Effective Chartering for Scrum Teams

lions.jpgThe presentation from my talk with Jens Korte on team chartering at the March 2010 Scrum Gathering in Orlando is now available online at http://prezi.com/gc0m9zvmjb0q/.

We enjoyed preparing and giving this talk very much. Thanks very much to the people who attended and for the interesting questions and discussion, all of which contributed to the talk’s success.

It’s the first time that I have made a presentation using Prezi (http://prezi.com). Prezi allows the presenter to zoom around a large canvas and get away from the intrinsically serial nature of traditional presentation tools. It suits my style and was well received by all that I showed the results to (I’ve heard of some feeling symptoms akin to motion sickness as a result of the zooming and rotation). I’ll be continuing this experiment with my next presentation at Agile Central Europe in Krakow Poland on 8-9th April.

Many thanks also to those who mentioned our talk in their post-gathering round-ups. Here:

http://www.agilitrix.com/2010/03/team-chartering-and-agreements/

and here:

http://www.infoq.com/news/2010/03/scrum-gathering-buzz

Leuchtfeuer entzünden: Einführung von Scrum bei der Allianz Deutschland AG

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An article, co-written by ScrumCenter founders Christoph Mathis and Simon Roberts, describing the Scrum transition at Allianz Deutschland AG, is now available for free download thanks to an agreement with SIGS-DATACOM GmbH.

The article, co-written by Gerhard Hastreiter (Allianz Deutschland AG), Chistoph Mathis (ScrumCenter GmbH) and Simon Roberts (ScrumCenter GmbH), first appeared in the January 2009 edition of ObjektSpektrum and can be found here.

Certified Scrum Product Owner in Solingen

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In association with codecentric GmbH, Simon Roberts will be teaching a Certified Scrum Product Owner course (in German) on 2./3.09.2009 in Solingen. This will be presented directly before codecentric’s “Meet the Experts: Agilität” event on 4.09.2009 and provides an ideal opportunity to learn more about Scrum’s Product Owner role. Why not attend both events – CSPO and Meet the Experts – Agilität and make the most of your trip to Solingen?

For more information and to register, please visit the meet the experts site.

Meet the Experts – Agilität

mtea-container.jpgSimon Roberts will be speaking at codecentric’s event “Meet the Experts – Agilität” in Sollingen on 04.09.2009. The innovative “Meet the Experts” series combines talks from invited speakers with an Open Space session.

Simon’s talk will be on the topic of “Making Scrum Stick” where he will reflect on some of the factors that are critical in helping transitions to agile methods, particularly in large, traditional organizations, to be sustainable.

Other speakers include Henning Wolf (it-agile GmbH), Andreas Ebbert-Karroum (codecentric GmbH), Boris Gloger and Dietmar Strasser (Borland). We hope that you will be able to join us in Solingen for what promises to be a very interesting day.

Leuchtfeuer: Introducing Scrum to an Enterprise by Lighting Beacons

At the German Scrum Open Space conference on 11th July, Christoph Mathis and I presented our ideas on sustainable Enterprise Scrum transitions.

The ideas are based on our experiences leading the successful Scrum transition at Allianz Deutchland over the last 1.5 years and identifies some of the key success factors and pitfalls as well as outlining the approach.

We”ve adopted a beacons (German Leuchtfeuer) metaphor since our approach is based on successively illuminating different parts of the project and governance landscape of the organisation. Key success factors that we described include support from top management and the use of the right mix of training, coaching and mentoring for the people involved in the transition.

We’re speaking at several conferences and meetings over the coming months (including the Stockholm Scrum Gathering, XP Days Germany in Hamburg, OOP 2009 in Munich and Peter Stevens’ Scrum Breakfast in Zurich) where we will be discussing these and related topics. In the meantime, our slides are available and we welcome questions.

Brain-writing Retrospectives

There are many techniques that can be applied during Scrum retrospectives. The excellent book “Agile Retrospectives” by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen has several suggestions. As a Scrum coach I try to keep retrospectives fresh and interesting by using different techniques and I regularly dip into this book for inspiration.

One of the simplest retrospective approaches is to get the team to make three lists:

  • Continue – what has worked well and should be continued
  • Stop – what has not worked well or has hindered us and should be stopped
  • Start – what things have we not been doing which we should start to do

With the support of a facilitator, the team can produce the three lists on three separate flip-chart sheets. However, sometimes the team dynamics makes this difficult, for example if one or more of the team members are very dominant so that other team members are effectively excluded. Brain-writing is one way to help all team members to contribute.

In this article I describe how brain-writing can be applied as part of a Scrum retrospective.

Brain-writing proceeds as follows:

  1. Each participant is given a sheet of paper containing a table with three columns “Continue”, “Stop” and “Start” (attached as Powerpoint in English and German).
  2. Each team member spends up to 5 minutes writing entries in each column.
  3. The sheets are then passed to another participant (e.g. to the left).
  4. Each participant reads what has already been written and may then write additional ideas if inspired to do so (5 minute time-box).
  5. This continues for at least one round – i.e. until the sheets are back at their starting points.

Once ideas have been generated using brain-writing, the retrospective can continue as follows:

  • Consolidate the lists – producing three lists (“Continue, “Stop” and “Start”) on a whiteboard or flip-chart.
  • Prioritise the list items by voting with coloured stickers or marker pen “dots” – each participant gets three votes per column.
  • From the highest priority items (e.g. the top three items), generate a list of SMART (simple, measureable, achievable, realistic, time-boxed) actions.
  • Consider creating Product and/or Sprint backlog items from the actions.

Brain-writing Retrospective Sheet (German and English) – Microsoft Powerpoint