Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ken Schwaber on "Flaccid Scrum - A New Pandemic?"


Agile Bazaar June Meeting

Date: Thursday June 18
Time: 6:00 - 9:00pm
Place: To be announced (A Burlington location was planned but we are looking for a larger space and will announce it soon)
RSVP: Go to http://agilebazaar.org/  to register. We expect to fill all the seats, so sign up early!

Food: Will be provided
Cost: Voluntary contribution to offset food expenses is welcome

Scrum has been a very widely adopted Agile process, used for managing such complex work as systems development and development of product releases. When waterfall is no longer in place, however, a lot of long standing habits and dysfunctions have come to light. This is particularly true with Scrum, because transparency is emphasized in Scrum projects.

Some of the dysfunctions include poor quality product and completely inadequate development practices and infrastructure. These arose because the effects of them couldn’t be seen very clearly in a waterfall project. In a Scrum project, the impact of poor quality caused by inadequate practices and tooling are seen in every Sprint.

The primary habits that hinder us are flaccid developers and flaccid customers who believe in magic, as in:

Unskilled developers - most developers working in a team are unable to build an increment of product within an iteration. They are unfamiliar with modern engineering and quality practices, and they don’t have an infrastructure supportive of these practices.

Ignorant customer - most customers are still used to throwing a book of requirements over the wall to development and wait for the slips to start occurring, all the time adding the inevitable and unavoidable changes.

Belief in magic - most customers and managers still believe that if they want something badly enough and pressure developers enough to do it, that it will happen. They don’t understand that the pressure valve is quality and long term product sustainability and viability.

Have you seen these problems? Is your company "tailoring" Scrum to death? Let Ken respond to your issues and questions!

Ken will describe how Scrum addresses these problems and will give us a preview of plans for the future of the Scrum certification efforts.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Evidence-based Advocacy of Scrum and Agile

 

I attended a great talk by Jeff Sutherland (one of the founders of Scrum) in London last night, courtesy of JP Morgan and the ACCU.

For all those folks who missed it – you really would have learned some useful things by being there, I think.

For me, the undoubted highlight of Jeff’s talk was the copious amount of evidential data for the remarkable improvements in productivity (effectiveness) brought about by effective adoption of Agile methods, and Scrum in particular.

Another pleasure of attending such events is the opportunity to pick up some little nuggets of information not otherwise generally appreciated. Last night I learned that Scrum was expressly designed in part at least, on lessons learned from cellular biology and cancer research, and the Scrum team model is based on the way Toyota put their Prius product development team together. (Happy to explain further if anyone’s interested).

I would urge anyone interested in software development effectiveness to seek Jeff out and learn from his extensive practical experience.

Click here for slides - Agile Development in the Enterprise

- Bob

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Note: The first Scrum team at Easel Corporation in 1993 was based directly on:
Takeuchi, Hirotaka; Nonaka, Ikujiro (January-February 1986). "The New New Product Development Game" (PDF). Harvard Business Review. At that time, the Prius team was not formed and the example used by Takeuchi and Nonaka for automobile production was Honda. Later work by Takeuchi describes Prius development based on the same model of team formation. See Hitotsubashi on Knowledge Management.