Friday, 20 March 2009

First UK South Scrum User Group Notes

On 18th this months in a nice pub in Ringwood we had the first ever UK South Scrum User group meeting.

I tried to take as many notes as possible for the benefit of the group members and hopefully the entire Scrum community.

Here's what I managed to write down:

What do we want to achieve with this group?
- Get people to come along and chat (about Scrum and Agile)
- Meet once a month every 3rd Tuesday (this has not changed to last Monday of the month)
- Talk about common issues and ways to resolve them
How do we do it?
We will experiment and pick one of the following or perhaps something else if these are not suitable:
- Open space discussions
- Goldfish bowl
- World cafe
How do we make people aware about this group?
- Ask people who do training for contacts
- Blog about it
- Announce it to NextGen members
- Make it regular – regular day and location
How big do we want it to be? The bigger it is the more structured it has to be.
- Could have perhaps a “learn about Scrum” session
- Talk to big Scrum/Agile consultancies like Conchango/EMC or RallyDev about sending speakers.
- Clive and Plamen to talk with Roman on 8th April (London Scrum User Group) about getting the group listed on the Scrum Alliance website.
We then talked about the biggest challenges that each of us recognises. I have recorded hopefully most of these:
- Getting acceptable definition of done – everyone to sign up for it [This has also become the topic of our next meeting on 27th April)
- Guiding/Coaching ScrumMasters that are new to Scrum and making them become Scrum advocates
- Getting full Senior Management support in a big organisation
- Change process as a whole and trying to implement it into large organisations
- Requirements – getting the definition of them, making them agile requirements.
- Technical gold plating – when to do just enough architecture, design ,etc.
We then went on to talk about positive experiences and again I hope I recorded most of them:
- Team refused to estimate as no answers were given to important requirements questions
- Team no longer delivers the wrong solution
- Team response to HR attempt to impose individual performance reviews.
- Team managed to isolate maintenance to overcome problems with delivering
- The “War room” and winning it from the business just for Scrum use by the teams
- Throwing away the concept of in-sprint defects and no longer wasting time to log them into some system. Get the testers talking rather than typing.
Other thoughts or discussions were around:
- Getting people to understand what is realistically done and optimistically done
- Tech authors could be key as while wanting to know more they lead the information sharing and steer teams towards delivering the user stories
- Important thing is to have the right ratio QA/Developers
- Tools in use include: Rally, TFS, Version One, Target Process (also has helpdesk) and xProcess.

Overall a very good evening and lots of ideas have been discussed. We also managed to set up date for the next meeting, agree on actions about making people aware about the group and identified the main topic for next time.

I hope to see you all there and hopefully a few more people will turn up as well!

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