Skip to main content

14 Wow! Moments from my Scrum MasterClass that's how Scrum works!

In my Scrum Performance MasterClass Workshop, the participants reflect on how their teams and organisations do Scrum. Then we review Scrum and its values, principles and practices so the participants can create a plan to improve their teams and organizations. Along the way, the participants experience moments of enlightenment - Wow! Eureka! -- in which they suddenly understand essential concepts, relationships and implications for their organization.

Here's a list of findings that caused my participants to say 'Wow!'
  1. Inspect and Adapt: Everybody inspects. Who really adapts? I haven't. This needs to change.
  2. We need to raise the percentage of done stories closer to 100% of the team's forecast.
  3. The Implementation Team selects the number of stories to implement in the sprint.
  4. Technical debt is an important issue - we have to do something about it
  5. Test effort accumulates if not automated - this is 'technical debt'
  6. How-to-Demo is not the same thing as the Definition of Done.
  7. Our stories are too finely specified -- too much of the 'how' is predefined
  8. Limit stories in progress to 1/2 the number of team members.
  9. Create security so people can speak freely
  10. Understand the problem before looking for solutions
  11. Define and stay within your timeboxes
  12. 'Remembering Heaven' as an approach to gain support for change
  13. Pattern for Change: 'Fearless Change' by Rising and Manns
  14. I should have come with my team and/or management

Inspect and Adapt: I'm haven't been doing it. -- That recognition came to me a few weeks ago. Rather embarrassing actually, because I have been teaching inspect and adapt for years. But for years I have been collecting feedback forms after each course with high points, low points, puzzles and suggestions. Mostly I just looked at the score to pat myself on the back. Beyond that, I hadn't really done anything with the results.

Last September I started teaching CSM courses after a long break. To my horror, the NPS scores were much lower than I wanted. So I decided to apply my own teachings. I decided that after every course, I would implement at least one or two suggestions from each set of feedback forms. The results were spectacular! My NPS went from +10% to +90% in about 5 courses. Hey, this stuff really works! Inspect and Adapt. Listen to the customer. Strive to delight the customer.

So let me add one more Wow!-Moment, mine:

  • Scrum is easy and Scrum is hard. It is always a challenge to maintain the passion to do it well!


Popular posts from this blog

Sample Definition of Done

Why does Scrum have a Definition of Done? Simple, everyone involved in the project needs to know and understand what Done means. Furthermore, Done should be really done, as in, 'there is nothing stopping us from earning value with this function, except maybe the go-ahead from the Product Owner. Consider the alternative:
Project Manager: Is this function done?
Developer: Yes
Project Manager: So we can ship it?
Developer: Well, No. It needs to be tested, and I need to write some documentation, but the code works, really. I tested it... (pause) ...on my machine. What's wrong with this exchange? To the developer and to the project manager, "done" means something rather different. To the developer in this case, done means: "I don't have to work on this piece of code any more (unless the tester tells me something is wrong)." The project leader is looking for a statement that the code is ready to ship.

At its most basic level, a definition of Done creates a sh…

Explaining Story Points to Management

During the February Scrum Breakfast in Zurich, the question arised, "How do I explain Story Points to Management?" A good question, and in all honesty, developers can be an even more critical audience than managers.

Traditional estimates attempt to answer the question, "how long will it take to develop X?" I could ask you a similar question, "How long does it take to get the nearest train station?

The answer, measured in time, depends on two things, the distance and the speed. Depending on whether I plan to go by car, by foot, by bicycle or (my personal favorite for short distances) trottinette, the answer can vary dramatically. So it is with software development. The productivity of a developer can vary dramatically, both as a function of innate ability and whether the task at hand plays to his strong points, so the time to produce a piece of software can vary dramatically. But the complexity of the problem doesn't depend on the person solving it, just …

Scaling Scrum: SAFe, DAD, or LeSS?

Participants in last week's Scrum MasterClass wanted to evaluate approaches to scaling Scrum and Agile for their large enterprise. So I set out to review the available frameworks. Which one is best for your situation?

Recently a number of approaches have started gaining attention, including the Scaled Agile Framework ("SAFe") by Dean Leffingwell, Disciplined Agile Development (DAD), by Scott Ambler, and Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. (Follow the links for white papers or overviews of each approach).

How to compare these approaches? My starting point is Scrum in the team. Scrum has proven very effective at helping teams perform, even though it does not directly address the issues surrounding larger organizations and teams. An approach to scaling Scrum should not be inconsistent with Scrum itself.

Scrum implements a small number of principles and constraints: Inspect and Adapt. An interdisciplinary Team solves the problem. Deliver something of va…