Sunday, July 11, 2010

ScrumMasters should believe in UFOs!

I've been working with some new ScrumMasters that used to be project managers and the biggest thing holding them and their teams back is the attitude around resolving impediments:
  1. They rely only on the team *reporting* impediments to them instead of sleuthing for impediments.
  2. They collect information about impediments in a notebook.
  3. No one on the team or management knows the status of the impediments, how many there are, or how bad they are.
  4. The ScrumMasters are writing email reports about the impediments.

Instead of the above behaviours, I'm encouraging them to believe in UFOs. Everyone should believe in them, but it's the ScrumMaster who should give UFOs their professional treatment.

  • U -- Who is responsible for resolving impediments? U!
  • F ast -- U shouldn't wait long before trying to resolve them. Don't schedule a meeting in the future or craft a report for something you can take care of now.
  • O bservable -- Impediments should be easy for anyone to see at any time.
  • S tatus -- The status of the impediments should be clear and known so the team feels something is being done beyond someone nodding their head, writing in their notebook, and crafting CYA emails. It's best to make the status observable.
I've put together a video called Living with Impediments which illustrates the problem and also goes over UFOs. You can also find more Agile videos at my YouTube channel.

Tell your ScrumMasters about UFOs.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Agile Coach Debriefings: Sprint Planning and Planning Poker

Lancer is going to confess on camera about discussions he's had with clients by going over his coaching notebook. As of now, he discusses how to schedule and organize for Sprint Planning in a day, and how to have a quick session of Planning Poker using the team's group intelligence.

You can subscribe to his YouTube channel to receive new updates.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Burn, baby, burn (part 2/2 to having great standups)

Something a SM should do every morning right before standup: take a look at the burndown chart and try to find an easy 'win'. A win is a story that is almost done and could make the line on the burndown chart burn (go) down.

Then at the beginning of Standup, 'set the stage'[1]  by telling the team that they almost have a story finished which will show great progress during the sprint. Ask the team to figure out how to get THAT story (creating focus) finished so they can get an early win, burn down the chart, and show their PO that progress is being made.  

This also gives you, the scrum master, focus: solve any difficulties that get in the teams way around finishing that story. If you get a TEAM of people focused on a goal, great things always happen. But it requires finding the right thing to focus on. A story that is near finish is a good thing to focus on, until it meets our definition of done.

And for a bonus, you can run the story by your PO for Story Acceptance before the end of the Sprint. That will really get the PO and the team excited.