ScrumBob's Book Recommendations

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I'm NOT Lovin' It....

I just found out about a situation that took place at a company and it made me physically ill just reading about it. It is a large project team and they were weakly attempting to adopt agile practices. Well, apparently it fell short and, as usual, turned into the all-too-familiar chaotic mess at the end of the project. Large efforts to remove many defects, trying to get functionality right, build failures, etc. Many team members working overtime and weekends. Everyone has their share of horror stories. But this one goes to #1 on the worst thing managers can do list. One of the executives sent out an email to the entire project team singing the praises of 5 individuals instead of recognizing the team. And that's just where the story a reward for these people working weekends and pulling out heroic efforts to correct things that should have been done right the first time, seriously eroding their quality of life, and probably just adding more technical debt in the process, the email proclaimed these 5 people would be the recipients of a $5 Gift Card to McDonald's!!! What the F&^%!!!
There are SO many things that are wrong with this, but let's focus on the big things...first the value placed on the heroic efforts by a senior manager was $5!; second its to McDonald's...nothing better for an unhealthy lifestyle than to bolster it with a 3000 calorie fast food meal with 1000grams of heart-stopping fat. I'd love to see the trend in their healthcare costs! The executive closed the email with thanks to these people for making a difference and they would be "presented with the card". Its hard for me to believe this actually happened, but unfortunately it did.

Information Week Article

Got a nice article published on I think it will be a help for agile job seekers.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Scrum-of-Scrums...For the Team, By the Team

OK, so when did the Scrum-of-Scrums become a meeting of the ScrumMasters from each team in a multi-team environment? Maybe I missed something, but let me state what the original intent of the Scrum-of-Scrums was about. Since Scrum is all about self-management and self-organization, the idea was to let teams work out their coordination, dependencies, and obstacles. The intent was to have a representative team member (specifically not the ScrumMaster) from each team have another daily Scrum of 15 minutes to ensure coordination between teams. The ScrumMasters often rotated to act as ScrumMaster for the Scrum-of-Scrums. This was a fast, easy, efficient means of keeping teams synchronized on a large system development. This teaches the team members to take responsibility for coordinating with each other.

Now, there is nothing wrong with ScrumMasters getting together to discuss obstacles, process related topics, and new tools/techniques for improving. The early large implementations of Scrum mostly referred to these as the ScrumMaster community. I strongly encourage that approach to shared learning for any group of people in a specific discipline.

I believe that this trend is nothing more than a form of control from people in ScrumMaster roles that used to be project managers. Information power...having info that others don't, is a form of control. It's time to let go folks! It's OK, nothing will happen, everyone will be fine. Smart working adults will learn to coordinate their activities just fine. My suggestion is to get focused on the obstacles that nobody wants to deal with or find ways to improve the process or the development environment.