When do we consciously slip from Scrum

When do we consciously slip from Scrum

Scrum is an agile framework with very strict boundaries and plenty of freedom and flexibility within these boundaries. Scrum does have solutions to most team dysfunctions. Slipping from scrum should be a conscious decision taken by mature agile teams only! Daily Scrum starting time (Daily Standup) Scrum strongly suggests to never change the time and place of the Standup in order to reduce complexity. One of Standup’s main benefits is synchronization between team members. If a team member can not make it to the Standup, for any reason, its value obviously is less than optimal. We consciously choose to change the time of the Standup to ensure full attendance. This is easier to do in small teams, since in larger teams the effect of changing everyone’s schedule may outweigh the benefit of full participation. Dangers when slipping: On a non mature agile team, delaying the Daily Standup occasionally, may be seen as if it’s not required to be on time. Also, delaying the standup may de-motivate and confuse people who are always on time. Events Maximum Duration All events in Scrum have a maximum duration, strictly set based on the Sprint duration. For 2 week Sprints, the suggested timeboxes are: 4 hours for Planning, 2 hours for Review, 1.5 hours for Retrospectives. We have multiple Scrum teams, that share many common stakeholders. We consciously reduced the timebox of Sprint Reviews in 1 hour, and have all 8 Sprint Reviews from the Scrum Teams of the Department happening in the mornings of 2 consecutive days every 2 weeks. This way it is easier for many stakeholders to attend all sprint reviews. We...
Adopting Agile Testing Practices

Adopting Agile Testing Practices

This case study can be considered the result of adopting the Scrum framework without applying the suggested Agile testing practices and the impact after actual embracing them. Below you can find issues that were found and the practices that helped to overcome those issues. The main changes where the formation of cross functional teams and the use of test automations. From what it seems, we made one of the most common mistakes as a new Agile team that previously worked with incremental methodologies and tried to use Scrum. After creating multiple projects of different scope, size and technologies, the problem was visible when we went to enterprise level with a platform of 14 different applications, with more than 300K lines of code and near to 10k unit tests. This platform was about to go live but it should be stabilized first. Trying to add functionality on the platform we got in to a spiral of massive bug fixing rounds that worked as an alert, informing us that something did not work as it was supposed to. By this spiral effect it was obvious that something went wrong with the processes that we followed. How we worked Working with Agile methodologies is about building small increments in small iterations, one to four weeks top. At that time, besides the XP engineering practices, the team had adapted partially the Scrum framework by using some of the events such as sprint planning, daily scrum and sprints, but the collaboration between the testing and the development seemed more like a mini waterfall. The developers build a complete functionality (user story) or even a whole sprint...
Το Nexus Guide στα Ελληνικά (a.k.a. The Nexus Framework in Greek)

Το Nexus Guide στα Ελληνικά (a.k.a. The Nexus Framework in Greek)

Με μεγάλη χαρά, ανακοινώνουμε άλλη μια μετάφραση από τα μέλη του Agile Greece. Μετά το Scrum Guide στα ελληνικά, μεταφράστηκε και το Nexus Framework. Νομίζουμε ότι είναι εξαιρετικά σημαντικό μιας και το Nexus είναι ένα μεθοδολογικό πλαίσιο για την ανάπτυξη και τη συντήρηση προϊόντων και λογισμικού σε μεγάλη κλίμακα. Αποτελείται από τους ρόλους, τις δραστηριότητες, τα αντικείμενα και τις τεχνικές που συνδυάζουν τη δουλειά περίπου τριών έως εννέα Ομάδων Scrum που εργάζονται πάνω σε ένα κοινό Product Backlog. Βασίζεται στο Scrum και αναπτύχθηκε από τον Ken Schwaber και το scrum.org. Στο επίσημο site του scrum.org μπορείτε να μάθετε περισσότερα για το Nexus Guide. Ακολουθήστε τον παρακάτω σύνδεσμο για να κατεβάσετε το Nexus Guide στα Ελληνικά ή σε άλλες γλώσσες. Για άλλη μια φόρα είμαστε ιδιαίτερα περήφανοι για τα μέλη της ομάδας του Agile Greece. Διέθεσαν πολύ απο τον πολύτιμό τους χρόνο και κατάφεραν να προσφέρουν άλλο ένα σημαντικό κείμενο για το Scrum, στην κοινότητα του Agile στην Ελλάδα. Following the translation of the Scrum Guide in Greek, members of Agile Greece have translated The Nexus Guide. Nexus is a framework for developing and sustaining scaled product and software development initiatives. It is a framework consisting of roles, events, artifacts, and techniques that bind and weave together the work of approximately three to nine Scrum Teams working on a single Product Backlog to build an Integrated Increment that meets a goal. It uses Scrum as its building block, and has been developed by Ken Schwaber and scrum.org. Find out more about the Nexus Guide here.  Download the Greek Nexus Guide here. Once more we are really proud for the members of our team. They offer much of their valuable...
Where do we religiously follow Scrum

Where do we religiously follow Scrum

First of all the title is wrong! You either do or do not follow Scrum religiously. After a 2 year experience in Scrum, our organization has inevitably slipped from Scrum many times and most of the times we regret it and switch back to discipline. There are some things though that we never compromise: Steady Cadence We started Scrum with one week Sprints and when the teams matured we switched to 2 week sprints. So in 2 years most of the teams have only changed their Cadence once. Changing the Cadence is a decision that came organically from the teams not necessarily in the same period. But having a standard day and time when the events take place is non negotiable, even when stress and pressures comes from above. Scrum Events Every sprint ends with a Sprint Review followed by a Sprint Retrospective and starts with a Sprint Planning Meeting. Sometimes, many team members think its better if we skipped this sprint’s retrospective. In this case I choose to make the meeting much shorter and ensure that we get out of it with at least one action item that most of the team agrees is important to deliver. Daily Scrums (standup meetings) take place on the same time and place every day and never last more than 15 minutes. When valuable conversations arise, we arrange a meeting right after the stand up which most of the times does not need to include the whole team. When someone doesn’t appear in stand up, they have to send an email to the team answering the Daily Scrum’s 3 questions. Well I’m pretty confident that breaking...
CSM, PSM, PMI certifications explained

CSM, PSM, PMI certifications explained

In our agile work, we all hear acronyms about CSM, PSM, PMI certifications. What are these acronyms, do I need such a certification, how can I get it? A short and sweet post by Dimitris. There are two well-known Scrum Master Certifications in the Global Market + 1 and some smaller initiatives. Certified Scrum Master (CSM) by Scrum Alliance Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) by Scrum.org Project Management Insitute’s ACP (Agile Certified Practicioner) Lets see them in more detail: Certified Scrum Master (CSM)  by Scrum Alliance Prerequisites: Attendance of a CMS course by a certified Scrum Alliance partner Cost: Included in seminar cost, which is rather pricey (last course in Greece in 2014, cost 950 Euros) Certification test type: Online Passing score: 24/35 Questions (69%) Duration: No time limit Expiration: Two years from test Renewal prerequisites: None Renewal cost: 100$, for 2 years. Market perception: CSM was the first Scrum Master Certification on the market and had the ‘first mover’ advantage. Until March 2012, the certification was awarded to all course attendees regardless of score. The certification is still considered ‘very easy’ to obtain and, I believe, is perceived by the job market more as a ‘certificate of attendance’ of a Scrum Alliance course, and less as a professional certification. Nevertheless, it is by far the most popular. At the time this article was written, Dec 2015, 319.385  CSM certifications had been awarded. Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) by Scrum.org Prerequisites: None Cost: 150 $ Certification test type: Online Passing score: 68/80 Questions (85%) Duration: 1 hour Expiration: Never Renewal prerequisites: N/A Renewal cost: N/A Market perception: PSM I was introduced...
Interview with Andy Hiles – Water-Scrum-Fall, Unicorns and Rainbows

Interview with Andy Hiles – Water-Scrum-Fall, Unicorns and Rainbows

Andy comes from a proud name of the computing industry, IBM. Andy has experienced full software lifecycles in both an Agile and project management driven context, and has spent the last seven years managing and facilitating multi-discipline teams within Agile environments. He is Lead Agile Concultant for IBM and is driving Agile transformation. This September at Agile Greece Summit we will have the chance to hear him speak about: “Water-Scrum-Fall, Unicorns and Rainbows“. Here is his small interview. Q: Could you briefly introduce yourself? Hi , I am Andy, I’ve been working with software development teams for 15 years. I am Agile process coach specialising in teams and organisational flow. Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic? Why this topic? My talk will be about my experience of an Agile transformation opportunity which didn’t go the way I expected. Its important to understand what didn’t go well and why as opposed to the glamorous success stories that dominate our practice. Q: What do you think could be the main gain for participants in your session? Though provoking with humour. I hope that by coming along and getting a feel for the pain I had, attendees will get some good thought provoking topics. Q: Can you give some advice to teams/organizations that are transitioning to agile? Pick your path carefully, but invest in the change. Once you start to notice the pain don’t turn around and go back. Good things will come from the transition. Q: How do you see the evolution of Agile in the future? I hope by its nature it will evolve and new frameworks and practices...