliance. He has been a software and product developer for most of his long life. Microsoft Press recently released his newest book, "The Enterprise and Scrum".

For more information, check out the course description or register online....

From Mandate to Acceptance: How do I ensure that the developers build what I really need?

In April, for the first time in a while, I'll be addressing the Scrum Breakfast on a topic which probably causes more pain than any other aspect of software development: testing.

As Project Leader, Business Analyst, Product Owner, you want your development team to build the right product and build it right. If you wait to the end of the project to start thinking about quality and the end of the project, you risk building the wrong product, building a system which doesn't work, or building a product which requires extensive (and expensive) corrections between the "end" of development and the actual release.

Scrum and Lean Thinking encourage you to build quality in. How do you specify a software product and ensure that it gets fully tested without causing massive rework in the test phase?

How does the customer perceive quality?
Acceptance Tests - the interface between development and management
Case Study: How to increase the chance of doing it right
As usual, nami…

Explaining Scrum to my Parents

JP recently wrote an article about how he would explain Scrum to his parents. Here's how I would explain it to mine.

Last week, my wife and I took our young children to learn to ski. On the last day, they learned to ride the chair-lift and went down the real mountain (as opposed to the bunny slope) for the first time. They also got to show off their newly learned skills at a "slalom race" where everyone got a medal. Afterward we wanted to do some "real skiing" with the kids, but wary of the potential mood swings of exhausted children (not to mention exhausted parents), we wanted to go down the whole mountain once with the kids then back up the lift, so we could join the path which would let us ski directly to the car. Down to the lift. No problem. Up the lift. No problem. Down to the lift again, no problem. Get in line to go back up.

Problem. As we approached the lift, it stopped. And it didn't restart. After a few minutes, they announced it would be down f…