Agile Testing: from linear to cyclical thinking

One of the patterns I have often witnessed in agile projects is testers really struggling to shift their mind-sets away from relay race thinking. The common problem goes something like this:

“Scrum wastes our time. Us testers don’t have anything to test at the beginning of the Sprint and then too much to test at the end.  It is a frantic dash at the end to get everything tested in time. It feels very inefficient.”

Well, that’s because that approach is very inefficient. Scrum is designed to highlight waste and will relentlessly continue to do so leaving you two options – either accept it and live with it or change. [Read more…]

How values and behaviors impact teams

The best way to learn something is to teach it. Today, while teaching a Scrum class, I learned something important: the truth hurts and requires a commitment to values. The Scrum values are respect, openness, courage, focus and commitment.  As a team, we explored these and in doing so it helped cement my thinking.  [Read more…]

Who stole all my Scrum benefits?

You’ve seen the statistics – Jeff Sutherland’s group consistently achieving 500-750% increases in productivity, organisations tripling their productivity in a matter of months etc. You’ve implemented Scrum so how come you aren’t reaping these sorts of benefits?

When you spend time with a high performing agile team, something quite profound yet subtle happens. What you notice is not how well they are adhering to the rules of the framework they use, but rather how well they all focus on regularly delivering business value.  In my experience I have noted two key pattern:

  1. They are all working together on delivering business value
  2. They support this notion using high quality agile engineering practices.

Let’s unpick these a little.  [Read more…]

It sucks to be you

I remember when I first starting teaching Scrum. I would get really panicky when the odd attendee would go out of their way to find fault with everything I said. “What about architecture?”, “how do we manage legacy code?”, “that won’t work in our organisation” etc etc… I had times when I wondered that perhaps Scrum wasn’t going to work.

Over time I grew as a Scrum Master and realised that Scrum purposefully doesn’t have solutions for all problems. In fact it is specifically designed so it doesn’t have solutions for every possible issue. If it did it would be a hulking great methodology, not the elegant, nimble lightweight framework that it is. I realised that I actually didn’t have to answer those questions as I had nothing to sell. [Read more…]

Three reasons to choose Kanban over Scrum

Scrum is a powerful tool. Kanban is a powerful tool. Use them appropriately.  [Read more…]

How to run a Sprint Review

The most common Scrum meeting that people seem to get wrong is the Sprint Review. I hear people calling it a “demo”, a “showcase” or my pet hate the “show and tell”. This completely fails to achieve the key purpose of the Sprint Review. Treat a Sprint Review as a presentation and you’ll fail to achieve its key purpose.  [Read more…]

How to run a Sprint Review

The most common Scrum meeting that people seem to get wrong is the Sprint Review. I hear people calling it a “demo”, a “showcase” or my pet hate the “show and tell”. This completely fails to achieve the key purpose of the Sprint Review. Treat a Sprint Review as a presentation and you’ll fail to achieve its key purpose. [Read more…]

Creating upward behavioural spirals in Agile teams

I love being an agile trainer, mentor and coach. It provides regular insights into human behaviour that I personally find utterly fascinating.One of my favourite exercises that I use in Scrum Training is the Ball Game. It is a simple game and gives teams a wonderful opportunity to experience the power of self-organisation, frequent micro-planning and retrospection. [Read more…]

The difference between Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and and Professional Scrum Master (PSM)

A number of people have been asking us recently what the difference is between the old Scrum Alliance style courses and the new professional Scrum curriculum at Scrum.org. In the blog post I will try to answer this question!

[Read more…]