Almost 2 years ago I wrote about my experience with Lego Scrum simulation. Since that time I practised it about 10 times with different teams – inside and outside of my company. When you start playing it for the 2-3rd time you get a bit tired of building the city, so we changed the theme and the backlog every time) I also discovered, that this game helps teams not only to understand the Scrum better, but to uncover some conflicts existing in the teams. When I stopped trying to combine the roles of trainer and product owner and invited my gorgeous colleague Dmitry Velikoivanenko (thank you, thank you a lot for all you have done!) to join I was able to get more from the sessions, as I had time to observe the team’s behaviour.
Thousands of companies are changing to agile, thousands are already agile (they tell you so very confidently). Some of them implemented Scrum. But I still come across of a lot of Project Managers in such companies. Ok, even better – I have a title of “Senior PM” myself (I hope no one from my teams/colleagues will not see my business cards, as they don’t know I am a PM ^_^). When company implements scrum they have to make a hard decision – what to do with these PMs we have? And usually they have a lot of PMs. I have seen companies where there is 1 PM per each 2 developers. Usually they become Scrum Masters or Product Owners, as it seems the most natural way. Just change the title and that is all – you are the Scrum Master now. Sometimes PMs are left as they were – they still “manage” the projects.
Decided to create this post as I’ve heard this question many times during the last 3 weeks. Several people asked that during the cspo training; clients asked 2 times; my boss and my colleagues could not omit this question too(3 times in total). So I want to share some of my thoughts on this topic.
Let’s imagine a scrum team, which is working on a Product. We have a Scrum master – a nice guy – and a Product owner, who has a lot of great ideas and drives the product on. The team works hard every sprint (yes, they play tennis and drink coffee several times a day. And… oh, hell… they even read facebook and watch cat videos during the working hours. So, just an average team). And one day their stakeholder/big boss comes and asks Scrum Master, “Ok, I see the team is working. You have a scrum master, a product owner… But we have a release planned in 2 months. So, tell me, who is responsible for the delivery? Who is responsible for the release being shipped on time?”
I am sure this scenario will sound so familiar to you. You have a great agile team and great PO overseas. But he can’t devote much time to the distributed team. Yes, you asked him and he tried. But failed – he can’t spent so much time on discussing these user stories. The team starts suffering from the lack of understanding. The user stories are not ready for the development – they are not analyzed and communicated properly. If you ever solved the same issue – let’s continue discussion in the post.
Are you as frustrated when you have to perform a demo to the client as me? Hope, I am not alone) I think, that the sprint demo is one of the most important meetings in the scrum process. It is the time to show our work to the product owner and make our progress transparent. For the team it is very important to celebrate their achievements and see what that achieved. Also it is a chance to receive valuable feedback.