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Project management systems – SCRUM – part 3



SCRUM – part 3

Scrum Meeting

This is a short daily meeting where the team shares status.
During the sprint, the team conducts daily scrum meetings.

The meetings are held in the same place at the same time every work day.

These are often organised for after lunch.
The post lunch meeting can help focus the mind as people have already been working on the project that day.
There could be problems with the morning if the team is working in a company using flexible working hours.
However, others prefer the morning on the grounds that it sets up the day for the work ahead.

They shouldn’t take long.

To facilitate this you could organise stand up meetings which may help with lower energy levels usually seen after lunch.

Scrum affords special status to those who are committed to the project and some teams enforce a rule in which only those who are committed are allowed to talk during the daily scrum.
Committed here means those actually carrying out the tasks in the sprint.

The meetings don’t last for more than 30 minutes.

A Scrum Master is appointed.
The scrum master is not the leader of the team (as they are self-organising) but acts as a buffer between the team and any distracting influences.

The scrum master is responsible for asking every team member three questions (or similar):

  • What have you done since the last scrum meeting?
  • What has impeded your work?
  • What do you plan on doing between now and the next scrum meeting?

All team members are required to attend the daily scrum.
Conversation is restricted to the team members answering the above questions.
Anyone else who has an interest, for example, a salesperson, can attend but must only to listen.
This is an excellent way for a Scrum team to communicate status information.

Meetings can be established for immediately after the scrum meeting based on answers to the above questions.

Any impediments that are raised become the Scrum Master's responsibility to resolve as quickly as possible.
If the Scrum Master cannot remove these impediments directly himself he takes responsibility for making sure someone on the team does quickly resolve the issue. These may be the more technical issues.

Commitments are made to others in the meeting which will be reported on in the next.
This creates great team spirit.

The daily scrum is not used as a problem-solving or issue resolution meeting.
Issues that are raised are taken outside the meeting and usually dealt with by the relevant sub-group immediately after the daily scrum.

The Scrum Master is responsible for making immediate decisions, if required to remove impediments to progress.
The Scrum Master is responsible for noting impediments that must be resolved external to the meeting and causing them to be removed.

Scrum is normally based on small teams which help to enhance communication between team members.
There is also a huge amount of software that is being developed by solo programmers.
A single programmer can still benefit from some of the basic Scrum principles.
For example, the use of a Product Backlog, a Sprint Backlog, and the use of sprint etc.

Burn down

This is a method of recording the daily progress for a sprint over the sprint's length.

It also refers to the tracking of progress against a release plan by updating information at the end of each sprint.
This is usually in a simple chart form.

The ‘X’ axis (horizontal) shows the sprints whilst the ‘Y’ axis (vertical) indicates the remaining work at the beginning of each sprint.
The units are agreed within the team.

The type of chart you use may need to be tailored to the specifics of the project.
This may be termed the Sprint burn down chart.
Ideally the chart burns down to zero by the end of the sprint.

The Product burn down chart is a view of a project's progress and shows how much work is left to do at the beginning of each sprint.
The scope of this chart spans releases.
However, a release burn down chart is limited to a single release.

Sprint Review Meeting

A review meeting is held at the end of each sprint.
The Scrum team presents what they have accomplished during the recent sprint.
This is often a demo of the new features.

It is intentionally kept very informal.
It may consist of specific rules that may, for instance, not allow PowerPoint slides.
Presentation time for the meeting may be intentionally reduced to say 1 or 2 hours.

Persons at the meeting may be the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, the Scrum team, engineers from other projects, management, customers etc.

The project is assessed against the sprint goal which was agreed at the Sprint Planning Meeting.
The team should have completed each item from the Product Backlog taken into the sprint.
However, it’s of greater importance to achieve the overall goal of the sprint.

Sprint Retrospective Meeting

The sprint retrospective meeting is held at the end of every sprint after the sprint review meeting.
The team and Scrum Master meet to discuss what went well and what to improve in the next sprint.

Task Boards

The task board can be a very useful tool during Scrum sprints.
It is designed to give an immediate visual guide to the progress of the sprint.

These are a live and active record of the tasks being undertaken during the sprint.
In simple terms they can hold cards which state the task for completion.
It is easy to move the cards around as necessary and add extra tasks as needed. Ideally, the tasks undertaken for the sprint will not change.

Any updates will be made during the daily Scrum.

The task board represents each Product Backlog item which has been broken down into multiple tasks as necessary.
Each card showing each of the tasks.
The sophistication of the board can be improved by providing columns.
For example:

  • ‘To Do’ column

Tasks here are not yet been started.

  • ‘In process’ column

This may happen during the daily Scrum.
A team member moves the appropriate card to this column when he or she decides to begin work on the task.

  • ‘Testing’ column

This may represent a task that is complete but needs some method of verification against specific criteria.

  • ‘Test criteria’ column

This can be used either to specify the criteria and test methods used for verification in testing or could be just a symbol to show that they actually exist with the exact details elsewhere.

  • ‘Complete’ column

The position of completed tasks that do not require testing or those that have passed testing.

  • ‘Miscellaneous’ column

This is an area where any additional information or notes can be added.

Challenges to the adoption of Scrum

Many organizations are resistant to Scrum and other Agile methodologies.

The power of the ideas and the associated change management effort impact how effectively companies can adopt Scrum.
Transparency can be uncomfortable in organizations that were previously opaque.
Transparency forces accountability, responsibility, prioritization discussions, trade-offs, and often scope reduction.

Scrum requires that managers behave differently than in the past.
Instead of reviewing status reports, managers should attend Sprint reviews and retrospectives.

Roles

There are a few pieces of terminology for some of the roles within a SCRUM team.
There are some similarities with those for the Six Sigma methodology.

  • Scrum Master (also called Scrum Lord):

This is the person or persons in charge of the tracking and the daily updates for the scrum.
They are equivalent to the Project Manager.

  • Pigs:

Those who are committed to the tasks, for example developers and testers.

  • Chickens:

Those who are involved but do not have tasks, for example Project Owners, Scrum Lords, etc.

Release

The transition of an increment of potentially shippable product from the development team into routine use by customers.
Releases typically happen when one or more sprints have resulted in the product having enough value to outweigh the cost to deploy it.

More information can be found in the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

Under PRINCE2® 2009 [see ‘The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2’] planning is covered by the Plans theme.
The purpose of the Plans theme is to facilitate communication and control by defining the means of delivering the products (the where and how, by whom, and estimating the when and how much).
[see Plans - Purpose]

PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.

Non - PRINCE2 information