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Re: [XP] Is experimentation an XP value?

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  • Ron Jeffries
    Hello, Adam. On Saturday, November 6, 2010, at 12:27:37 AM, you ... XP teams, good ones, have their code surrounded by zillions of tests. They pair, so
    Message 1 of 25 , Nov 6, 2010
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      Hello, Adam. On Saturday, November 6, 2010, at 12:27:37 AM, you
      wrote:

      > I spend most of my time, nowadays, trying to convince Scrum teams
      > to adopt XP practices. One thing that comes up over and over again
      > is that teams that adopt Scrum are often still very risk averse.

      > The XP teams that I have worked with, on the other hand, seemed
      > to value experimentation and learning a lot.

      > Which makes me wonder... Is valuing experimentation a core XP
      > value? It seems like others value safety and deliberation over
      > experimentation, and it seems like we don't. Thoughts?

      XP teams, good ones, have their code surrounded by zillions of
      tests. They pair, so everyone knows most everything, and there's
      always someone to belay you if you slip. They change code by
      refactoring, not by rewriting. They understand that every
      refactoring has an inverse. If they have the meme, they follow the
      C3 rule: if programmers discuss some technical issue for more than
      ten minutes, they must settle the issue by a joint experiment.

      Courage is an XP value ... because XP teams do things that justify
      courage.

      Scrum teams often have none of those practices, which means they
      have no reason to have courage.

      Ron Jeffries
      www.XProgramming.com
      In times of stress, I like to turn to the wisdom of my Portuguese waitress,
      who said: "Olá, meu nome é Marisol e eu serei sua garçonete."
      -- after Mark Vaughn, Autoweek.
    • Laurent Bossavit
      ... Something bugs me here... If you are using XP team as a shorthand for teams who use XP practices , ditto Scrum, then you re almost stating a tautology:
      Message 2 of 25 , Nov 6, 2010
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        > The XP teams that I have worked with, on the other hand, seemed to
        > value experimentation
        >

        Something bugs me here... If you are using "XP team" as a shorthand
        for "teams who use XP practices", ditto Scrum, then you're almost
        stating a tautology: "the teams I've seen who are using Scrum
        practices but not XP practices are reluctant to adopt XP practices".
        That's more or less what made them Scrum teams in the first place,
        right?

        So, basically you seem to be saying that some teams adopt some
        practices that some other teams don't.

        Can you clarify? Do you mean something else by "X team" than "a team
        using practices from X", and if so why? Other than being more or less
        willing to adopt XP practices, what observations characterize, for
        you, a team as "risk averse" or "willing to experiment"?

        Cheers,
        Laurent Bossavit
        laurent@...
      • Keith Ray
        Groups we are calling Scrum Teams may be late adopters, who are by definition reluctant to change, (and might have had Scrum forced on them) while the XP
        Message 3 of 25 , Nov 6, 2010
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          Groups we are calling "Scrum Teams" may be late adopters, who are by definition reluctant to change, (and might have had Scrum forced on them) while the "XP teams" you remember may have been early adopters voluntarily embracing change.

          C. Keith Ray

          Amplify Your Agility
          Coaching | Training | Assessment | eLearning
          http://industriallogic.com

          On Nov 6, 2010, at 4:35 AM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

          > Hello, Adam. On Saturday, November 6, 2010, at 12:27:37 AM, you
          > wrote:
          >
          >> I spend most of my time, nowadays, trying to convince Scrum teams
          >> to adopt XP practices. One thing that comes up over and over again
          >> is that teams that adopt Scrum are often still very risk averse.
          >
          >> The XP teams that I have worked with, on the other hand, seemed
          >> to value experimentation and learning a lot.
          >
          >> Which makes me wonder... Is valuing experimentation a core XP
          >> value? It seems like others value safety and deliberation over
          >> experimentation, and it seems like we don't. Thoughts?
          >
          > XP teams, good ones, have their code surrounded by zillions of
          > tests. They pair, so everyone knows most everything, and there's
          > always someone to belay you if you slip. They change code by
          > refactoring, not by rewriting. They understand that every
          > refactoring has an inverse. If they have the meme, they follow the
          > C3 rule: if programmers discuss some technical issue for more than
          > ten minutes, they must settle the issue by a joint experiment.
          >
          > Courage is an XP value ... because XP teams do things that justify
          > courage.
          >
          > Scrum teams often have none of those practices, which means they
          > have no reason to have courage.
          >
          > Ron Jeffries
          > www.XProgramming.com
          > In times of stress, I like to turn to the wisdom of my Portuguese waitress,
          > who said: "Olá, meu nome é Marisol e eu serei sua garçonete."
          > -- after Mark Vaughn, Autoweek.
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
          >
          > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
          >
          > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
        • Adam Sroka
          I agree that courage is key, and I am glad that XP made that explicit so I didn t have to work as hard to figure it out for myself. It is also key that we
          Message 4 of 25 , Nov 6, 2010
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            I agree that courage is key, and I am glad that XP made that explicit
            so I didn't have to work as hard to figure it out for myself. It is
            also key that we don't have courage blindly. We have courage because
            we are doing the things you mention to always know that it works.

            Part of the problem I see with moving to be more courageous is that it
            takes a certain courage to attempt to do these things. XP teams are
            effective because they do good things like testing, designing,
            integrating and talking to each other more often. What I have observed
            is that many teams that do Scrum but don't have any of the XP
            practices actually do good things less often than they would
            otherwise, because they feel pressured to get done in two weeks.

            I started doing XP by just doing it, because I was in an organization
            where there was no process and nobody really cared what I was doing.
            It was easy for me to have courage in that environment. The risk to me
            was very low because no one was really paying attention.

            Later I worked with a team that was already doing XP. It took very
            little courage to do good things in this environment. I wanted to be
            there doing the good things, and they brought me in precisely because
            I said I would do those good things.

            What is difficult about coaching this stuff in these existing Scrum
            environments is that, somewhat counterintuitively, there are forces in
            place that make doing good things a bit scarier. The problem I see is
            that teams are pressured to deliver every two weeks, but they don't
            have practices that make that effective. They are constantly rushing
            and cutting corners. They don't see how introducing good practices
            will make things better for them. In the short term they expect it to
            slow them down, and that might be an unacceptable risk.

            On Sat, Nov 6, 2010 at 4:35 AM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            > Hello, Adam. On Saturday, November 6, 2010, at 12:27:37 AM, you
            > wrote:
            >
            > > I spend most of my time, nowadays, trying to convince Scrum teams
            > > to adopt XP practices. One thing that comes up over and over again
            > > is that teams that adopt Scrum are often still very risk averse.
            >
            > > The XP teams that I have worked with, on the other hand, seemed
            > > to value experimentation and learning a lot.
            >
            > > Which makes me wonder... Is valuing experimentation a core XP
            > > value? It seems like others value safety and deliberation over
            > > experimentation, and it seems like we don't. Thoughts?
            >
            > XP teams, good ones, have their code surrounded by zillions of
            > tests. They pair, so everyone knows most everything, and there's
            > always someone to belay you if you slip. They change code by
            > refactoring, not by rewriting. They understand that every
            > refactoring has an inverse. If they have the meme, they follow the
            > C3 rule: if programmers discuss some technical issue for more than
            > ten minutes, they must settle the issue by a joint experiment.
            >
            > Courage is an XP value ... because XP teams do things that justify
            > courage.
            >
            > Scrum teams often have none of those practices, which means they
            > have no reason to have courage.
            >
            > Ron Jeffries
            > www.XProgramming.com
            > In times of stress, I like to turn to the wisdom of my Portuguese waitress,
            > who said: "Olá, meu nome é Marisol e eu serei sua garçonete."
            > -- after Mark Vaughn, Autoweek.
            >
            >
          • Adam Sroka
            ... That makes sense. To put it in the proper context the teams that are doing Scrum without XP practices are doing what they were told to do. Many of them
            Message 5 of 25 , Nov 6, 2010
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              On Sat, Nov 6, 2010 at 5:09 AM, Laurent Bossavit <laurent@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              > > The XP teams that I have worked with, on the other hand, seemed to
              > > value experimentation
              > >
              >
              > Something bugs me here... If you are using "XP team" as a shorthand
              > for "teams who use XP practices", ditto Scrum, then you're almost
              > stating a tautology: "the teams I've seen who are using Scrum
              > practices but not XP practices are reluctant to adopt XP practices".
              > That's more or less what made them Scrum teams in the first place,
              > right?
              >

              That makes sense. To put it in the proper context the teams that are
              doing Scrum without XP practices are doing what they were told to do.
              Many of them have no idea how to do XP practices. The reason that I am
              there is to help them figure out how/if XP practices will help them.

              > So, basically you seem to be saying that some teams adopt some
              > practices that some other teams don't.
              >

              That's not exactly what I meant to be saying, but it is true. For the
              most part these teams didn't chose Scrum, it was forced on them. I
              don't want to force XP on them. So, I am in the somewhat tenuous
              position of saying that I think some of the practices will help them
              do Scrum more effectively. The problem with that is that most of the
              time they don't want to try new things.

              In particular, if they are faced with some arbitrary deadline imposed
              by the business then I can almost guarantee they will reject any
              changes introduced prior to that deadline. I can't really say I blame
              them for that, but I want to understand it better so that I can help.

              > Can you clarify? Do you mean something else by "X team" than "a team
              > using practices from X", and if so why? Other than being more or less
              > willing to adopt XP practices, what observations characterize, for
              > you, a team as "risk averse" or "willing to experiment"?
              >

              I always try new things. If you suggested to me that wearing silly
              hats while we programmed would raise our brain temperature and make us
              more productive I would be willing to try it for a couple weeks and
              measure the results.

              Most of the fellow XPers I have worked with have been similarly
              willing to try things. I can't say that every one has, but it seems to
              be a majority.

              The teams I am working with now seem very averse to this. If it is not
              obviously a better idea than what they are currently doing they don't
              even want to talk about it. Even if they agree that it is a better
              idea they are still averse to trying it if there is risk involved in
              failing (I personally love to fail and try again. It's the only way to
              learn anything.)

              Come to think of it, this may have little to do with Scrum and more to
              do with the corporate culture I am dealing with. So, maybe that part
              of my premise was flawed.
            • thierry henrio
              Hello Adam ... If company was sold XXX folds lead time by 2, just do XXX , then it might It might also be a great goal if planned and agreed transparently ...
              Message 6 of 25 , Nov 6, 2010
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                Hello Adam

                On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 1:10 AM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:

                >
                >
                > On Sat, Nov 6, 2010 at 5:09 AM, Laurent Bossavit <laurent@...<laurent%40bossavit.com>>
                > wrote:
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > > The XP teams that I have worked with, on the other hand, seemed to
                > > > value experimentation
                > > >
                > >
                > > Something bugs me here... If you are using "XP team" as a shorthand
                > > for "teams who use XP practices", ditto Scrum, then you're almost
                > > stating a tautology: "the teams I've seen who are using Scrum
                > > practices but not XP practices are reluctant to adopt XP practices".
                > > That's more or less what made them Scrum teams in the first place,
                > > right?
                > >
                >
                > That makes sense. To put it in the proper context the teams that are
                > doing Scrum without XP practices are doing what they were told to do.
                > Many of them have no idea how to do XP practices. The reason that I am
                > there is to help them figure out how/if XP practices will help them.
                >
                >
                > > So, basically you seem to be saying that some teams adopt some
                > > practices that some other teams don't.
                > >
                >
                > That's not exactly what I meant to be saying, but it is true. For the
                > most part these teams didn't chose Scrum, it was forced on them. I
                > don't want to force XP on them. So, I am in the somewhat tenuous
                > position of saying that I think some of the practices will help them
                > do Scrum more effectively. The problem with that is that most of the
                > time they don't want to try new things.
                >
                > In particular, if they are faced with some arbitrary deadline imposed
                > by the business then I can almost guarantee they will reject any
                > changes introduced prior to that deadline. I can't really say I blame
                > them for that, but I want to understand it better so that I can help.
                >
                > Come to think of it, this may have little to do with Scrum and more to
                > do with the corporate culture I am dealing with. So, maybe that part
                > of my premise was flawed.
                >

                If company was sold "XXX folds lead time by 2, just do XXX", then it might
                It might also be a great goal if planned and agreed transparently ...
                So what is your plan ?
                Curious, Thierry


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Adam Sroka
                ... I m a little hesitant to promise them specific results. For example, they want to know if TDD will make them faster and I am willing to say that in the
                Message 7 of 25 , Nov 6, 2010
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                  On Sat, Nov 6, 2010 at 5:41 PM, thierry henrio <thierry.henrio@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Hello Adam
                  >
                  > On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 1:10 AM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > On Sat, Nov 6, 2010 at 5:09 AM, Laurent Bossavit <laurent@...<laurent%40bossavit.com>>
                  >
                  > > wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > > The XP teams that I have worked with, on the other hand, seemed to
                  > > > > value experimentation
                  > > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > Something bugs me here... If you are using "XP team" as a shorthand
                  > > > for "teams who use XP practices", ditto Scrum, then you're almost
                  > > > stating a tautology: "the teams I've seen who are using Scrum
                  > > > practices but not XP practices are reluctant to adopt XP practices".
                  > > > That's more or less what made them Scrum teams in the first place,
                  > > > right?
                  > > >
                  > >
                  > > That makes sense. To put it in the proper context the teams that are
                  > > doing Scrum without XP practices are doing what they were told to do.
                  > > Many of them have no idea how to do XP practices. The reason that I am
                  > > there is to help them figure out how/if XP practices will help them.
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > > So, basically you seem to be saying that some teams adopt some
                  > > > practices that some other teams don't.
                  > > >
                  > >
                  > > That's not exactly what I meant to be saying, but it is true. For the
                  > > most part these teams didn't chose Scrum, it was forced on them. I
                  > > don't want to force XP on them. So, I am in the somewhat tenuous
                  > > position of saying that I think some of the practices will help them
                  > > do Scrum more effectively. The problem with that is that most of the
                  > > time they don't want to try new things.
                  > >
                  > > In particular, if they are faced with some arbitrary deadline imposed
                  > > by the business then I can almost guarantee they will reject any
                  > > changes introduced prior to that deadline. I can't really say I blame
                  > > them for that, but I want to understand it better so that I can help.
                  > >
                  > > Come to think of it, this may have little to do with Scrum and more to
                  > > do with the corporate culture I am dealing with. So, maybe that part
                  > > of my premise was flawed.
                  > >
                  >
                  > If company was sold "XXX folds lead time by 2, just do XXX", then it might
                  > It might also be a great goal if planned and agreed transparently ...

                  I'm a little hesitant to promise them specific results. For example,
                  they want to know if TDD will make them faster and I am willing to say
                  that in the long run I think it will. However, in the shorter term I
                  have seen some teams get faster and some teams get much slower
                  (Because they weren't paying much attention to the quality of their
                  code prior to TDD.)

                  In one case I was able to say that TDD would save them a lot of time
                  on their testing, because they were automating functional tests that
                  were slow and brittle. They had a suite that was taking them several
                  days to run and when it found problems they had to spend several more
                  days fixing them, then several to run it again... you get the picture.

                  So, sometimes I can do that, but sometimes I can't.

                  > So what is your plan ?

                  My current thinking is that we will offer training classes across the
                  organization so that anyone who wants to learn can sign up and join a
                  class. Then I will let the teams come to me after one of them has been
                  to a class and say, "We want to figure out how to test this GUI..."
                  Let those kind of requests drive the coaching. I have had some limited
                  success with using a pull approach rather than a push, and I would
                  like to go 100% pull if possible. There are 1,400 people in the IT
                  organization of this client, and we have other clients that are pretty
                  big too. So, I'm not worried about running out of people to help.
                • Adam Sroka
                  ... Yes, that s exactly what I was talking about. The XP folks who I know have a natural tendency to try new things that led them to XP in the first place. A
                  Message 8 of 25 , Nov 6, 2010
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                    On Sat, Nov 6, 2010 at 9:03 AM, Keith Ray <keith.ray@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Groups we are calling "Scrum Teams" may be late adopters, who are by definition reluctant to change, (and might have had Scrum forced on them) while the "XP teams" you remember may have been early adopters voluntarily embracing change.
                    >

                    Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about. The XP folks who I know
                    have a natural tendency to try new things that led them to XP in the
                    first place. A lot of the folks I am dealing with now want me to
                    promise that it is going to work before they try it and even then they
                    seem to fear the change. They will do something if I tell them they
                    have to, but that is contrary to both my values and the values that we
                    would like to see them embrace. It's a tough nut.
                  • Laurent Bossavit
                    Hi Adam, ... This is getting close to off-topic, but last Thursday at one of the French stops of Agile Tour I sat in on a very interesting talk with a title
                    Message 9 of 25 , Nov 7, 2010
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                      Hi Adam,

                      > Come to think of it, this may have little to do with Scrum and more to
                      > do with the corporate culture I am dealing with


                      This is getting close to off-topic, but last Thursday at one of the
                      French stops of Agile Tour I sat in on a very interesting talk with a
                      title I'll loosely translate: "Scrum as compliance factory", drawing
                      on work such as Cialdini's ("Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion").

                      The speaker argued that Scrum seems to have been engineered by someone
                      who's read up on the psychology of persuasion, to produce something
                      devilishly clever at getting people to willingly commit to goals; he
                      didn't see that as an unalloyed benefit, reminding us of the
                      historical ills engendered by engineered compliance.

                      By and large I agreed, but pointed out it's something of a two-edged
                      sword. There may only be subtle differences between creating alignment
                      of purpose within a group, and engineering compliance. The former I
                      still see as a necessary condition of project success.

                      So, perhaps the hypothesis is that XP never appeals to corporate
                      culture who value compliance, whereas Scrum may appeal to those
                      corporate cultures. I'd take it with a grain of salt, insofar as XP
                      incorporates just about every element of Scrum that engineers
                      compliance. But maybe it makes sense that if what appeals to you is
                      the compliance element you'd want to ditch all the technical
                      practices...

                      Cheers,
                      Laurent Bossavit
                      laurent@...
                    • Ron Jeffries
                      Hello, Adam. On Saturday, November 6, 2010, at 7:10:25 PM, you ... Yes. This sounds to me like a culture issue. I d be looking at what management is doing to
                      Message 10 of 25 , Nov 7, 2010
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                        Hello, Adam. On Saturday, November 6, 2010, at 7:10:25 PM, you
                        wrote:

                        > The teams I am working with now seem very averse to this. If it is not
                        > obviously a better idea than what they are currently doing they don't
                        > even want to talk about it. Even if they agree that it is a better
                        > idea they are still averse to trying it if there is risk involved in
                        > failing (I personally love to fail and try again. It's the only way to
                        > learn anything.)

                        > Come to think of it, this may have little to do with Scrum and more to
                        > do with the corporate culture I am dealing with. So, maybe that part
                        > of my premise was flawed.

                        Yes. This sounds to me like a culture issue. I'd be looking at what
                        management is doing to the teams for a first thought.

                        Ron Jeffries
                        www.XProgramming.com
                        For best results, avoid doing stupid things. -- Clifford Stoll (Acme Klein Bottle)
                      • Ron Jeffries
                        Hello, Adam. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 12:08:42 AM, you ... Have these people had Scrum training? Have they heard about Inspect and Adapt? Are they
                        Message 11 of 25 , Nov 7, 2010
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                          Hello, Adam. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 12:08:42 AM, you
                          wrote:

                          > Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about. The XP folks who I know
                          > have a natural tendency to try new things that led them to XP in the
                          > first place. A lot of the folks I am dealing with now want me to
                          > promise that it is going to work before they try it and even then they
                          > seem to fear the change. They will do something if I tell them they
                          > have to, but that is contrary to both my values and the values that we
                          > would like to see them embrace. It's a tough nut.

                          Have these people had Scrum training? Have they heard about Inspect
                          and Adapt? Are they doing retrospectives? If so, what do they do in
                          them if not figure out ways to improve? If not, why the hell not?

                          Ron Jeffries
                          www.XProgramming.com
                          Reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions. -- David Hume
                        • Philip
                          ... Yes, as Kent Beck says on p 34 of the 1st edition of XP Explained: If you don t have the first three values in place, courage by itself is just plain
                          Message 12 of 25 , Nov 7, 2010
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                            > Courage is an XP value ... because XP teams do things that justify
                            > courage.
                            >
                            > Scrum teams often have none of those practices, which means they
                            > have no reason to have courage.

                            Yes, as Kent Beck says on p 34 of the 1st edition of XP Explained:

                            If you don't have the first three values in place, courage by itself is just plain hacking (in the pejorative sense of that word). However, when combined with communication, simplicity, and concrete feedback, courage becomes extremely valuable.

                            --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Hello, Adam. On Saturday, November 6, 2010, at 12:27:37 AM, you
                            > wrote:
                            >
                            > > I spend most of my time, nowadays, trying to convince Scrum teams
                            > > to adopt XP practices. One thing that comes up over and over again
                            > > is that teams that adopt Scrum are often still very risk averse.
                            >
                            > > The XP teams that I have worked with, on the other hand, seemed
                            > > to value experimentation and learning a lot.
                            >
                            > > Which makes me wonder... Is valuing experimentation a core XP
                            > > value? It seems like others value safety and deliberation over
                            > > experimentation, and it seems like we don't. Thoughts?
                            >
                            > XP teams, good ones, have their code surrounded by zillions of
                            > tests. They pair, so everyone knows most everything, and there's
                            > always someone to belay you if you slip. They change code by
                            > refactoring, not by rewriting. They understand that every
                            > refactoring has an inverse. If they have the meme, they follow the
                            > C3 rule: if programmers discuss some technical issue for more than
                            > ten minutes, they must settle the issue by a joint experiment.
                            >
                            > Courage is an XP value ... because XP teams do things that justify
                            > courage.
                            >
                            > Scrum teams often have none of those practices, which means they
                            > have no reason to have courage.
                            >
                            > Ron Jeffries
                            > www.XProgramming.com
                            > In times of stress, I like to turn to the wisdom of my Portuguese waitress,
                            > who said: "Olá, meu nome é Marisol e eu serei sua garçonete."
                            > -- after Mark Vaughn, Autoweek.
                            >
                          • Steven Gordon
                            ... This view assumes that team responsibility and authority already exist, otherwise communication, simplicity, feedback and courage only go as far as the
                            Message 13 of 25 , Nov 7, 2010
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                              On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 3:32 AM, Philip <philip.johann.schwarz@...>wrote:

                              >
                              >
                              > > Courage is an XP value ... because XP teams do things that justify
                              > > courage.
                              > >
                              > > Scrum teams often have none of those practices, which means they
                              > > have no reason to have courage.
                              >
                              > Yes, as Kent Beck says on p 34 of the 1st edition of XP Explained:
                              >
                              > If you don't have the first three values in place, courage by itself is
                              > just plain hacking (in the pejorative sense of that word). However, when
                              > combined with communication, simplicity, and concrete feedback, courage
                              > becomes extremely valuable.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              This view assumes that team responsibility and authority already exist,
                              otherwise communication, simplicity, feedback and courage only go as far as
                              the person who has organizational responsibility and authority will allow
                              it.

                              This is what Scrum brings to an organization that is adopting Agile so late
                              in the game. It establishes that the team has the responsibility to make
                              commitments and the authority to decide how to meet those commitments.
                              This, along with retrospectives, creates a very good environment for teams
                              to then adopt XP without management FUD and interference. Of course, it
                              cannot guarantee that the team will choose to do retrospectives and try to
                              get better, but it gives them a fighting chance despite a risk-averse
                              management structure.

                              Steven Gordon


                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Ron Jeffries
                              Hello, Steven. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 1:12:44 PM, you ... Yes ... what you say would be true for teams that really do Scrum. It seems that many do
                              Message 14 of 25 , Nov 7, 2010
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                                Hello, Steven. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 1:12:44 PM, you
                                wrote:

                                > This is what Scrum brings to an organization that is adopting Agile so late
                                > in the game. It establishes that the team has the responsibility to make
                                > commitments and the authority to decide how to meet those commitments.
                                > This, along with retrospectives, creates a very good environment for teams
                                > to then adopt XP without management FUD and interference. Of course, it
                                > cannot guarantee that the team will choose to do retrospectives and try to
                                > get better, but it gives them a fighting chance despite a risk-averse
                                > management structure

                                Yes ... what you say would be true for teams that really do Scrum.
                                It seems that many do not despite using the word.

                                Ron Jeffries
                                www.XProgramming.com
                                When you blame others, you give up your power to change.
                                -- Robert Anthony
                              • Adam Sroka
                                ... That s a very good question. They all have had some degree of training, but most could use more. They do have retrospectives, but the retrospective
                                Message 15 of 25 , Nov 7, 2010
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                                  On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 2:00 AM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Hello, Adam. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 12:08:42 AM, you
                                  > wrote:
                                  >
                                  > > Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about. The XP folks who I know
                                  > > have a natural tendency to try new things that led them to XP in the
                                  > > first place. A lot of the folks I am dealing with now want me to
                                  > > promise that it is going to work before they try it and even then they
                                  > > seem to fear the change. They will do something if I tell them they
                                  > > have to, but that is contrary to both my values and the values that we
                                  > > would like to see them embrace. It's a tough nut.
                                  >
                                  > Have these people had Scrum training? Have they heard about Inspect
                                  > and Adapt? Are they doing retrospectives? If so, what do they do in
                                  > them if not figure out ways to improve? If not, why the hell not?
                                  >

                                  That's a very good question. They all have had some degree of
                                  training, but most could use more. They do have retrospectives, but
                                  the retrospective practice could be improved. Specifically, in some
                                  cases retrospectives devolve to pity parties and the team isn't
                                  holding itself accountable for actually following through on
                                  improvements. This seems to be a common pattern -- it is easier to
                                  identify problems than to commit to solving them.
                                • Adam Sroka
                                  ... In these large organizations teams aren t always choosing Scrum for themselves. It is a bit of a Catch 22 when you tell folks, We have decided that you
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Nov 7, 2010
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                                    On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 10:12 AM, Steven Gordon <sgordonphd@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 3:32 AM, Philip <philip.johann.schwarz@...>wrote:
                                    >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > > Courage is an XP value ... because XP teams do things that justify
                                    > > > courage.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > Scrum teams often have none of those practices, which means they
                                    > > > have no reason to have courage.
                                    > >
                                    > > Yes, as Kent Beck says on p 34 of the 1st edition of XP Explained:
                                    > >
                                    > > If you don't have the first three values in place, courage by itself is
                                    > > just plain hacking (in the pejorative sense of that word). However, when
                                    > > combined with communication, simplicity, and concrete feedback, courage
                                    > > becomes extremely valuable.
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > This view assumes that team responsibility and authority already exist,
                                    > otherwise communication, simplicity, feedback and courage only go as far as
                                    > the person who has organizational responsibility and authority will allow
                                    > it.
                                    >
                                    > This is what Scrum brings to an organization that is adopting Agile so late
                                    > in the game. It establishes that the team has the responsibility to make
                                    > commitments and the authority to decide how to meet those commitments.
                                    > This, along with retrospectives, creates a very good environment for teams
                                    > to then adopt XP without management FUD and interference. Of course, it
                                    > cannot guarantee that the team will choose to do retrospectives and try to
                                    > get better, but it gives them a fighting chance despite a risk-averse
                                    > management structure.
                                    >

                                    In these large organizations teams aren't always choosing Scrum for
                                    themselves. It is a bit of a Catch 22 when you tell folks, "We have
                                    decided that you will manage yourselves." People are put in the
                                    tenuous position of attempting to satisfy management's desire for them
                                    to be empowered, when all they really want is to be left to do the
                                    work in the way that they have always done it.

                                    Add to that the fact that this isn't the first "enterprise
                                    transformation" these folks have had to endure. It's a wonder they
                                    stick around through this stuff.

                                    It's not all bad, though. In any group there are folks who are eager
                                    to learn something new, and it is rather easy to get through to those
                                    folks. The problem is reaching a critical mass where whole teams begin
                                    to behave differently.
                                  • Adam Sroka
                                    ... Scrum, by design I believe, is rather easy to do mechanically. Living up to the intent and truly inspecting and adapting is more challenging. IMO, even
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Nov 7, 2010
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                                      On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 6:24 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Hello, Steven. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 1:12:44 PM, you
                                      > wrote:
                                      >
                                      > > This is what Scrum brings to an organization that is adopting Agile so late
                                      > > in the game. It establishes that the team has the responsibility to make
                                      > > commitments and the authority to decide how to meet those commitments.
                                      > > This, along with retrospectives, creates a very good environment for teams
                                      > > to then adopt XP without management FUD and interference. Of course, it
                                      > > cannot guarantee that the team will choose to do retrospectives and try to
                                      > > get better, but it gives them a fighting chance despite a risk-averse
                                      > > management structure
                                      >
                                      > Yes ... what you say would be true for teams that really do Scrum.
                                      > It seems that many do not despite using the word.
                                      >

                                      Scrum, by design I believe, is rather easy to do mechanically. Living
                                      up to the intent and truly inspecting and adapting is more
                                      challenging. IMO, even some of the Scrum leaders don't always practice
                                      this as well as I would hope.
                                    • Steven Gordon
                                      ... Ron, It does seem that the percentage of XP teams really doing XP is significantly greater than the percentage of Scrum teams really doing Scrum. Would
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Nov 8, 2010
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                                        On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 7:24 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Hello, Steven. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 1:12:44 PM, you
                                        > wrote:
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > > This is what Scrum brings to an organization that is adopting Agile so
                                        > late
                                        > > in the game. It establishes that the team has the responsibility to make
                                        > > commitments and the authority to decide how to meet those commitments.
                                        > > This, along with retrospectives, creates a very good environment for
                                        > teams
                                        > > to then adopt XP without management FUD and interference. Of course, it
                                        > > cannot guarantee that the team will choose to do retrospectives and try
                                        > to
                                        > > get better, but it gives them a fighting chance despite a risk-averse
                                        > > management structure
                                        >
                                        > Yes ... what you say would be true for teams that really do Scrum.
                                        > It seems that many do not despite using the word.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        Ron,

                                        It does seem that the percentage of XP teams really doing XP is
                                        significantly greater than the percentage of Scrum teams really doing Scrum.

                                        Would this be because XP is more specific/rigorous, more likely to be
                                        rejected out-of-hand by risk-averse managements, or just less
                                        popular/marketed?

                                        SteveG



                                        >
                                        > Ron Jeffries
                                        > www.XProgramming.com
                                        > When you blame others, you give up your power to change.
                                        > -- Robert Anthony
                                        >
                                        >


                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • Charlie Poole
                                        ... And the percentage of teams calling them selves agile that are really agile is even lower that for Scrum. ... It seems to me that the more popular a
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Nov 8, 2010
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                                          On Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 7:28 AM, Steven Gordon <sgordonphd@...> wrote:
                                          > On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 7:24 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          >>
                                          >>
                                          >> Hello, Steven. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 1:12:44 PM, you
                                          >> wrote:
                                          >>
                                          >>
                                          >> > This is what Scrum brings to an organization that is adopting Agile so
                                          >> late
                                          >> > in the game. It establishes that the team has the responsibility to make
                                          >> > commitments and the authority to decide how to meet those commitments.
                                          >> > This, along with retrospectives, creates a very good environment for
                                          >> teams
                                          >> > to then adopt XP without management FUD and interference. Of course, it
                                          >> > cannot guarantee that the team will choose to do retrospectives and try
                                          >> to
                                          >> > get better, but it gives them a fighting chance despite a risk-averse
                                          >> > management structure
                                          >>
                                          >> Yes ... what you say would be true for teams that really do Scrum.
                                          >> It seems that many do not despite using the word.
                                          >>
                                          >>
                                          > Ron,
                                          >
                                          > It does seem that the percentage of XP teams really doing XP is
                                          > significantly greater than the percentage of Scrum teams really doing Scrum.

                                          And the percentage of teams calling them selves "agile" that are really
                                          "agile" is even lower that for Scrum.

                                          > Would this be because XP is more specific/rigorous, more likely to be
                                          > rejected out-of-hand by risk-averse managements, or just less
                                          > popular/marketed?

                                          It seems to me that the more popular a label becomes, the more likely
                                          it is to be misused.

                                          Charlie

                                          > SteveG
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >>
                                          >> Ron Jeffries
                                          >> www.XProgramming.com
                                          >> When you blame others, you give up your power to change.
                                          >> -- Robert Anthony
                                          >>
                                          >>
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > ------------------------------------
                                          >
                                          > To Post a message, send it to:   extremeprogramming@...
                                          >
                                          > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                                          >
                                          > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                        • Adam Sroka
                                          I seem to recall quite a few teams claiming to be doing XP and doing it either partially or naively. I think that was true in the early days (1999-2004 or so)
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Nov 8, 2010
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                                            I seem to recall quite a few teams claiming to be doing XP and doing it
                                            either partially or naively. I think that was true in the early days
                                            (1999-2004 or so) and less so since Scrum has emerged as the big player.

                                            I still encounter teams that think they are doing some of the practices but
                                            have not really understood them. They think they are doing TDD but it is
                                            really integration test first. They think they are doing CI because
                                            CruiseControl is compiling their project nightly, etc.
                                            On Nov 8, 2010 7:40 AM, "Charlie Poole" <charlie@...> wrote:
                                            > On Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 7:28 AM, Steven Gordon <sgordonphd@...>
                                            wrote:
                                            >> On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 7:24 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                                            >>
                                            >>>
                                            >>>
                                            >>> Hello, Steven. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 1:12:44 PM, you
                                            >>> wrote:
                                            >>>
                                            >>>
                                            >>> > This is what Scrum brings to an organization that is adopting Agile so
                                            >>> late
                                            >>> > in the game. It establishes that the team has the responsibility to
                                            make
                                            >>> > commitments and the authority to decide how to meet those commitments.
                                            >>> > This, along with retrospectives, creates a very good environment for
                                            >>> teams
                                            >>> > to then adopt XP without management FUD and interference. Of course,
                                            it
                                            >>> > cannot guarantee that the team will choose to do retrospectives and
                                            try
                                            >>> to
                                            >>> > get better, but it gives them a fighting chance despite a risk-averse
                                            >>> > management structure
                                            >>>
                                            >>> Yes ... what you say would be true for teams that really do Scrum.
                                            >>> It seems that many do not despite using the word.
                                            >>>
                                            >>>
                                            >> Ron,
                                            >>
                                            >> It does seem that the percentage of XP teams really doing XP is
                                            >> significantly greater than the percentage of Scrum teams really doing
                                            Scrum.
                                            >
                                            > And the percentage of teams calling them selves "agile" that are really
                                            > "agile" is even lower that for Scrum.
                                            >
                                            >> Would this be because XP is more specific/rigorous, more likely to be
                                            >> rejected out-of-hand by risk-averse managements, or just less
                                            >> popular/marketed?
                                            >
                                            > It seems to me that the more popular a label becomes, the more likely
                                            > it is to be misused.
                                            >
                                            > Charlie
                                            >
                                            >> SteveG
                                            >>
                                            >>
                                            >>
                                            >>>
                                            >>> Ron Jeffries
                                            >>> www.XProgramming.com
                                            >>> When you blame others, you give up your power to change.
                                            >>> -- Robert Anthony
                                            >>>
                                            >>>
                                            >>
                                            >>
                                            >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            >>
                                            >>
                                            >>
                                            >> ------------------------------------
                                            >>
                                            >> To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                                            >>
                                            >> To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                                            extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                                            >>
                                            >> ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
                                            >>
                                            >>
                                            >>
                                            >>


                                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          • ronjeffriesacm@gmail.com
                                            I don t have any data, even subjective, to support this. Intuitively, it would seem that since xp is more specific, it might be harder to assert it without
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Nov 8, 2010
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                                              I don't have any data, even subjective, to support this. Intuitively, it would seem that since xp is more specific, it might be harder to assert it without basis. That said, historically, i've seen a lot of so-called xp teams not doing it at all well.

                                              R

                                              On Nov 8, 2010, at 10:28 AM, Steven Gordon <sgordonphd@...> wrote:

                                              > On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 7:24 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              >>
                                              >>
                                              >> Hello, Steven. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 1:12:44 PM, you
                                              >> wrote:
                                              >>
                                              >>
                                              >>> This is what Scrum brings to an organization that is adopting Agile so
                                              >> late
                                              >>> in the game. It establishes that the team has the responsibility to make
                                              >>> commitments and the authority to decide how to meet those commitments.
                                              >>> This, along with retrospectives, creates a very good environment for
                                              >> teams
                                              >>> to then adopt XP without management FUD and interference. Of course, it
                                              >>> cannot guarantee that the team will choose to do retrospectives and try
                                              >> to
                                              >>> get better, but it gives them a fighting chance despite a risk-averse
                                              >>> management structure
                                              >>
                                              >> Yes ... what you say would be true for teams that really do Scrum.
                                              >> It seems that many do not despite using the word.
                                              >>
                                              >>
                                              > Ron,
                                              >
                                              > It does seem that the percentage of XP teams really doing XP is
                                              > significantly greater than the percentage of Scrum teams really doing Scrum.
                                              >
                                              > Would this be because XP is more specific/rigorous, more likely to be
                                              > rejected out-of-hand by risk-averse managements, or just less
                                              > popular/marketed?
                                              >
                                              > SteveG
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >>
                                              >> Ron Jeffries
                                              >> www.XProgramming.com
                                              >> When you blame others, you give up your power to change.
                                              >> -- Robert Anthony
                                              >>
                                              >>
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > ------------------------------------
                                              >
                                              > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                                              >
                                              > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                                              >
                                              > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                            • Wouter Lagerweij
                                              ... Indeed! The team I met last week had been doing scrum for about five sprints. The results of their last retrospective were still shown on a white board,
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Nov 8, 2010
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                                                On Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 7:43 AM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:

                                                >
                                                >
                                                > On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 2:00 AM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...<ronjeffries%40acm.org>>
                                                > wrote:
                                                > >
                                                > >
                                                > >
                                                > > Hello, Adam. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 12:08:42 AM, you
                                                > > wrote:
                                                > >
                                                > > > Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about. The XP folks who I know
                                                > > > have a natural tendency to try new things that led them to XP in the
                                                > > > first place. A lot of the folks I am dealing with now want me to
                                                > > > promise that it is going to work before they try it and even then they
                                                > > > seem to fear the change. They will do something if I tell them they
                                                > > > have to, but that is contrary to both my values and the values that we
                                                > > > would like to see them embrace. It's a tough nut.
                                                > >
                                                > > Have these people had Scrum training? Have they heard about Inspect
                                                > > and Adapt? Are they doing retrospectives? If so, what do they do in
                                                > > them if not figure out ways to improve? If not, why the hell not?
                                                > >
                                                >
                                                > That's a very good question. They all have had some degree of
                                                > training, but most could use more. They do have retrospectives, but
                                                > the retrospective practice could be improved. Specifically, in some
                                                > cases retrospectives devolve to pity parties and the team isn't
                                                > holding itself accountable for actually following through on
                                                > improvements. This seems to be a common pattern -- it is easier to
                                                > identify problems than to commit to solving them.
                                                >

                                                Indeed! The team I met last week had been doing scrum for about five
                                                sprints. The results of their last retrospective were still shown on a white
                                                board, and listed items such as 'improve unit testing'. This was
                                                encouraging, in that they were unit testing, were doing retrospectives, and
                                                wanted to improve their technical practices.
                                                When I asked them *how* they were working on improving unit testing, though,
                                                I got a very long pause...

                                                Note that this wasn't in any way reluctance on the teams part to follow
                                                through, they just hadn't gotten the message that they could and *should*
                                                take concrete steps to change. For people not used to taking that
                                                responsibility, that seems to be the hardest part of scrum to really
                                                perform.

                                                Wouter


                                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                              • Adam Sroka
                                                My data is only anecdotal, based on the teams that I have had direct contact with. However, I think there is a terminology problem. In the early days people
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Nov 8, 2010
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                                                  My data is only anecdotal, based on the teams that I have had direct contact
                                                  with.

                                                  However, I think there is a terminology problem. In the early days people
                                                  had difficulty adopting XP wholesale. So, they said they were doing XP, but
                                                  they hadn't implemented all the practices yet.

                                                  Nowadays I find teams in very similar circumstances, but they claim to be
                                                  doing Scrum with or without some number of "engineering practices." AFAIK,
                                                  there is no meaningful difference here except that the words we are using
                                                  are different.

                                                  On Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 10:56 AM, <ronjeffriesacm@...> wrote:

                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > I don't have any data, even subjective, to support this. Intuitively, it
                                                  > would seem that since xp is more specific, it might be harder to assert it
                                                  > without basis. That said, historically, i've seen a lot of so-called xp
                                                  > teams not doing it at all well.
                                                  >
                                                  > R
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > On Nov 8, 2010, at 10:28 AM, Steven Gordon <sgordonphd@...<sgordonphd%40gmail.com>>
                                                  > wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > > On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 7:24 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...<ronjeffries%40acm.org>>
                                                  > wrote:
                                                  > >
                                                  > >>
                                                  > >>
                                                  > >> Hello, Steven. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 1:12:44 PM, you
                                                  > >> wrote:
                                                  > >>
                                                  > >>
                                                  > >>> This is what Scrum brings to an organization that is adopting Agile so
                                                  > >> late
                                                  > >>> in the game. It establishes that the team has the responsibility to
                                                  > make
                                                  > >>> commitments and the authority to decide how to meet those commitments.
                                                  > >>> This, along with retrospectives, creates a very good environment for
                                                  > >> teams
                                                  > >>> to then adopt XP without management FUD and interference. Of course, it
                                                  > >>> cannot guarantee that the team will choose to do retrospectives and try
                                                  > >> to
                                                  > >>> get better, but it gives them a fighting chance despite a risk-averse
                                                  > >>> management structure
                                                  > >>
                                                  > >> Yes ... what you say would be true for teams that really do Scrum.
                                                  > >> It seems that many do not despite using the word.
                                                  > >>
                                                  > >>
                                                  > > Ron,
                                                  > >
                                                  > > It does seem that the percentage of XP teams really doing XP is
                                                  > > significantly greater than the percentage of Scrum teams really doing
                                                  > Scrum.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > Would this be because XP is more specific/rigorous, more likely to be
                                                  > > rejected out-of-hand by risk-averse managements, or just less
                                                  > > popular/marketed?
                                                  > >
                                                  > > SteveG
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > >>
                                                  > >> Ron Jeffries
                                                  > >> www.XProgramming.com
                                                  > >> When you blame others, you give up your power to change.
                                                  > >> -- Robert Anthony
                                                  > >>
                                                  > >>
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > > ------------------------------------
                                                  >
                                                  > >
                                                  > > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...<extremeprogramming%40eGroups.com>
                                                  > >
                                                  > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                                                  > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...<extremeprogramming-unsubscribe%40eGroups.com>
                                                  > >
                                                  > > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  >
                                                  >


                                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                • Adam Sroka
                                                  ... This is a good time to plug Esther Derby and Diana Larsen s /Agile Retrospectives/. Some of the techniques are a bit touchy-feely for us software geeks,
                                                  Message 24 of 25 , Nov 8, 2010
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                                                    On Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 11:01 AM, Wouter Lagerweij <wouter@...> wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    > On Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 7:43 AM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    > >
                                                    > >
                                                    > > On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 2:00 AM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...<ronjeffries%40acm.org>>
                                                    >
                                                    > > wrote:
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > > Hello, Adam. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 12:08:42 AM, you
                                                    > > > wrote:
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > > > Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about. The XP folks who I know
                                                    > > > > have a natural tendency to try new things that led them to XP in the
                                                    > > > > first place. A lot of the folks I am dealing with now want me to
                                                    > > > > promise that it is going to work before they try it and even then they
                                                    > > > > seem to fear the change. They will do something if I tell them they
                                                    > > > > have to, but that is contrary to both my values and the values that we
                                                    > > > > would like to see them embrace. It's a tough nut.
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > > Have these people had Scrum training? Have they heard about Inspect
                                                    > > > and Adapt? Are they doing retrospectives? If so, what do they do in
                                                    > > > them if not figure out ways to improve? If not, why the hell not?
                                                    > > >
                                                    > >
                                                    > > That's a very good question. They all have had some degree of
                                                    > > training, but most could use more. They do have retrospectives, but
                                                    > > the retrospective practice could be improved. Specifically, in some
                                                    > > cases retrospectives devolve to pity parties and the team isn't
                                                    > > holding itself accountable for actually following through on
                                                    > > improvements. This seems to be a common pattern -- it is easier to
                                                    > > identify problems than to commit to solving them.
                                                    > >
                                                    >
                                                    > Indeed! The team I met last week had been doing scrum for about five
                                                    > sprints. The results of their last retrospective were still shown on a white
                                                    > board, and listed items such as 'improve unit testing'. This was
                                                    > encouraging, in that they were unit testing, were doing retrospectives, and
                                                    > wanted to improve their technical practices.
                                                    > When I asked them *how* they were working on improving unit testing, though,
                                                    > I got a very long pause...
                                                    >
                                                    > Note that this wasn't in any way reluctance on the teams part to follow
                                                    > through, they just hadn't gotten the message that they could and *should*
                                                    > take concrete steps to change. For people not used to taking that
                                                    > responsibility, that seems to be the hardest part of scrum to really
                                                    > perform.
                                                    >

                                                    This is a good time to plug Esther Derby and Diana Larsen's /Agile
                                                    Retrospectives/. Some of the techniques are a bit touchy-feely for us
                                                    software geeks, but it effectively makes the point about finding
                                                    measurable improvements, committing to doing them, and then measuring
                                                    them.

                                                    A lot of the Kanban literature is also good in this regard. We need to
                                                    actually look for areas to improve, measure them, attempt to improve
                                                    them, and measure them again. It should be a bit more scientific and
                                                    less about what the team likes and dislikes.
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