I have a new mission at Acquia – I am taking over as Scrum Master for my team. Bwahahahaha …
I’ve been doing Scrum ever since I started in tech full time at Axeda. Stand-ups and sprints are all old hat, but for the first time thanks to Acquia, I have received formal training in Scrum and a certification from Scrum Inc in Boston.
How does Scrum help? Why do it?
You use Scrum because you want to improve team velocity without increasing team resources.
I liked the fact that the Scrum Master class itself was organized as a Sprint using Scrum. This let us “live the example” and see first-hand the effectiveness of the techniques.
What is Scrum? What is its relationship to Lean and Agile?
Scrum is different from Lean and Agile but it derives from both. It came about as an evolution in workflow process based on techniques pioneered at Toyota. Scrum is an adaptation of manufacturing floor process to software engineering.
- Eliminate waste
- Understand Value Stream Analysis
- Implement Single Piece Continuous Flow
Agile competition – rapid prototyping and fail fast mentality, permit the customer to determine what the product will be jointly with the producer
What do you have to have and do in order to be doing Scrum authentically?
In order to do authentic Scrum, you must satisfy these requirements – these particular 3 artifacts, 5 events, and 3 roles as part of the team’s process.
- Product Backlog – vision, priorities
- Sprint Backlog – known work, capacity
- Product Increment – scrum board, burndown, velocity
- Backlog Refinement
- Sprint Planning
- Daily Scrum
- Sprint Review
- Product Owner
- Scrum Master
What do these workflow philosophies consider worthwhile?
Scrum inherits values from Agile. The five values of scrum are focus, courage, openness, commitment and respect.
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Happiness is important because it is a precursor to great team performance and high velocity. Team velocity will predictably go down after happiness does. Scrum practice works to improve happiness by relying on intrinsic motivators over external ones – purpose, mastery, and autonomy over money, power and status. The workplace should ensure the external rewards are present to the extent that they are no longer preoccupying thought, but the flow of the team should emphasize those internal motivators over the external ones.
What are the best practices included in Scrum that help the teams that adopt them?
There were numerous best practices discussed during the class. The first one that I’ll be introducing to my team is the observance of strict scrum rules during our standup.
During our standup, we will kick it off with a short inspirational music clip and physically stand up to report our answers to “What did you do yesterday”, “What will you do today” and “What are your impediments if any.”
Since we are a remote team doing our standup over a call, we will determine the order of statuses according to the order that the team members join the call. Since not everyone joins right at 10:30, the standup will start at 10:35, and the first five minutes will be used for team sync and/or a single ticket triage. At 10:35 the alarm goes off, and the team gets up for standup! Post scrums optional, anyone with a post scrum says who they need and everyone else should drop off.
One further thing I learned that I will mention is about measuring velocity. While you can’t compare velocity across teams, you can compare acceleration. Subtle but important.
What Scrum terminology provides useful ideas?
Kaizen (evolution) and Kaikaku ( revolution).Kaikaku means the philosophy of challenging entrenched dogma, refusing to accept waste no matter how it is disguised
Forms of waste
- Muda – work in progress but not finished
- Mura – inconsistency
- Muri – unreasonable demands
Types of Waste and their Mnemonic
DOWNTIME – Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Not utilizing talent, Transportation, Inventory, Movement, Extra processing
“Don’t take my word for it” – any change we make should have a follow up to ensure that the data proves the change is helping team velocity
All in all, I had a fantastic time and learned a ton. I am stoked to bring this to the team and see how we do.