As eluded to by the post title, I attended day one or a two day certified scrum master training course, delivered by Chris Sterling … immensely interesting, fun and thought provoking course. The reason I convinced my manager to attend this course is to be in a position to investigate and possibly define a Scrum based P9060036process for the Visual Studio ALM Rangers projects, to understand what works and what does not, understand why some of our scrum initiatives have been dismal failures and for being in a better position to identify and action scrum smells.

Smells? Well, the smells and questions I added to the parking lot today include:

  • How can we use scrum effectively when
    • The team is virtual and distributed around the planet?
    • The team is operating out of many different time zones … having a daily scrum can be challenging?
    • The team resources are allocated part-time, i.e. 2-20 hours / week?
  • Can a scrum master also be product owner and/or member of the delivery team?
  • Is scrum an all or nothing framework? In other words can we adopt some of its artefacts or must we adopt all from day one?
  • How do we deal with scrum smells effectively?
    • There always seems to be a death march towards the end … with scrum we do not have one per project, but one per sprint.
    • Getting buy-in and commitment by distributed team members is a real challenge … getting the entire team into one scrum meeting a sheer impossibility.

At this stage I  do not have the answers and I will comment on the above after the course, in part 2/2 of this blog post. Hopefully we will also have access to some of the pictures taken during the course, so that I can show the great alien earth brochure our team designed today :)

Visual Studio ALM Rangers Projects Scrum Guide

For those that have seen the scrum guide poster as part of the Visual Studio 2010 Quick reference Guidance, it will be interesting to note the changes I made to the poster after today’s course day. Once I have concluded the course and finalised the changes, the poster will make its way to http://vs2010quickref.codeplex.com/ once the team approves the changes.

So what has changed so far?

  1. Added a comment to emphasize that the product owner owns the product backlog and prioritization thereof.
  2. Added a text box to allow team to define the product owner.
  3. Added a text box to allow team to define the scrum master.
  4. Added a text box to allow the team to define a vision for the product.
  5. Added an indicator that the sprint and the associated meetings are the “heartbeat” of the product lifecycle.image 

The intent of the poster is to act as a quick reference “cheat sheet” and as a template which can be completed for each project, printed and stuck to your office wall, bathroom mirror, or wherever else you would like post a project overview that you can refer to.

See you tomorrow or Friday for part two :)