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RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up

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  • Jonas Bengtsson
    Mike, It seems like we re on the same page. Perhaps one could say that there is an emphasis on both team and individual - the team commits to the work and is
    Message 1 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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      Mike,

      It seems like we're on the same page. Perhaps one could say that there is an
      emphasis on both team and individual - the team commits to the work and is
      responsible to make it happen (on a Sprint level) and the individual
      commits/is responsible on a daily basis. Do that sound reasonable? What I
      meant by emphasis on team was that it's not individualistic but the team
      work/spirit/etc play a major role.

      I think I agree about that the "typical aspects" have a big perceptage of
      the work. But how do you deal with that? If most work is routine how do you
      keep the motivation high? I, for one, need challanges every now and then. I
      guess I tackle the problem by making it into a challange, e.g. by completing
      the work faster than I've done before, or perhaps (do I dare to say :-) by
      adding small features.

      Another question, how important is the ScrumMaster? (both for the
      "knowledge-creation" and for the success of the project in general) I guess
      it differs quite much from project to project. Is it possible that s/he
      becomes less important as the team gets more jelled? Are there any
      self-directing Scrum teams out there?

      Jonas

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Mike Cohn [mailto:mike@...]
      Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 10:13 PM
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


      I guess I would have considered Scrum to be a process that puts emphasis on
      the individual but does so by putting a team framework in place to support
      that individual. I think most individuals working on Scrum projects would
      consider it very liberating from the perspective of personal productivity.

      As for knowledge being created by individuals who "operate as independent
      and separate actors" I'd largely agree with that. But-I'd also suggest that
      the bulk of most software projects are not about knowledge creation. Drucker
      's "knowledge worker" term doesn't have to mean the individual is always
      creating knowledge; it could mean that the worker uses his knowledge. For a
      typical software project there is knowledge created during the activities
      where truly new thought is occurring but I don't think knowledge is created
      when fairly typical aspects of the system are being coded---and most systems
      have a big percentage of this type of work.

      So, while individuals create knowledge the application of that knowledge is
      put to practical use through a team. Scrum works (in my opinion and Mike
      Beedle seems like the one who'd know more about this topic) because if
      allows for individual creativity but always with the framework of a team
      around it. If I go off on a programming tangent that may or may not pay off
      (i.e., creating knowledge) I can do that because I know that if my detour
      doesn't work the rest of the team will help pick up on tasks I got behind
      on.

      --Mike
    • Jonas Bengtsson
      Mary, Thanks for clearing that out! I guessed that teams play a large part even there. But as I understand it they state that the employees are quite
      Message 2 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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        Mary,

        Thanks for clearing that out! I guessed that teams play a large part even
        there. But as I understand it they state that the employees are quite
        individualistic who are "preferring to work on their own". The examples they
        are focusing on is Dick Drew (inventor of Scotch tape) and Art Fry (inventor
        of Post-it), that is two examples of individuals that on their own invents
        something amazing, nothing about team efforts.

        The reason why they call 3M a bottom-up organization is that the top
        management is not "bosses" but rather mentors/supporters. Orders/commands
        from top management have little meaning since the company "encourages
        meritorious disobedience". It is the opposite to a top-down (=bureaucratic?)
        organization.

        Jonas

        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
        > Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 10:13 PM
        > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up
        >
        >
        > Jonas,
        >
        > I have not read the book you reference, so I am not sure why they
        > call 3M a bottom-up organization. But I worked there for 20 years,
        > ending up as a manager (and product champion) in the new product
        > development area of the company.
        >
        > Certainly no one at 3M would think that much good can be
        > accomplished by a single individual. The way that new products get
        > invented is that someone with a good idea recruits team members.
        > Because of institutionalized slack (anyone can spend 15% of their
        > time on projects of their own choosing), it is quite easy to do
        > this. The practice is officially known as `bootlegging'.
        >
        > Let me give you an example. I was trying to build a business around
        > an ultra-pure plastic fiber about ½ inch in diameter, into which
        > one injects light. The light comes out at the end or as a glowing
        > fiber. Colors are injected via a color wheel. We called the
        > product `Light Fiber' and our team introduced it in Japan in
        > 1998.
        >
        > The team was largely a team of volunteers, some of whom were
        > officially assigned to the project at their request by their
        > managers, some of whom were donating their 15% time. We were one of
        > the few technical teams in the company to successfully involve
        > Japanese technical people as fully involved team members. We met
        > every week for 3 years, and although we had very little official
        > funding, we built two process lines, prototyped a third, and
        > commercialized the product.
        >
        > There is no way that a new product can be successfully developed and
        > put on the market by one person. The only successful product
        > champions at 3M are those who can inspire a team. For the most
        > innovative products, the team must often be recruited and is to some
        > extent a volunteer team. It requires a good idea and strong
        > leadership to inspire a team of `volunteers', but it is in no
        > sense working with a group of individualists. The new product
        > development team is a unit, working together, making mutual
        > commitments, helping each other, doing whatever is necessary to put
        > a successful product on the market.
        >
        > From my personal experience, I must say I would rather lead a team
        > of scientists who are deeply committed to each other and to the
        > product, than a team of scientists who are being told what to do.
        > Not only is it more fun, it is far easier to be successful.
        >
        >
      • Ken Schwaber
        The ScrumMaster is also known as the IT project manager, and is responsible for the productivity of the team, ensuring that it has the best possible and most
        Message 3 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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          The ScrumMaster is also known as the IT project manager, and is responsible
          for the productivity of the team, ensuring that it has the best possible and
          most appropriate staffing, works together well, gets decisions made
          promptly, has impediments removed quickly, and understands the project and
          the product backlog. A new type of management position that isn't
          administrative, but a very real coach to the team. The best background is
          border collie or sheepdog.
          Ken

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
          Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 5:34 PM
          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


          Mike,

          It seems like we're on the same page. Perhaps one could say that there is an
          emphasis on both team and individual - the team commits to the work and is
          responsible to make it happen (on a Sprint level) and the individual
          commits/is responsible on a daily basis. Do that sound reasonable? What I
          meant by emphasis on team was that it's not individualistic but the team
          work/spirit/etc play a major role.

          I think I agree about that the "typical aspects" have a big perceptage of
          the work. But how do you deal with that? If most work is routine how do you
          keep the motivation high? I, for one, need challanges every now and then. I
          guess I tackle the problem by making it into a challange, e.g. by completing
          the work faster than I've done before, or perhaps (do I dare to say :-) by
          adding small features.

          Another question, how important is the ScrumMaster? (both for the
          "knowledge-creation" and for the success of the project in general) I guess
          it differs quite much from project to project. Is it possible that s/he
          becomes less important as the team gets more jelled? Are there any
          self-directing Scrum teams out there?

          Jonas

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Mike Cohn [mailto:mike@...]
          Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 10:13 PM
          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


          I guess I would have considered Scrum to be a process that puts emphasis on
          the individual but does so by putting a team framework in place to support
          that individual. I think most individuals working on Scrum projects would
          consider it very liberating from the perspective of personal productivity.

          As for knowledge being created by individuals who "operate as independent
          and separate actors" I'd largely agree with that. But-I'd also suggest that
          the bulk of most software projects are not about knowledge creation. Drucker
          's "knowledge worker" term doesn't have to mean the individual is always
          creating knowledge; it could mean that the worker uses his knowledge. For a
          typical software project there is knowledge created during the activities
          where truly new thought is occurring but I don't think knowledge is created
          when fairly typical aspects of the system are being coded---and most systems
          have a big percentage of this type of work.

          So, while individuals create knowledge the application of that knowledge is
          put to practical use through a team. Scrum works (in my opinion and Mike
          Beedle seems like the one who'd know more about this topic) because if
          allows for individual creativity but always with the framework of a team
          around it. If I go off on a programming tangent that may or may not pay off
          (i.e., creating knowledge) I can do that because I know that if my detour
          doesn't work the rest of the team will help pick up on tasks I got behind
          on.

          --Mike



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        • Jonas Bengtsson
          Ken, The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was the following sentences by Mike Beedle: SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in that
          Message 4 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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            Ken,

            The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was the following
            sentences by Mike Beedle:
            "SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in that case someone is
            designated as the scribe and also logs the completed and planned activities
            of the Backlog and the existing Blocks. All activities from the Backlog and
            the Blocks are then distributed among the team members for resolution."
            <http://jeffsutherland.org/scrum/scrum_pattern.html>

            Has this been "proven" to be unrealistic?

            > The ScrumMaster is also known as the IT project manager, and is
            > responsible
            > for the productivity of the team, ensuring that it has the best
            > possible and
            > most appropriate staffing, works together well, gets decisions made
            > promptly, has impediments removed quickly, and understands the project and
            > the product backlog.

            I agree with most of the above. But what do you mean by "responsible for the
            productivity of the team"? I can see that s/he can be responsible to remove
            impediments and to do everything possible to enhance the productivity. But
            can s/he be responsible for the actual productivity? If s/he does everything
            s/he can but the team still performs poorly is s/he the one to "blame"? As I
            see it the ScrumMaster is responsible to create the right environment for
            productivity but not directly for the productivity.
            Do we mean the same thing or do we have different opinions? (Perhaps I
            should work in a Scrum project before I have opinions about it :-)

            > A new type of management position that isn't
            > administrative, but a very real coach to the team. The best background is
            > border collie or sheepdog.

            I like that! :-)

            Jonas

            ps. forgive me if I was unable to express what I mean above, but I'm really
            tired :-) ds.
          • Ken Schwaber
            Not in my experience. However, I ve either been on critical projects or projects where the organization was changing its culture. Both required dedicated
            Message 5 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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              Not in my experience. However, I've either been on critical projects or
              projects where the organization was changing its culture. Both required
              dedicated ScrumMasters. In a well implemented Scrum organization, the teams
              could be self-directing.
              Ken

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
              Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 6:22 PM
              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


              Ken,

              The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was the following
              sentences by Mike Beedle:
              "SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in that case someone is
              designated as the scribe and also logs the completed and planned activities
              of the Backlog and the existing Blocks. All activities from the Backlog and
              the Blocks are then distributed among the team members for resolution."
              <http://jeffsutherland.org/scrum/scrum_pattern.html>

              Has this been "proven" to be unrealistic?

              > The ScrumMaster is also known as the IT project manager, and is
              > responsible
              > for the productivity of the team, ensuring that it has the best
              > possible and
              > most appropriate staffing, works together well, gets decisions made
              > promptly, has impediments removed quickly, and understands the project and
              > the product backlog.

              I agree with most of the above. But what do you mean by "responsible for the
              productivity of the team"? I can see that s/he can be responsible to remove
              impediments and to do everything possible to enhance the productivity. But
              can s/he be responsible for the actual productivity? If s/he does everything
              s/he can but the team still performs poorly is s/he the one to "blame"? As I
              see it the ScrumMaster is responsible to create the right environment for
              productivity but not directly for the productivity.
              Do we mean the same thing or do we have different opinions? (Perhaps I
              should work in a Scrum project before I have opinions about it :-)

              > A new type of management position that isn't
              > administrative, but a very real coach to the team. The best background is
              > border collie or sheepdog.

              I like that! :-)

              Jonas

              ps. forgive me if I was unable to express what I mean above, but I'm really
              tired :-) ds.



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            • Mike Cohn
              Yes, I think we re on the same page on this. I guess I didn t consider the work to be routine, just not knowledge-creating. I m thinking of a project I m
              Message 6 of 11 , May 3, 2002
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                Yes, I think we’re on the same page on this.

                 

                I guess I didn’t consider the work to be routine, just not knowledge-creating. I’m thinking of a project I’m working with right now where one of the programmers is writing a simple user administration program to accompany the main program (to allow creation of new users, delete existing users, etc.). Everyone has written something similar so it’s not creating new knowledge but it isn’t exactly routine because he hasn’t done it dozens of previous times. Every programmer (person in general) finds his challenges different ways so I generally don’t give a programmer a challenge of “do this routine task faster than you’ve done it before” because not all programmers like that type of challenge (another may prefer to do it is less memory, etc.). In true Scrum manner that type of decision is best left to each individual.

                 

                The Scrum Master is vital. I’m not sure if the role becomes less important with jelled teams but the role can become much less distinct. As the team comes together there is less need for the orchestrating activities of a Scrum Master and so I’ve found it easier for one of the programmers to do the job after having watched it happen for awhile. I’m thinking about one team I’m working with—there are 6 people on the team and I’ve worked with 3 of them in various capacities for much of the last 8 years so we obviously have a history together. We started with a Scrum-like process way back then and have evolved it as we learned or as Ken, Mike and others published on the topic. So the 3 on this team are pretty familiar with what they need to do and my duties as a scrum master to them are very simple relative to what other teams need.

                 

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
                Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 3:34 PM
                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up

                 

                Mike,

                It seems like we're on the same page. Perhaps one could say that there is an
                emphasis on both team and individual - the team commits to the work and is
                responsible to make it happen (on a Sprint level) and the individual
                commits/is responsible on a daily basis. Do that sound reasonable? What I
                meant by emphasis on team was that it's not individualistic but the team
                work/spirit/etc play a major role.

                I think I agree about that the "typical aspects" have a big perceptage of
                the work. But how do you deal with that? If most work is routine how do you
                keep the motivation high? I, for one, need challanges every now and then. I
                guess I tackle the problem by making it into a challange, e.g. by completing
                the work faster than I've done before, or perhaps (do I dare to say :-) by
                adding small features.

                Another question, how important is the ScrumMaster? (both for the
                "knowledge-creation" and for the success of the project in general)  I guess
                it differs quite much from project to project. Is it possible that s/he
                becomes less important as the team gets more jelled? Are there any
                self-directing Scrum teams out there?

                Jonas

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Mike Cohn [mailto:mike@...]
                Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 10:13 PM
                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Middle-up-down vs. bottom-up


                I guess I would have considered Scrum to be a process that puts emphasis on
                the individual but does so by putting a team framework in place to support
                that individual. I think most individuals working on Scrum projects would
                consider it very liberating from the perspective of personal productivity.

                As for knowledge being created by individuals who "operate as independent
                and separate actors" I'd largely agree with that. But-I'd also suggest that
                the bulk of most software projects are not about knowledge creation. Drucker
                's "knowledge worker" term doesn't have to mean the individual is always
                creating knowledge; it could mean that the worker uses his knowledge. For a
                typical software project there is knowledge created during the activities
                where truly new thought is occurring but I don't think knowledge is created
                when fairly typical aspects of the system are being coded---and most systems
                have a big percentage of this type of work.

                So, while individuals create knowledge the application of that knowledge is
                put to practical use through a team. Scrum works (in my opinion and Mike
                Beedle seems like the one who'd know more about this topic) because if
                allows for individual creativity but always with the framework of a team
                around it. If I go off on a programming tangent that may or may not pay off
                (i.e., creating knowledge) I can do that because I know that if my detour
                doesn't work the rest of the team will help pick up on tasks I got behind
                on.

                --Mike



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                To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...


                Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
              • Mike Beedle
                ... Jonas, Ken: It is possible to have self-directed teams with no Scrum Master. But I have only done that twice in 6 years. Basically, Ken hits the nail on
                Message 7 of 11 , May 4, 2002
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                  Jonas wrote:
                  >Ken,
                  > The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was
                  > the following sentences by Mike Beedle:
                  > "SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in
                  > that case someone is designated as the scribe and
                  > also logs the completed and planned activities
                  > of the Backlog and the existing Blocks. All
                  > activities from the Backlog and the Blocks are then
                  > distributed among the team members for resolution."
                  > <http://jeffsutherland.org/scrum/scrum_pattern.html>
                  >
                  > Has this been "proven" to be unrealistic?

                  Ken wrote:
                  > Not in my experience. However, I've either been on
                  > critical projects or projects where the organization
                  > was changing its culture. Both required dedicated
                  > ScrumMasters. In a well implemented Scrum organization,
                  > the teams could be self-directing.

                  Jonas, Ken:

                  It is possible to have self-directed teams with no Scrum Master.

                  But I have only done that twice in 6 years. Basically,
                  Ken hits the nail on the head, it requires a very
                  special environment:

                  - high Scrum experience for all, if not all members
                  of the team

                  - team members with established relationships with
                  other members of the organization and with the
                  respect of managers (because some of their chosen
                  assignments are "issues"; therefore, they must
                  be able to represent themselves to resolve them).

                  - team members ability to keep and manage backlog
                  (again, not an easy thing to do, but it is
                  possible, specially in smaller teams.)

                  - team members with the ability to coordinate with
                  the customer and the sponsor of the team about
                  needs, demos (Spring Review Meeting), planning
                  (Sprint Planning Meeting),

                  etc.

                  Unfortunately these requirements mean that self-directed
                  teams are hard to put in place and hard to keep in
                  balance. Simply put, it is safer to have a good
                  Scrum Master,

                  - Mike
                • Linda Rising
                  Hi Guys, All the teams at AG were self-directed but that just means that the team adopted the various management roles. The ScrumMaster was just another role
                  Message 8 of 11 , May 5, 2002
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                    Hi Guys,

                    All the teams at AG were self-directed but that just means that the team adopted the
                    various management roles. The ScrumMaster was just another role and someone
                    took that on and tracked the backlog.





                    Linda



                    Mike Beedle wrote:
                    Jonas wrote:
                    Ken,
                    The reason why I asked about self-directing teams was
                    the following sentences by Mike Beedle:
                    "SCRUMs can also be held by self-directed teams, in
                    that case someone is designated as the scribe and
                    also logs the completed and planned activities
                    of the Backlog and the existing Blocks. All
                    activities from the Backlog and the Blocks are then
                    distributed among the team members for resolution."
                    <http://jeffsutherland.org/scrum/scrum_pattern.html>

                    Has this been "proven" to be unrealistic?

                    Ken wrote:
                    Not in my experience. However, I've either been on 
                    critical projects or projects where the organization
                    was changing its culture. Both required dedicated
                    ScrumMasters. In a well implemented Scrum organization,
                    the teams could be self-directing.

                    Jonas, Ken:

                    It is possible to have self-directed teams with no Scrum Master.

                    But I have only done that twice in 6 years. Basically,
                    Ken hits the nail on the head, it requires a very
                    special environment:

                    - high Scrum experience for all, if not all members
                    of the team

                    - team members with established relationships with
                    other members of the organization and with the
                    respect of managers (because some of their chosen
                    assignments are "issues"; therefore, they must
                    be able to represent themselves to resolve them).

                    - team members ability to keep and manage backlog
                    (again, not an easy thing to do, but it is
                    possible, specially in smaller teams.)

                    - team members with the ability to coordinate with
                    the customer and the sponsor of the team about
                    needs, demos (Spring Review Meeting), planning
                    (Sprint Planning Meeting),

                    etc.

                    Unfortunately these requir ements mean that self-directed
                    teams are hard to put in place and hard to keep in
                    balance. Simply put, it is safer to have a good
                    Scrum Master,

                    - Mike



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