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

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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 1 of 11 , May 3 3:21 PM
      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 2 of 11 , May 3 3:52 PM
        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 3 of 11 , May 3 4:05 PM

          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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        • 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 4 of 11 , May 4 12:18 PM
            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 5 of 11 , May 5 3:12 PM
              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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