The Scrum approach to agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. Scrum and other agile methods were inspired by its shortcomings. Scrum emphasizes collaboration, functioning software, team self management, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities.


Strategic Vision and Scrum

Posted by admin under Agile and Scrum, Agile Manifesto, Agile Principles, Scrum Basics, Scrum Discussion, Scrum Transitions

When organizations adopt an agile approach to development like Scrum there is so much focus on the iterative nature of agile development that long range vision and strategic product design can get lost. Jimi Fosdick is doing a webinar on November 28 to discuss the need to include long term product vision, coherent user experience and User Centered design and architecture along with specific best practices for achieving a coherent product that delights users.

Topics will include:
• Discussion of Product Vision and approaches to crafting a compelling overall vision for products
• Discussion of User-Centered/Value-Driven design and approaches to incorporating user experience (UX) and software architecture early in the development process
• Explanation of the pitfalls of a lack of vision and so-called “hybrid” models for incorporating UX and architecture into Scrum Projects

You can register for the webinar here

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Estimating Earned Business Value on Agile Projects

Posted by admin under Agile and Scrum, Agile Manifesto, Agile Principles, Scrum Basics, Scrum Discussion, Scrum Transitions

A pattern I’ve noticed is that Scrum projects are typically managed informally, with the only measures used being various velocity metrics and burndown charts. This may be an issue. Many project managers and executives resist scrum because these only measure the speed of delivery, not the project’s cost or the business value it generates. One of the major differences between traditional and agile projects is that traditional projects focus on delivering software that satisfies requirements, while agile projects focus on maximizing ROI through continuous feedback and re-planning.

This is where Earned Business Value calculations come in. It fits well with Agile projects, since the focus of agile projects is on business value rather than conformance to requirements (outcomes over outputs). In many cases, EVM metrics are easier to calculate and understand in agile environments than in traditional ones. There are three key management measures – Cost Performance Index (CPI), Schedule Performance Index (SPI), and Earned Business Value (EBV) – that provide information to help manage an agile project from and ROI perspective.

There is a solid white paper on this topic at .

I’d also be very interested in your comments to this post.

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Scrum Meetings

Posted by admin under Scrum Basics

Sprint Planning Meeting

In Scrum, every iteration begins with a sprint planning meeting. At this meeting, the Product Owner and the team negotiate which stories a team will tackle that sprint. This meeting is a time-boxed conversation between the Product Owner and the team. It’s up to the Product Owner to decide which stories are of the highest priority to the release and which will generate the highest business value, but the team has the power to push back and voice concerns or impediments.

When the team agrees to tackle the work, the Product Owner adds the corresponding stories into the sprint backlog. We usually recommend this be physically represented by moving a Post-It note or index card with a story written on it from the backlog into the sprint backlog.

At this point, the Product Owner may choose to leave while the team decomposes the forecasted backlog items into tasks. This meeting is sometimes called Sprint Planning Part 2.

In Large Scale Scrum, multiple teams pull items from one Product Backlog. Multiple backlogs for one product, and multiple Product Owners lead to localize suboptimizations, longer work-in-progress queues, thus are harmful to agility.

Watch an example Sprint Planning Meeting.

The Daily Standup

Every day, the Scrum team gathers in front of their taskboard to discuss the progress made yesterday, goals for today, and any impediments blocking their path.

  • What have I done since the last Scrum meeting (yesterday)?
  • What will I do before the next Scrum meeting (tomorrow)?
  • What prevents me from performing my work as well as possible?

This meeting should not exceed 15 minutes. If members of the team need to discuss an issue that cannot be covered in that amount of time, we recommend they attend a sidebar meeting following the standup. This allows team members to attend meetings that directly involve their work, instead of sitting through irrelevant meetings. Unfortunately, daily Scrums often last longer than 15 minutes. To compensate, many teams use stop watches or timers to uphold the time limitations. Also, to limit distracting small talk, many teams employ a talking stick or mascot, which a team member must hold to speak in the meeting. Upon finishing an update, the talking stick is then passed to the next team member, who reports, and so on.

Watch an example Daily Scrum Meeting.


Sprint Review Meeting

When the sprint ends, it’s time for the team(s) to demonstrate a potentially shippable product increment to the Product Owner and other stakeholders. The Product Owner declares which items are truly done or not. Teams commonly discover that a story’s final touches often excise the most effort and time. Partially done work should not be called “done.”

This public demonstration replaces status meetings and reports, as those things do not aid transparency. Scrum emphasizes empirical observations such as working products.

In Large Scale Scrum, multiple teams demonstrate a single integrated product increment.

Watch an example Sprint Review Meeting

Sprint Retrospective Meeting

After the sprint review meeting, the team and the Scrum Master get together in private for the retrospective meeting. During this meeting, the team inspects and adapts their process. When the Scrum Master and outer organization create an environment of psychological safety, team members can speak frankly about what occurred during the Sprint and how they felt about it. After all team members thoroughly understand each other, they work to identify what they’d like to do differently the next Sprint, typically focusing only on one or two specific areas of improvement each Sprint. The Scrum Master may also observe common impediments that impact the team and then work to resolve them.

Overall Retrospective Meeting (Large Scale Scrum only)

In Large Scale Scrum, the Sprint Retrospective is followed by an overall retrospective that focuses on inter-team interactions and the outer organization.

Watch an example Sprint Retrospective Meeting.


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