Monday, 12 January 2009

Scrum Gathering Stockholm 2008: Day 1, More afternoon sessions

(I am) terribly late again... but I am sure I still have a chance to finish publishing before the next gathering takes place (hopefully).

I chose to attend a session about the Scrum Implementation at Man Investments. First thing to notice was a guy that looked very familiar to me... so familiar that I later on went to speak to him but it turned out he just reminds me of someone but he is not that guy.. Anyway the presentation was great, mainly because it was by a UK based companies so they seemed to be facing pretty much the same cultural issues as we do. They seemed to have obtained better support on director’s level and also have spent extensively on Scrum training. Unfortunately the last is not something I can hope for.

I thought it is worth noting that they managed to get an actually business analyst to be the product owner of one of their teams and even better the guy was there and spoke a little about his experience. Apart from being a typical *business* type (e.g. would try to sell you anything) he left me with the impression that he actually “got it”. And he also hit me with another sad reality thing – they did Scrum training for the business side... something that in our company would be a huge struggle to do... I guess again it is down to the level of support from the C*Os.

Something we now beat them at was the integration; they stated they integrate every sprint while in fact we strive to integrate every day or 2 days max. And for the first time I’ve heard about real experience in a joint planning session where you have more than one teams working on the same backlog. I would imagine that is a bit difficult to manage but for the time being we don’t need to do that.

And they carried on presenting more and more useful tips like the code coverage metric which we are now trying to introduce, user stories workshop with the business involved - not that we don’t know about it but again how much support is needed to get that done?! Good suggestion was the fact that they allow about 10 points for technical debt when trying to improve existing legacy code. This alerted us to something but we try to estimate the non functional work and add it to the backlog – we came to conclusion that this makes more sense.

On the last session for the day the speaker actually didn’t turn up so we had a discussion where Robyn Dymond initiated the format of having a 3-4 chair panel in front (as if they are the speakers) with the simple rules that only when all chairs are filled with people and only people sitting in front can speak. It was a valuable experience and I wish to try this format soon. We discussed many issues including how to ensure team does not become stale, how to sustain improvement and others.

Overall it was a great first day that ended with a rather weird sponsor cocktail but if we were to ignore all the talking the free beer and decent food were good enough reason to spend some more time in the conference building.

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