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Re: How many chickens is too many?

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  • majkic.sensei
    I suppose that being honest to all is the best solution. If team is feeling uncomfortable, productivity will go down, and I guess that non-agile managers would
    Message 1 of 19 , Mar 12, 2009
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      I suppose that being honest to all is the best solution. If team is feeling uncomfortable, productivity will go down, and I guess that non-agile managers would understand this language. I would make one meeting for managers, PO and would frankly say: "Developers are feeling uncomfortable with such a big number of chickens on daily scrum. They feel being micromanaged and this ruins agile spirit and agile benefits. This will harm the project." Then I would suggest daily "chicken" meeting (have nothing with Scrum), where PO (or even I as SM) would tell them about status. And of course, I would invite them to Scrum Demo meetings, where they could stay in touch with developers.

      I hope this helps.

      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "SJPlante" <jasonplante@...> wrote:
      >
      > We've run into a situation where some team members feel that there are too many managers attending the daily scrum, and because of that they feel very uncomfortable giving their status. A typical team will have five or six members and sometimes we'll have four or five managers attend the scrum (they are not allowed to speak). Some managers have their arguments as to why they feel they need to be there, arguments that I totally disagree with. So I'm curious as to what a daily scrum looks like at other companies. Other than product owner, scrum master, and team members, who else shows up to your daily scrum?
      >
      > Thanks,
      > Jason
      >
    • Adam Sroka
      On Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 9:49 AM, Peter Stevens (calendar) ... I was going to say it depends on what part of the chicken you are eating. If you are only eating
      Message 2 of 19 , Mar 12, 2009
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        On Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 9:49 AM, Peter Stevens (calendar)
        <peterstev@...> wrote:
        > Hi Jason,
        >
        > How much ham do you put in your omeletts? When does it stop being an omelett
        > iand become just fried ham? Oops, got that backwards. There's gotta be a
        > good joke in there somewhre ;-)
        >

        I was going to say it depends on what part of the chicken you are
        eating. If you are only eating the wings you are going to want more
        chickens to contribute. However, that breaks the whole silly metaphor.
        You Scrum guys don't eat chicken, you only eat developers... err Pigs.
      • Tom Mellor
        In the CSM course, we train that the daily scrum is a planning meeting for the team. Chickens attend by invitation only. I had a director show up at a scrum
        Message 3 of 19 , Mar 12, 2009
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          Re: How many chickens is too many?

          In the CSM course, we train that the daily scrum is a planning meeting for the team.  Chickens attend by invitation only.  I had a director show up at a scrum and actually identified himself as a "chicken" and asked if he could attend.  I, the ScrumMaster, looked around at team members and I could sense that there was some tension and surprise by this unforeseen event.  So, I politely responded to the director that the scrum was for the team only and he was welcome to come in after it concluded if he wanted.  He left and waited outside the team room.  I invited him in after the scrum and he said that he had heard very good things about their work from the business side and wanted to relay that in person.  He then left. 

          One of the team members asked if it was appropriate to ask a director to leave the scrum.  I looked around the team and asked what they thought.  A couple of them said his arrival had caught them by surprise and they were suspicious of what was behind it (perhaps an "experiential thing"??)  Then the discussion turned to transparency when a couple of people suggested that if the team were to be truly transparent, it shouldn't matter if a chicken was in the room as long as the chicken understood the rules and didn't interfere or try to control.  I asked the team as a whole if they thought his presence might change the environment of trust and cause them to withhold or change information.  All agreed that it shouldn't, but they couldn't say it wouldn't.  With that, I suggested that the environment of trust is critical to being transparent, so there seems to be a deeper issue.  They acknowledged that.  But, that wasn't the time or place to deal with a deeply embedded cultural issue.

          The team did admit that his immediate compliance with my request to leave left them feeling a bit conflicted - suspicious initially on one hand and yet confounded that he immediately left without objection and rather humbly.  Interestingly, it never happened again but it caused a bit of wonderment among the team about the whole episode.  No easy answer as to whether it was handled appropriately, but the results were intriguing. 

          Tom Mellor
          Certified Scrum Trainer
           

        • Whitten, Richard
          I have banned all managers from my daily Scrum meetings - for the reason you outlined below. Rich From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
          Message 4 of 19 , Mar 12, 2009
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            I have banned all managers from my daily Scrum meetings – for the reason you outlined below.

             

            Rich

             

            From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of SJPlante
            Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 7:00 AM
            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [scrumdevelopment] How many chickens is too many?

             

            We've run into a situation where some team members feel that there are too many managers attending the daily scrum, and because of that they feel very uncomfortable giving their status. A typical team will have five or six members and sometimes we'll have four or five managers attend the scrum (they are not allowed to speak). Some managers have their arguments as to why they feel they need to be there, arguments that I totally disagree with. So I'm curious as to what a daily scrum looks like at other companies. Other than product owner, scrum master, and team members, who else shows up to your daily scrum?

            Thanks,
            Jason

          • lukevisser
            Wow, what an intriguing discussion. I liked the comment earlier regarding only getting one perspective. So, I thought I d add mine, from the chicken s
            Message 5 of 19 , Mar 12, 2009
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              Wow, what an intriguing discussion. I liked the comment earlier regarding only getting one perspective. So, I thought I'd add mine, from the chicken's perspective. Actually I think the metaphor is crap because my stake (as a supposed chicken) is pretty high too.

              The ratio of managers to team members can range from 1:2 to 1:5 in the team standups we have here. We (the team members) actively encourage managers to come along to our morning standups. They love the fact that their lives (at work) are taken an interest in by the people that "manage" them.

              You'd be surprised how much a CEO/MD actually has a stake in your project. Especially if the money for the project is coming directly from his/her pocket. Kind of makes the chicken/pig analogy mute.

              I think when you don't want to have management there you have issues you should deal with internally. You may not of course, but my experience suggests that in teams like that you do.

              Lack of transparency. You're saying things that you don't want managers to hear (rightly or wrongly). That's because by the time it's got to management it's been "adjusted" for their ears. We want our managers to know what's going on, we want them to understand the intricacies, wins and losses. We want them to know based on reality not heresay. As a manager, I want to know too. Transparency should be encouraged and any mechanism put in place to stifle it is causing your organisation problems.

              Intimidation. Notice this one all the time. Lots of people are intimidated in direct proportion to the level of the manager. It's silly, not needed and unhelpful. But ... it's human. If you have a manager that likes intimidating then talk to him/her about it. Work never gets done better by intimidation. If engineers are intimidated by managers, sit down and talk with them, find out why and look to solving it.

              Road Blocks. It's amazing how much easier it is for a manager to get rid of road blocks when an engineer/developer might spend considerable time grumbling and running into brick walls. If "road block" identification is part of your standup (and it should be) then having managers there is really useful.

              There's probably others but they're the obvious ones to me that I've seen over time. Managers are people too, have as many foibles and nuances as everyone else. For the most part they want to help and ensure projects work well too. Don't exclude them from your projects, they can be very useful allies.

              Oh, forgot this one. Crap Managers. That one is much, much harder to deal with :-). Yep, might mean a quite coffee discussion between a senior member (or the most diplomatic one) with the manager to determine his/her motivations for attending.

              Luke

              --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Whitten, Richard" <richard.whitten@...> wrote:
              >
              > I have banned all managers from my daily Scrum meetings - for the reason
              > you outlined below.
              >
              >
              >
              > Rich
              >
              >
              >
              > From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              > [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of SJPlante
              > Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 7:00 AM
              > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] How many chickens is too many?
              >
              >
              >
              > We've run into a situation where some team members feel that there are
              > too many managers attending the daily scrum, and because of that they
              > feel very uncomfortable giving their status. A typical team will have
              > five or six members and sometimes we'll have four or five managers
              > attend the scrum (they are not allowed to speak). Some managers have
              > their arguments as to why they feel they need to be there, arguments
              > that I totally disagree with. So I'm curious as to what a daily scrum
              > looks like at other companies. Other than product owner, scrum master,
              > and team members, who else shows up to your daily scrum?
              >
              > Thanks,
              > Jason
              >
            • Roy Morien
              If the managerial culture is a supportive, encouraging, mentoring type culture, then having the managers there can be beneficial, showing (as has been
              Message 6 of 19 , Mar 12, 2009
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                If the managerial culture is a supportive, encouraging, mentoring type culture, then having the managers there can be beneficial, showing (as has been suggesyed in this post) interest ans support, and giving the developers a positive boost. Part of this culture is a feeling of freedom to admit mistakes and shortcomings, and seek team assistance to overcome this. I would suggest that problems take up the most time in a meeting, rather than successes, which are probably noted with approval and then the meeting moves on.
                 
                The opposite situation is one that is unfottunately more prevalent, and that is a management culture of control, discipline, blame, where it is just not a good idea to admit mistakes or problems in front of the managers - especially if some of those problems arise because of the actions and decisions of those same managers. I have experienced this 'toxic' environment and learned quite soon to shutup when a particular manager was there mainly to note the shortcomings of everyone, rather than to become aware of their successes.
                 
                However, one way or the other, the fact is that the Daily Standup is regulated by certain very sensible rules. Keep it short, stand and don't sit, address three questions honestly and quickly exchange the necessary information. Follow up any necessary points with off-line discussion. So, where do the managers really fit in here? They don't!
                 
                Regards,
                Roy Morien 
                 

                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                From: luke.visser@...
                Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2009 00:41:21 +0000
                Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: How many chickens is too many?

                Wow, what an intriguing discussion. I liked the comment earlier regarding only getting one perspective. So, I thought I'd add mine, from the chicken's perspective. Actually I think the metaphor is crap because my stake (as a supposed chicken) is pretty high too.

                The ratio of managers to team members can range from 1:2 to 1:5 in the team standups we have here. We (the team members) actively encourage managers to come along to our morning standups. They love the fact that their lives (at work) are taken an interest in by the people that "manage" them.

                You'd be surprised how much a CEO/MD actually has a stake in your project. Especially if the money for the project is coming directly from his/her pocket. Kind of makes the chicken/pig analogy mute.

                I think when you don't want to have management there you have issues you should deal with internally. You may not of course, but my experience suggests that in teams like that you do.

                Lack of transparency. You're saying things that you don't want managers to hear (rightly or wrongly). That's because by the time it's got to management it's been "adjusted" for their ears. We want our managers to know what's going on, we want them to understand the intricacies, wins and losses. We want them to know based on reality not heresay. As a manager, I want to know too. Transparency should be encouraged and any mechanism put in place to stifle it is causing your organisation problems.

                Intimidation. Notice this one all the time. Lots of people are intimidated in direct proportion to the level of the manager. It's silly, not needed and unhelpful. But ... it's human. If you have a manager that likes intimidating then talk to him/her about it. Work never gets done better by intimidation. If engineers are intimidated by managers, sit down and talk with them, find out why and look to solving it.

                Road Blocks. It's amazing how much easier it is for a manager to get rid of road blocks when an engineer/developer might spend considerable time grumbling and running into brick walls. If "road block" identification is part of your standup (and it should be) then having managers there is really useful.

                There's probably others but they're the obvious ones to me that I've seen over time. Managers are people too, have as many foibles and nuances as everyone else. For the most part they want to help and ensure projects work well too. Don't exclude them from your projects, they can be very useful allies.

                Oh, forgot this one. Crap Managers. That one is much, much harder to deal with :-). Yep, might mean a quite coffee discussion between a senior member (or the most diplomatic one) with the manager to determine his/her motivations for attending.

                Luke

                --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, "Whitten, Richard" <richard.whitten@ ...> wrote:
                >
                > I have banned all managers from my daily Scrum meetings - for the reason
                > you outlined below.
                >
                >
                >
                > Rich
                >
                >
                >
                > From: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
                > [mailto:scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of SJPlante
                > Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 7:00 AM
                > To: scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com
                > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] How many chickens is too many?
                >
                >
                >
                > We've run into a situation where some team members feel that there are
                > too many managers attending the daily scrum, and because of that they
                > feel very uncomfortable giving their status. A typical team will have
                > five or six members and sometimes we'll have four or five managers
                > attend the scrum (they are not allowed to speak). Some managers have
                > their arguments as to why they feel they need to be there, arguments
                > that I totally disagree with. So I'm curious as to what a daily scrum
                > looks like at other companies. Other than product owner, scrum master,
                > and team members, who else shows up to your daily scrum?
                >
                > Thanks,
                > Jason
                >




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              • Tapio Kulmala
                Hello Roy. If a developer brings out an impediment, one of the chickens/managers could know how to remove that impediment right away. It could make the scrum
                Message 7 of 19 , Mar 13, 2009
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                  Hello Roy.

                  If a developer brings out an impediment, one of the chickens/managers could know how to remove that impediment right away. It could make the scrum master's life a lot easier.

                  Tapio



                  On Fri, Mar 13, 2009 at 5:40 AM, Roy Morien <roymorien@...> wrote:

                  However, one way or the other, the fact is that the Daily Standup is regulated by certain very sensible rules. Keep it short, stand and don't sit, address three questions honestly and quickly exchange the necessary information. Follow up any necessary points with off-line discussion. So, where do the managers really fit in here? They don't


                • Roy Morien
                  That is why the Product Owner should be there, not a variety of managers. The situation that you describe has the potential to cause confusion, where the
                  Message 8 of 19 , Mar 13, 2009
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                    That is why the Product Owner should be there, not a variety of managers. The situation that you describe has the potential to cause confusion, where the developers may start to feel that they have many masters who may or may not agree with each other.
                     
                    But so much depends on the managerial culture, the acceptance of and support of Scrum by managers, etc.
                     
                    Regards,
                    Roy Morien
                     

                    To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                    From: tapiokulmala@...
                    Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2009 10:25:39 +0200
                    Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: How many chickens is too many?

                    Hello Roy.

                    If a developer brings out an impediment, one of the chickens/managers could know how to remove that impediment right away. It could make the scrum master's life a lot easier.

                    Tapio



                    On Fri, Mar 13, 2009 at 5:40 AM, Roy Morien <roymorien@hotmail. com> wrote:

                    However, one way or the other, the fact is that the Daily Standup is regulated by certain very sensible rules. Keep it short, stand and don't sit, address three questions honestly and quickly exchange the necessary information. Follow up any necessary points with off-line discussion. So, where do the managers really fit in here? They don't





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                  • Ron Jeffries
                    ... I ve probably done such things, but in the end, the relationship between team and management cannot prosper unless we work toward transparency. This would
                    Message 9 of 19 , Mar 13, 2009
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                      Hello, Roy. On Thursday, March 12, 2009, at 2:14:56 PM, you wrote:

                      > Maybe a little subterfuge is neccesary. Pretend to have the daily
                      > Scrum and make it fast and efficient ... 15 minutes max. Then go
                      > somewhere else and have a real one, sans managers :) Maybe have
                      > yesterday's Daily Scrum this morning, but don't tell the managers.

                      I've probably done such things, but in the end, the relationship
                      between team and management cannot prosper unless we work toward
                      transparency. This would be a step away from transparency in my
                      opinion, and as such a very bad precedent.

                      Ron Jeffries
                      www.XProgramming.com
                      www.xprogramming.com/blog
                      Attend our CSM Plus Course!
                      http://hendricksonxp.com/index.php?option=com_eventlist&Itemid=28
                      If there's only one answer, then this must not be a very interesting topic.
                    • Roy Morien
                      I agree entirely, Ron, and my suggestion was not totally serious ... but unfortunately there are some managers who just cannot control themselves, and it is
                      Message 10 of 19 , Mar 13, 2009
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                        I agree entirely, Ron, and my suggestion was not totally serious ... but unfortunately there are some managers who just cannot control themselves, and it is virtually impossible to be transparent with them. Any admission of a problem or a mistake made, or similar admission, is just what such a manager is looking for to allow him (or her) to assert their power and authority. Subterfuge is sometimes a survival tactic.
                         
                        Regards,
                        Roy Morien
                         

                        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                        From: ronjeffries@...
                        Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2009 07:12:18 -0400
                        Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] How many chickens is too many?

                        Hello, Roy. On Thursday, March 12, 2009, at 2:14:56 PM, you wrote:

                        > Maybe a little subterfuge is neccesary. Pretend to have the daily
                        > Scrum and make it fast and efficient ... 15 minutes max. Then go
                        > somewhere else and have a real one, sans managers :) Maybe have
                        > yesterday's Daily Scrum this morning, but don't tell the managers.

                        I've probably done such things, but in the end, the relationship
                        between team and management cannot prosper unless we work toward
                        transparency. This would be a step away from transparency in my
                        opinion, and as such a very bad precedent.

                        Ron Jeffries
                        www.XProgramming. com
                        www.xprogramming. com/blog
                        Attend our CSM Plus Course!
                        http://hendricksonx p.com/index. php?option= com_eventlist& Itemid=28
                        If there's only one answer, then this must not be a very interesting topic.




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                      • Ron Jeffries
                        ... It can be. I find survival tactics to be a poor refuge, but in tough times what can anyone do? And some people aren t as crazy as I am. What I choose to
                        Message 11 of 19 , Mar 13, 2009
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                          Hello, Roy. On Friday, March 13, 2009, at 7:32:23 AM, you wrote:

                          > I agree entirely, Ron, and my suggestion was not totally serious
                          > ... but unfortunately there are some managers who just cannot
                          > control themselves, and it is virtually impossible to be
                          > transparent with them. Any admission of a problem or a mistake
                          > made, or similar admission, is just what such a manager is looking
                          > for to allow him (or her) to assert their power and authority.
                          > Subterfuge is sometimes a survival tactic.

                          It can be. I find survival tactics to be a poor refuge, but in tough
                          times what can anyone do? And some people aren't as crazy as I am.

                          What I choose to believe -- despite its obvious untruth -- is that
                          by being transparent with such a manager, and jawboning him
                          mercilessly, I can bring him around to letting the team do their
                          job. I base that on the fact that I've been successful in doing it
                          so often. One reason why I've been successful is that my work has
                          been good ... and it is usually obvious to my management that I
                          value the work more than I do the job, so that the usual threat
                          avenues just don't work on me.

                          Most people, again, aren't that crazy, so they are more likely to
                          drop into survival mode.

                          I think that's tragic, and I cannot recommend it, though I can
                          understand it.

                          Ron Jeffries
                          www.XProgramming.com
                          www.xprogramming.com/blog
                          Attend our CSM Plus Course!
                          http://hendricksonxp.com/index.php?option=com_eventlist&Itemid=28
                          If you're not throwing some gravel once in a while,
                          you're not using the whole road.
                        • Mike Sutton
                          I coach all my teams towards transparency. Having managers or infact anyone else attend the daily scrum as observers is (IMHO) a good thing and if a problem
                          Message 12 of 19 , Mar 13, 2009
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                            I coach all my teams towards transparency. Having managers or infact anyone else attend the daily scrum as observers is (IMHO) a good thing and if a problem arises as a result of doing it - address that issue (it may be that the manager tries to butt in - that indicates they need some level of coaching to understand why that is not appropriate).

                            Enforcing the rules of Scrum makes no sense if you defend the team so much that no one has the opportunity to challenge those rules.

                            my bit for the night.
                            mike.sutton
                            csm.csp.cspo.certified.certifiable.
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