How Does Scrum Feel?

Let’s get some keywords out of the way first.   Scrum  – A framework to deliver value to the customer iteratively. Sprint – A time box where an increment of value is delivered. Mostly 1, 2, 3 or 4 weeks. Roles-  Scrum has Three Roles. Scrum Master – Remover of impediments. Team motivator, Servant leader Product […]

What does a Manager do In a Agile Organization?

This article covers the role of a people manager in the context of an Organization. There is a lot of data on what Product Owners do, Scrum Masters do etc. However, when someone takes over the important role of People Manager, there is confusion in teams from a refusal to listen to the manager, to […]

Behaviors in an Agile Delivery Team

As a Team Member of an Agile Team, we are always looking to understand what behaviors we should encourage and see practiced within a high-performance Agile Team. Here is a list of 14 behaviors that as a team member you should model. I once learned this from an Agile expert. Be the example you want others to […]

Looking Beyond Large Scale Agility

After being involved with a group that is probably the most Agile anywhere in the world, seeing hundreds of companies over the last decade trying to become Agile and so miserably at that, or after having taught Leadership, Kanban, Scrum and Agile Engineering workshops and finding that the same problems exist in organizations that existed […]

Agile Defined

The manifesto is governed by 4 Values and 12 Principles. Being Agile sticks when companies focus ground up starting with building the value system followed by practicing the values, doing some of the practices and hence getting the benefits. This is often referred as Inside Out Agility. Under the Agile Umbrella, there are many methods. […]

Practicing Scrum Well

Just like any sports team. there can be the winners like the ones who go to the super bowl, or those that get kicked out each year right before the playoffs even start. ( If you don’t know American Football you may not get this point. I live in Seattle where football is a big […]

Leadership Models and Books

As an Agile leader I find it useful to be reading books on leadership and models I can learn from. Here are recommended reading if you are a leader working with people. 7 Habits of Effective People Primal Leadership or Emotional Intelligence ( Goleman) The Fifth Discipline  ( Senge) Fierce Conversations (Scott) Good To Great […]

New ScrumMaster Checklist

New ScrumMaster Checklist

This list is a place for new ScrumMasters for their very first ScrumMaster Job. Welcome to your new ScrumMaster task. It is a tough one and sure is confusing. No Organization actually has a role like this. So where do you start. Set up a meeting with  your manager and the manager of the team […]

Are you failing with Agile, Here is a checklist to help you fail?

Are you failing with Agile, Here is a checklist to help you fail?

I had a very interesting coffee discussion yesterday with a senior product engineer at a very large cloud computing team. It was centered around the fact that in Scrum when we put the pressure of velocity and show the demo, teams start shipping crap to customers. Many teams working in Scrum and Agile techniques take […]

How much to jump?

I was talking to a very senior exec of  US Corporation who was comparing his India Agile team with the Brazilian Agile team and I was really amazed the way he said it. That got me writing this article as I think he is right. Here is what he said – I ask my teams […]

Request your contribution to Scrum Awareness In India

State of Scrum In India Hello my name is Vibhu Srinivasan and some of you may know me. I am passionate about Agile practices and practice agile in everything I do from running  business to helping at home.  I am presenting on a topic called “Is Scrum For India” in the upcoming Scrum Gathering India […]

What is velocity?

Velocity can be termed as the run rate of the team . Agile teams use this metric to measure how much work was done in a sprint , so that we know how much more is left to actually make the reason. Let take a simple example . The team has ten stories whose total […]

Is Scrum Agile dead in India?

To put things in perspective I am a Certifed Scrum Trainer and have been working with teams in India for three years.i am a developer that has been in this business for 18 years mostly in XP teams. I was recently in a very interesting discussion with one of the handful of folks in India […]

Scrum In Chinese

I was recently a teaching a class of Chinese Students in Malaysia. They wrote definitions of Scrum in Chinese language. I am sharing this for general benefit.

What is Definition of Ready?

  Definition of ready is a list that the product owner and team agree to. Think of it as a working agreement between the team and product owner on what readiness means. It is a Input criteria to accepting story in a sprint. It is a way for a product owner to signal an item […]

What does ScrumMaster do in Scrum?

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first…” – Robert K. Greenleaf ScrumMaster is a ideally a full time role. Good ScrumMasters are people […]

What is a Product Backlog?

Product Backlog is one the artifacts of Scrum. The product owner writes the product backlog. It is an ordered list. This is a list like grocery list. Each item in the product backlog is called a product backlog item (PBI) . The product owner orders into one order based on business value , risk  and […]

What does Product Owner do in Scrum?

The essence of Scrum is “Business Drives Development” The role called Product Owner meets this scrum essence. The product owner with his or her vision works with all the stakeholders , other business groups and creates a product road map for the product. They also answer all the questions teams have with regards to the […]

What is Scrum?

Scrum in 10 lines Scrum is a framework to manage complex projects based on empirical process control mechanisms. Scrum is based on inspection, adaption, timebox and transparency. Scrum is based on five values – openness, respect, courage, commitment and focus Scrum teams do work in timeboxes called Sprint which is either 1, 2, 3, or […]

Self organizing team – This is not a myth

Here is an email message from one of the coaches who is helping a team The “Code Warriors” team has transformed itself into a self-organizing teams. They have gone from a cycle of 8 to 9 days to complete a user story to a new cycle of 1.5 days and they are now capable of […]

Agile Conference presentations – a call to raise the bar

Here is an open call from me to people presenting at conferences in India. While it is heartening to see more people show up at the Agile events, nothing substantially new is being brought to notice. The maturity level is so low and very few presentations make sense to the audience. These topics would not […]

What sort of Games can we play with teams?

This list is a just a collection of games around and I may or may not have played all of them. Please contact the authors for detailed instructions. Over the years in coaching, I have been using a lot of games. Most of these games are what I have learned by being with other coaches, […]

Story point and their relation to complexity and uncertainity

This article on infoq talks about story point and its relation to complexity or time. The argument seems to be it should be only related to effort and not complexity When team members say Extra large for a story, generally it can mean one of the following. a) I don’t have all the information needed […]

Does CSM certification make a good Scrum master?

I have been reading lots of discussions around the Scrum Alliance and its certification process. Does taking a two class make you a good Scrum masters? For an answer to this question, I asked some of my friends who have been great scrum masters. The general opinion was that while the CSM class does give […]

Do i need to buy an electonic agile management system

It depends. If you have an distributed team, you surely will need something more than sticky notes. In many cases Excel is good for distributed teams. But if that does not work then you could look at an online version of tool like Scrum works, Rally, Version One, Visual Studio for team etc. But if […]

What is Metascrum

Most organizations need a way to look at where all the initiatives are as compared to roadmap. How far are from release , what are some organization impediments and so far. Metascrum is a meeting that works well when teams are working on the same product or initiatives that are related .  Instead of each […]

What are Product owner teams and how do we set them up

Product owner teams are a way to keep your backlogs well groomed and ready to work on. In many companies the concept of “Single Wringable Neck” does not really work. Large products have many different feature lines or initiatives each of which may have one or more product owners.  Clearly there is more work and […]

What is an ideal source structure for an agile project

Even after years of Subversion, this is one of the most common questions asked by agile teams. This is also a topic of religious discussion. Proposed here is a time and tested simple project structure that you can use for any Java, .NET project. If you are using Grails or Rails, the tool itself provides […]

Agile Meeting Cheat sheet

This is a quick cheat sheet, that captures agenda for some of the core meetings. Some of these are our ideas but mostly these are all widely accepted by all in the Agile Industry.Print this and use it for your benefit. Download here

Is there a suggested list of books for agile teams?

We are often asked about books for agile teams. Here is a great starter list for teams practicing agile software development. Agile Bookshelf

What is a mission statement for scrum masters in a company?

If you have multiple scrum masters in your organization, it will be good exercise to come up with a charter for your group. Here is an example of one such statement “ As scrum masters of , we are servant masters enabling teams to deliver business value in the software we develop, protecting teams from […]

What are different way to size stories? Why do we do story points, not hours?

ike Cohn talks a  lot about this in his book Agile Estimation and Planning. You can use any measure to size stories. Teams use different sizing techniques T Shirt Sizing X Small, Small , Medium , Large , Xtra Large or Coffee Sizing Small, Tall, Grande You can pick any sizing technique. Make up one […]

How does Scrum work on large complex stories? We cant do this in a month?

The word potentially shippable does not mean that you ship to production every Sprint in Scrum You can have stories that span multiple sprints, that may not make it to production. This may be part of a larger EPIC story. The goal is to work on it every sprint. We have seen many instances where […]

How do estimate on something you know nothing about?

You can use what is called as Spike. This is not a Scrum specific word. If your product owners asks you to build a robot and you are a software developer who has never done that , then it is obvious that you will not be comfortable giving a sizing or estimate on that story. […]

How can I manage my time between working in this team and other day to day activities?

This is done by using your capacity. Lets use an example to illustrate this. Say you are a member of a scrum team where there are  8 members , and you are following a two week Sprint. So initial estimate of every team members capacity is  80 hours i.e. two weeks. Some of the best […]

How soon can we see improvements when we start using Scrum?

Managers , take it easy. In many organizations there is an urgency to measure, look at numbers as they move to scrum within the first two sprints. As a general guideline, do not take too much notice of the statistics for four or five sprints. Teams take a while to form and norm. They also […]

Can we change the length of a sprint?

This question comes up a lot in new scrum teams. The adjustment from a couple of months to two weeks is very tough indeed. Generally speaking do not keep changing the sprint length. One Sprint two weeks, the next three weeks etc. One of the main tenets of Scrum is “Sustainable pace”. Scrum teaams are […]

How can we map use cases to stories?

In agile development there is no right or wrong. Both Use cases and user stories are offshoots of agile methodologies. User stories have a XP and Scrum backgroung and use cases dont. Use cases tend to be a written level contract ( sometimes ) too detailed, sometimes not. There are typically few main sections to […]

10 ways to screw up scrum

This slide deck from Crisp is a great list to some smells you should watch for when implementing agile practices. If the team is really not empowered to get the job done, that will bring the system down. You know that the team is not being empowered when each team member does not take responsibility […]

Thirteen Forms of Shared Leadership

“Secrets of Agile Teamwork” by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen. Leadership Role Responsibility of Role Instructor Answers Questions and Supplies Data Follower Provides Support and Encouragement Coordinator Links and Integrates Data Peacemaker Works for Harmony and Compromise Gatekeeper Maintains Working Agreements and Discipline Monitor Makes sure relationships are working Pioneer Asks questions and Seeks Data […]