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199RE: [scrumdevelopment] Splinter Department

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  • Mike Beedle
    Feb 4 7:50 AM
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      Jonas Bengtsson wrote:
      > Hi,
      > I've just read "Exploiting Chaos: Cashing in
      > on the Realities of Software Development" by
      > Dave Olson. In his book he proposes a
      > "splinter department". This department is a place
      > where very uncertain ideas can be tested, a
      > nursery for new ideas. For instance, if a person
      > gets a bright idea he can, with the management's
      > approval, go to the splinter department for a couple
      > of months and experimenting with the idea. If the
      > experiments turn out good he might start a pilot
      > project and so forth.
      >
      > The main reason for this department is that
      > some ideas are too risky to explore inside a
      > project and that some ideas are distractions
      > from the main goal of a project.
      >
      > Is there a need for such a department in a Scrum
      > "environment"?

      Jonas:

      I am familiar with the book. I read it in the mid-90s.

      Scrum uses a more reengineered approach, a Case Team,
      in Hammer's terminology. A Case Team, by definition,
      avoids hand-offs among teams, that require iteration
      and rework among different teams, because those are
      exactly the reasons why things get slowed down:

      1) you need managers to talk and agree to do work
      2) you need workers to take instructions from
      managers/team leaders
      3) you need workers to report to management what
      is going on, and
      4) managers to report to each other on progress,
      etc.
      (All the bureaucratic stuff that is undesirable and
      slows things down, albeit, some of it is always
      unavoidable.)

      Instead in Scrum, new ideas are tried from within
      the team, that is iteration and rework, if any,
      stays within a single team. Experiments or prototypes
      are labeled as such in the Product Backlog.
      And they are implemented when they are allocated
      to the Sprint Backlog within a Sprint. Progress
      is reported through the Daily Scrums and the
      decision to continue or to stop with the "experiment"
      is evaluated daily.

      In other words, Scrum mechanisms treat experiments
      like any other task. In that sense, Scrum techniques
      are universal i.e. they work for _any_ kind of
      work that the team needs to accomplish,

      - Mike
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