Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2009

Scrum Breakfast in Zürich, July 1, 2009, Adapt Scrum to your needs?

It's 10 o'clock, do you know where your children are?

If there's anyone who can answer that question, it's Silvan Mühlemann, co-founder and Head of IT at tilllate, the leading European site dedicated to the subject of Night Life.

Silvan had been interested in Scrum for a long time. He wanted his development group to be more productive and predictable (hitting deadlines) and he wanted to improve the level of trust between management and development. Scrum looked promising, but he wasn't convinced that Scrum by the book would fit in his company. Is it possible to adapt Scrum without losing the advantages of Scrum?

You can expect an interesting discussion on 
whether Scrum can be modified without being compromized
how easy/difficult it was to deploy Scrum
the effects of Scrum on Team and Management satisfaction Date: July 1, 2009

Location, namics zürich, konradstrasse 12, 8005 zurich
Doors open at 8.00, talk starts promptly at 8.35

As usual, namics sponsors the Coffee an…

Follow the Zurich Lean Agile Scrum Conference on Twitter

Next week, Zurich's first Lean Agile Scrum Conference will take place at the ETH.

We'll be tweeting about the event live at

If you haven't registered yet, it's not too late. Presently we have over 80 registrations for the main event and 112 registrations for Ken Schwabers Scrum Breakfast Talk 'Done and Not Done.'  That's roughly 10 times the number of participants at the original Scrum Breakfast in October 2007. It should be a great day!

for the conference just for the breakfast
And even if you can't come, you can follow the event on twitter!

Can Scrum play a key role in fixed price projects achieving their target?

This question came up on the Scrum Development List yesterday. Here's my take on it:

> Can Scrum play a key role in fixed price projects achieving their target?

Absolutely! In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think Scrum is the best way to take on a fixed price project.

The process starts in pre-sales so that you set the expectations with the customer and leave yourself some maneuvering room to even out the risks of various pieces of the project. Some things will go quicker, others slower. You need to make sure that even if some things turn against you, the project as a whole stays within bounds.

Ron Jeffries will probably point out at this point that you need to add good engineering to your sound management practices. An he will be right. So you need good engineers working on your project. If they've been working together for a while, been working on a similar project, or been working with Scrum before, you improve the odds in your favor. If they were involve…

Towards Agile Support

2 years ago, Anton Schultschick, Leader of IT Support for the EE Department of the ETH Zürich attended my /ch/open workshop on Scrum and got curious about Scrum. 6 months ago, he attended my Scrum Jumpstart with the goal of solving a problem: "My support group has to deal with daily business and we have to successfully complete medium term projects. But the needs of daily business are consuming all our time. We keep the IT running, but we have difficulties with projects. How do we reconcile the two?"

The answer wasn't strictly speaking Scrum. Daily business problems require shorter reaction times  than multi-week sprints would allow. But he did bring home many tools which he could apply to the problem. Today he gaves us a look into what he and his team did:
Big Visible Task Board(s) galore - for project backlog and the individual projects
Weekly iterations for projects Demos instead of reportsRetrospectivesIntroducing the Product Owner concept into the daily work. Someone …

3 Player Ball Point Game

The Ball Point Game (or Tennis Ball Factory, as I like to call it) is one of the most popular games for learning Scrum. This game encapsulates the essence of Scrum like no other: Team-Work, Planning, Retrospectives, Estimating. Continuous Improvement. Everything. But as defined by Boris Gloger, you need 5 people to play. Teaching to a small class, I needed a version which would work with three people. I almost gave up, until I realized that most people have two hands.

The rules of the ball point game are simple: To score a point, everyone in the group must touch the ball once. The ball must have "air time" when the ball is not touching any player. No one may pass the ball to their immediate neighbor. The objective is to score as many points as possible in 2 minutes. The team gets several attempts to improve their score, with a retrospective between each attempt.

If the team is 4 people or less, these rules don't work. The immediate neighbor rule can't be satisfied w…