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...
Is your next meeting a discussion or a dialogue?

Is your next meeting a discussion or a dialogue?

Having your day packed with meetings is a common scenario in business today. Most likely, many of these meetings, are unproductive, for many – if not all – of the attendees. There is a lot of bibliography of tips and tricks you can do, in order to improve the quality of your meetings and these will not be provided in this article. Instead the different aspects of conversation types will be analyzed, as a structural element of meetings. Discussion is the act of people talking in order to reach a decision. When discussing, people defend their position trying to convince the group for the direction that should be taken. In a discussion, the position or title of the members within the organization, affects the gravity of their arguments. Towards the end of the meeting decisions have been taken and the team proceeds accordingly. Dialogue (greek διάλογος, δια: through, λόγος: speech, reason) is a free flow of meaning that comes through the words being spoken. When dialoguing the group has left their positions/titles outside the meeting room. What is being said is important, not who said it. At the end of a dialogue session the group has identified the deeper causes of why a system reacts the way it does. Therefore the group has gained more insight to improve predictability and take more solid decisions later. A meeting can switch between dialogue and discussion. An example of such a meeting in Scrum is the Sprint Retrospective, an event that occurs at the end of each Sprint that aims to improve the way the Scrum Team works together. This event is...
Interview with Jürgen Dittmar – Management 3.0

Interview with Jürgen Dittmar – Management 3.0

In 2011, Jurgen Appelo published “Management 3.0“, concentrating the main ideas of a modern leadership approach. Since then there is a whole series of official management 3.0 Coaches and one such coach is Jurgen Dittmar. We are glad that Jurgen accepted our invitation to speak to Agile Greece Summit 2015. Jurgen has more than 20 years of broad experience in IT and IT Management and is known as the most established management 3.0 trainer in Germany. Therefore, Jurgen will speak about “Management 3.0 – the essential perspective and toolset for agile managers“. He is also going to facilitate a full 2-day Management 3.0 Course, in Athens! Here is his small interview.     Q: Could you briefly introduce yourself? My Name is Jürgen Dittmar. I’m living in Munich, I’m 52 years old, married, managed to raise 3 daughters, proud grandfather of already 4+ grandchildren. Based on more than 25 years of experience in IT and IT management I focus of the on the “human factor” and psychological aspects in agile and non-agile projects and organizations. Based on my master degrees in Geography I started my IT-carrier as a developer for Geographical Information Systems. With a increasing focus on “Peopleware” I completed an education as “Systemic Coach and Consultant” as well as a masters in “Industrial and Organizational Psychology” Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic? In agile transformations the new responsibilities of management are addressed too late and often remain unclear. But without clear perspective and responsibility especially middle Management often is sidelined and rather seen and acting as an obstacle or impediment. My talk...
Team Awesomeness

Team Awesomeness

Team Awesomeness, a great way for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches to facilitate group dynamics and team’s awesomeness. A common goal for our teams at King is to strive to be a high-performance team that communicates and collaborates well both within and outside the team. In that spirit, we are testing a concept that I call “Team Awesomeness”. Generally, it’s a lightweight questionnaire, which the team answers together as an extension to the retrospective. The team fills out a questionnaire with 25 questions divided in five different areas: contribution to King, contribution to the team, innovation, communication, and quality. The team members read each question out loud and then do “fist of five” voting. Those members with the highest and lowest votes should explain their choice. The whole team listens and discusses, then votes again, as in planning poker. The team tries to reach a consensus on a score, makes notes, and then moves to the next question. After going through all the questions, the team should clearly see in which areas it needs to improve. The first Team Awesomeness exercise takes approximately two hours. The exercise offers good input for an improvement theme (see picture). The team can also easily measure progress. Make sure the results are transparent for the whole team, and put the score on your Scrum/kanban board. We don’t tell a team which methods or processes it needs to put in place to strengthen its weak areas; if a team, for example, finds that they need to improve quality, the company doesn’t tell them to fix more bugs or start with TDD. The team must find a solution...
4 Things to Have in Mind About Managing Global Teams

4 Things to Have in Mind About Managing Global Teams

One year ago I took the most challenging decision of my software development career. I quit my daily – 40hr/week job and joined a company as a remote freelancer. That change was even more radical because I made the switch from a hands-on developer role to a “software engineering manager” role. Although I don’t like the term “engineer” for software development, that’s my current role / job description. All this time I’m managing several development teams. What’s really awesome is that all team members are located in every possible place around the world. In this post I will share my so far personal experience and some things I learned the hard way when it comes to manage global teams. Let’s face the truth. Remote working is an increasing trend for several startups and ‘traditional’ companies. Personally I think that in the near future more and more companies will switch to this new model of recruiting. Hiring people globally decreases costs but it hides a lot of risks and difficulties, especially when it comes to manage all those remote workers. Here are some of the most important challenges I faced: Different cultures Everything I knew about human relationships and the way that people handle common situations in a software development team collapsed from one day to another. You don’t know how people react when they hear something that you consider normal but to their ears doesn’t look the same way. The fact that you don’t speak your mother-tongue make things even more fragile. The key to overcome the problem is politeness and clearness. Whatever you say, be polite, calm, confident...