Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2010

Eight Strategies for Achieving the Scrum Sprint Commitment

I just finished leading an in-house Scrum Product Owner course with a group of 6 actual or future product owners. One of their most pressing issues was what to do when the team does not meet its commitment. "My Team regularly commits to 20 points, then only delivers 10. What can I do?"

We briefly discussed the alternatives of shooting, firing or otherwise punishing team members for not meeting their commitment, but quickly came to the realization that such measures are likely to be counterproductive. If the team fears the consequences of not meeting a commitment, it will be very cautious about making those commitments.

Here are eight strategies for achieving the sprint goal:

1. Yesterday's Weather

If the team finished three backlog items ("stories") for a total of 10 points in the last sprint, then that is a good place to start for the next sprint. As a product owner, only accept a commitment to 10 points. As a team, only offer to take on 10 points. If the team …

In Praise of the Waterfall

I have been following an interesting discussion on scrumdevelopment looking for case studies on Productivity improvements and ROI from Scrum. Roy Morien wrote:
"What I am always puzzled about is that in the history of software development, during which the Waterfall type approaches have been taken as THE way to develop systems, I have seen little, if any, real evidence of the effectiveness and efficiency of using them. I have also seen little demand for such evidence. The industry has adopted these approaches, and that's that! What I have seen is a vast amount of evidence that these approaches do NOT ensure successful outcomes." Why was the waterfall adopted without appropriate rigor? Very simple, you don't need a statistic or a study to understand something that you already know!

This may be a surprise to some people, but waterfall was a substantial improvement compared to its predecessor - which I'll call 'unstructured chaos' for lack of a better term. …

Scrum Breakfast/July: Virtual Cooperation with Social Media

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. This is one of the 12 Principles of the Agile M Agile Manifesto. A recurring theme in many Scrum discussion groups is that virtual meetings and web based tools are a poor substitute for a physical task boards.

Hans-Peter Korn was also convinced of this, until he took an the ScrumMaster role for the project "Basislehrgang Social Media," at the  social media akademie. Their mission was to produce the prerequisite materials for this program.

Although Hans-Peter lives in Switzerland, the Team was distributed throughout Germany. To minimize costs, it was necessary to hold all meetings virtually.

How well did these virtual encounters work? How did they maintain concentration? What tools did they use? Hans-Peter will give us an overview of his experiences and leave plenty of room for discussion on how a Scrum team can use social media to organize itself…

Registration for the Lean Agile Scrum Conference Now Open

I am pleased to announce that registration for the Lean Agile Scrum Conference in Zurich is now open.

Readers of this blog know that this year's LAS Conference is focused on bridging the gap from that first Scrum/Agile project to becoming a Lean enterprise. To this end we have invited two thought leaders as our Keynote Speakers:
Henrik Kniberg, Swedish author of Scrum and XP from the Trenches, explores the core elements of both Agile and Lean, and how these toolboxes can be successfully combined: 'The Thinking Tool Called Agile.' Mary & Tom Poppendieck, co-authors of the Lean Software Development books, questions the biggest fallacy in organizing work -- the idea that schedules or “plans” lead to predictable performance. The Tyranny of “The Plan”Rounding out the event, we have received great tutorials and experience reports from Swiss, German, and International Speakers: Josef Scherer, Dr. Peter Kessel, Marcel Bauma, Ralf Wirdemann, Stefan Roock & Markus Andrezak,…

Tennis Tournament Theory of Management Salaries

I just stumbled upon the prize money table at Wimbledon. The winner gets one million pounds sterling. The runner up gets 1/2 million. The 64 first round losers get £11'250 each and the 32 second round losers get £18'750 each. In total, those 96 losers earn £1.32 million. So the two finalists earn more than the 96 losers competitors in the first rounds together. Furthermore, the increase over 2009 was 17.6% for the top 16 players, but only 4.7% to 6.8% for losers of the first three rounds.


Are there any similarities to pay scales withing companies? Actually, I think I know the answer to this one. More interestingly, given that corporate pay scales do look like tennis tournament prize winnings, what effects does this have on cooperation and teamwork within the company, especially at the levels of top management or between the departments of the "Quarter-finalists"?