Monday, September 26, 2011

The SCRUM Sales pitches

OK, you guessed it, it was SCRUM.

Anyway, a consultant came and started coaching us.
Now, this was the beginning of the fun part, see, up to now no one ever treated a professional training as a coaching.
I must admit I got hooked quite fast, and if I recall the pitches I liked were:

The short blanket pitch
All our life we try to hold a too-short blanket to cover the triangle of features-time-quality.
Since management is great at demanding features and insists on delivery on time, quality suffers, (which effects the time of delivery finally as well...), so let's try another approach: to keep high quality, and deliver on time, let's loosen up the requirements! (we can't define the full requirements for a two year project anyway...)

The human factor pitch
OK, as difficult as it to admit, we are not robots, and we make mistakes, in estimations, in choices, and marketing makes mistakes in requirements. so let's take in small chunks.

The 'It's a give and take relationship' pitch
- We are responsible to make the estimates of the required development, and no one has the right to tell us we are over-estimating.
- We engage to deliver working software in a month.
- In return - requirements are frozen for a month.

The fun pitch
- Thou shall not stay late due to overload (unless you miss-planned), and thou shall learn your lesson if you do.
- The planning is done with post-its, all the development participates. lots of noise. lots of coffee.
- There is a five minute daily meeting, called a standup, we actually stand (and no coffee allowed), so as not to tempt us to babble in it.
- Every end of month (end of Sprint) besides a demo there are:
  - a retrospective; let's try to see what we learned from the way the sprint ran.
  - a celebration: hey! we spent a good effort (even if we failed miserably), let's have an hour of fun!

Given such strong sales pitches, seeing only benefits, and given the fact we had no say in it, we said yes.

And so the story began...

Till nextime!

The Scrum'em Bear.


  1. For us, it actually came from the ground-up. The developers of the mobile teams wanted to try it out, and after a couple of very successful product releases, the management eventually decided to move the ship this way...
    Now, there's a big effort in teaching us all (coaching...) and trying to see how we invove the server teams as well... Not easy.

    I'm any case, I'm also a big fan. For now. Though it should be clear that a product owner is NOT a product manager. Now we should see how I manage to do both parts...

  2. Offir, what is the distinction been the product owner and the product manager? I hope it is not a 'who to blame' issue...
    Ground up sound like a great direction to build stuff! And remember the Chinese saying - even a 1000 miles journey stats with one step (though I doubt the Chinese used miles as measurement unit)