Monthly Archives: November 2011

Scrum Master – a Visionary or a Beat Cop?

The Web is full of articles “explaining” what the Scrum Masters’ responsibilities are and how they should help the team to achieve their goals. Unfortunately most of the articles fail to grasp the core concepts of Scrum, and by arguing whether a Scrum Master should or should not be a part of the development team the authors of the articles hint they have no clue what Scrum is.

Yes, the Scrum Master IS part of a team, but he’s part of the Scrum Team, together with the Development Team and The Product Owner(s). SM is the owner of Scrum and he’s the one to make sure both the team and the product owner adhere to Scrum principles. She is the one who works hard to enable, coach the team and by no means manage!

SM is not part of the development team. There are many companies that think they’re doing a great job by rotating the SM role between their developers, but that purely means they haven’t got a clue what the role of SM is, and it is usually richer than most SM job descriptions outline; not reflected in dozens of more lines of job responsibilities, but reflected in the fact that a simple expression “The Scrum Master removes impediments for the team”, or “The Scrum Master helps the team be accountable to themselves” can be only achieved by employing a abundant and Continue reading

Posted in Agile, Lean, SCRUM, Scrum master | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Just in time, Just Enough Sprint planning

Sprint plannings in Scrum sometimes take long; even when you have all the Stories ready for sprint and estimated. Reason being the team still need to break down stories to tasks, and the Scrum master needs to calculate the capacity and compare the total hours of broken down tasks to the capacity available in order to find out whether the team are committing well, under committing or over committing in order to further negotiate the commitment with the Product Owner if required.

All of this are basics and well accepted, but does it make sense to make the team to break down all the stories right at the beginning of the Sprint – during the planning? Most of the Continue reading

Posted in Agile, Definition of Done, Lean, SCRUM, User Story, sprint planning | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Getting User Stories ready for the Sprint – “Story Status”

If you’re using Scrum in your organisation to develop software, then you are very well aware of the challenges of getting your Stories spot on. Writing a good User Story is not easy; it depends on both business and development factors.

The ideal Scrum Sprint planning is fast, the estimation session does not drag on, however usually the reality is nothing like that and both the Product owner and the development team are equally to blame.

Many questions raised for each User Story; unclear acceptance criteria; missing artefacts, unresolved cross-team dependencies, unresolved 3rd party dependencies… The problems are far more apparent when the Continue reading

Posted in Agile, SCRUM | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments