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Re: ScrumMaster only one trying to do Scrum

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  • dgbabicz
    My 2 cents: First off, in saying the PO is OK with all of these things...are the C-level folks OK with it? More likely, they re not aware of it. Are
    Message 1 of 19 , Apr 1, 2009
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      My 2 cents:

      First off, in saying the PO is "OK" with all of these things...are the C-level folks OK with it? More likely, they're not aware of it. Are shippable product increments being released after each Sprint? If not, the consequences of not producing will come home to roost, sooner or later.

      I'll break down the problems you note and answer each:

      "Do they no longer need retrospectives?  Do they no longer need a ScrumMaster?"
      ---IF they are going to do Scrum, they need both. Scrum has a minimum of roles/artifacts/ceremonies, and they need to be respected to be doing Scrum. Within that, though, the team can self-norm.

      "I see they have distractions...They work on stuff outside the project"
      ---These can be examples of things that effect your velocity. In my opinion, they probably should be impediments, but it seems this team and PO don't see them as keeping them from completing work, but more as part of the territory. As such, you should remove that time from your planning as overhead to reduce the amount of "productive" time the team will commit to for a sprint.

      "they don't finish most of the stories in an iteration...but 80% of the stories are 80-90% done"
      ---Depends on the definition of "done" you're using. Is "done" shippable and releasable? If so, what's the 10-20% of "done" they're not completing? I think you either need to adjust the definition of "done" or get clear with the PO about the ramifications of not releasing product.

      "they pull in other stories mid iteration w/o first talking to the rest of the team and sometimes the PO and yes...they and PO are all comfortable with that too"
      ---Are these different than the other things you mention them pulling in above? If so, this is a clear problem if it's being done unilaterally by one team member, because it's changing what the TEAM is committed to. I understand the PO is OK with it, but this one you have to curb.

      Having said all that, I agree with what others have posted that you can't force the change as ScrumMaster. What's the old saying about how many psychologists it takes to change a lightbulb? One, but the lightbulb has to *want* to change. The same can be said of organizations adopting Scrum, or any organizational change. Also, people will do more to avoid pain than they ever will to gain pleasure. If the team is not shipping product, and there are no consequences, you are fighting an uphill battle against the organizational culture.

      Have a heart to heart (NON-confrontational!) with the PO. See if the PO, and the team, can sign on to doing one light Sprint following the framework. Benchmark compare the success to what you've been seeing previously. If you can show them that they can produce more, and their daily experience can be better, you can get them to sign on to really doing Scrum.
    • Kerrie Valdiviezo
      Ok, I admit, enforce was too strong of a word for what a ScrumMaster does.. An earlier version of this team did in fact do Scrum, then about 6 months ago a
      Message 2 of 19 , Apr 1, 2009
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        Ok, I admit, "enforce" was too strong of a word for what a ScrumMaster does.

        An earlier version of this team did in fact do Scrum, then about 6 months ago a new "Senior" Developer joined the team...and he arrived with bad habits and a "the rules don't apply to me" attitude.  There is no doubt that this new member is a smart and talented developer, the team respects him and looks up to him.  Which is great...however...what he says goes...they don't question him or argue with him on any subject and he is very satisfied with the team and the work they do....so that's what they think too. 

        Regarding our 'shippable product'...Let's say we gave the PO an estimate for a project, based on our velocity...of June 1st.  Our sprints are 2 weeks long....the team will fail every iteration between now and the last iteration...for that last iteration...they will succeed and the project will go out as planned.  This is what is keeping the PO and the end users happy. 

        It seems that everyone on the 'Stepford' team is happy, the PO is happy...however, as Xavier pointed out "it's less productive than it could be, and you are more at risk of not having a working product when your organization needs it than you could be"
         

        --- On Wed, 4/1/09, dgbabicz <davidbabicz@...> wrote:
        From: dgbabicz <davidbabicz@...>
        Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: ScrumMaster only one trying to do Scrum
        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 6:59 AM

        My 2 cents:

        First off, in saying the PO is "OK" with all of these things...are the C-level folks OK with it? More likely, they're not aware of it. Are shippable product increments being released after each Sprint? If not, the consequences of not producing will come home to roost, sooner or later.

        I'll break down the problems you note and answer each:

        "Do they no longer need retrospectives?  Do they no longer need a ScrumMaster? "
        ---IF they are going to do Scrum, they need both. Scrum has a minimum of roles/artifacts/ ceremonies, and they need to be respected to be doing Scrum. Within that, though, the team can self-norm.

        "I see they have distractions. ..They work on stuff outside the project"
        ---These can be examples of things that effect your velocity. In my opinion, they probably should be impediments, but it seems this team and PO don't see them as keeping them from completing work, but more as part of the territory. As such, you should remove that time from your planning as overhead to reduce the amount of "productive" time the team will commit to for a sprint.

        "they don't finish most of the stories in an iteration... but 80% of the stories are 80-90% done"
        ---Depends on the definition of "done" you're using. Is "done" shippable and releasable? If so, what's the 10-20% of "done" they're not completing? I think you either need to adjust the definition of "done" or get clear with the PO about the ramifications of not releasing product.

        "they pull in other stories mid iteration w/o first talking to the rest of the team and sometimes the PO and yes...they and PO are all comfortable with that too"
        ---Are these different than the other things you mention them pulling in above? If so, this is a clear problem if it's being done unilaterally by one team member, because it's changing what the TEAM is committed to. I understand the PO is OK with it, but this one you have to curb.

        Having said all that, I agree with what others have posted that you can't force the change as ScrumMaster. What's the old saying about how many psychologists it takes to change a lightbulb? One, but the lightbulb has to *want* to change. The same can be said of organizations adopting Scrum, or any organizational change. Also, people will do more to avoid pain than they ever will to gain pleasure. If the team is not shipping product, and there are no consequences, you are fighting an uphill battle against the organizational culture.

        Have a heart to heart (NON-confrontationa l!) with the PO. See if the PO, and the team, can sign on to doing one light Sprint following the framework. Benchmark compare the success to what you've been seeing previously. If you can show them that they can produce more, and their daily experience can be better, you can get them to sign on to really doing Scrum.


      • Ilja Preuß
        ... Is that a problem? Curious, Ilja
        Message 3 of 19 , Apr 2, 2009
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          2009/4/1 Kerrie Valdiviezo <kerrie_valdiviezo@...>:

          > It seems that everyone on the 'Stepford' team is happy, the PO is
          > happy...however, as Xavier pointed out "it's less productive than it could
          > be, and you are more at risk of not having a working product when your
          > organization needs it than you could be"

          Is that a problem?

          Curious, Ilja
        • Adam Sroka
          Hi Kerrie :-) On Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 10:06 AM, Kerrie Valdiviezo ... What do you suppose would happen if he caught the bird flu and didn t contribute for an
          Message 4 of 19 , Apr 2, 2009
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            Hi Kerrie :-)

            On Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 10:06 AM, Kerrie Valdiviezo
            <kerrie_valdiviezo@...> wrote:
            > Ok, I admit, "enforce" was too strong of a word for what a ScrumMaster does.
            >
            > An earlier version of this team did in fact do Scrum, then about 6 months
            > ago a new "Senior" Developer joined the team...and he arrived with bad
            > habits and a "the rules don't apply to me" attitude.  There is no doubt that
            > this new member is a smart and talented developer, the team respects him and
            > looks up to him.  Which is great...however...what he says goes...they don't
            > question him or argue with him on any subject and he is very satisfied with
            > the team and the work they do....so that's what they think too.
            >

            What do you suppose would happen if he caught the bird flu and didn't
            contribute for an iteration or two? Does the rest of the team know
            what is going on? Do they feel confident that they could produce
            without his guidance?

            > Regarding our 'shippable product'...Let's say we gave the PO an estimate for
            > a project, based on our velocity...of June 1st.  Our sprints are 2 weeks
            > long....the team will fail every iteration between now and the last
            > iteration...for that last iteration...they will succeed and the project will
            > go out as planned.  This is what is keeping the PO and the end users happy.
            >

            Yuck! This only works if the requirements are well known in advance
            and don't change very much. How boring. What happens when something
            new comes along that isn't well understood? What if the priorities
            change midstream?

            > It seems that everyone on the 'Stepford' team is happy, the PO is
            > happy...however, as Xavier pointed out "it's less productive than it could
            > be, and you are more at risk of not having a working product when your
            > organization needs it than you could be"
            >

            If a tree falls in the forest and no one cares does it matter if it
            makes a sound? In this economy if everyone is happy with
            underproduction then count your blessings. I don't envy you, though.
            How boring.
          • Ilja Preuß
            Hi Adam, ... Why boring? Just because the team doesn t feel the need to become more productive, doesn t mean that it has to be boring. Just because they won t
            Message 5 of 19 , Apr 2, 2009
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              Hi Adam,

              > If a tree falls in the forest and no one cares does it matter if it
              > makes a sound? In this economy if everyone is happy with
              > underproduction then count your blessings. I don't envy you, though.
              > How boring.

              Why boring? Just because the team doesn't feel the need to become more
              productive, doesn't mean that it has to be boring. Just because they
              won't accept our idea of how they should change doesn't mean that they
              wouldn't welcome other interesting and exciting changes.
              http://radio.javaranch.com/ilja/2008/07/19/1216448097868.html

              Take it as an opportunity to try something totally different. Boring?
              Only if you choose to!

              Cheers, Ilja
            • Adam Sroka
              ... Well, in and of itself it sounds boring. Perhaps our preconceptions are different. I have worked with the OP directly, so perhaps I am reading something
              Message 6 of 19 , Apr 2, 2009
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                On Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 6:55 AM, Ilja Preuß <iljapreuss@...> wrote:
                > Hi Adam,
                >
                >> If a tree falls in the forest and no one cares does it matter if it
                >> makes a sound? In this economy if everyone is happy with
                >> underproduction then count your blessings. I don't envy you, though.
                >> How boring.
                >
                > Why boring? Just because the team doesn't feel the need to become more
                > productive, doesn't mean that it has to be boring. Just because they
                > won't accept our idea of how they should change doesn't mean that they
                > wouldn't welcome other interesting and exciting changes.
                > http://radio.javaranch.com/ilja/2008/07/19/1216448097868.html
                >
                > Take it as an opportunity to try something totally different. Boring?
                > Only if you choose to!
                >

                Well, in and of itself it sounds boring. Perhaps our preconceptions
                are different. I have worked with the OP directly, so perhaps I am
                reading something extra into her words. I'm not sure, actually.
              • Adam Sroka
                ... Hi Ilja: I thought about this, and I take your point. Boring was a poor word choice anyway. Here s where my brain is, though: I think that some teams
                Message 7 of 19 , Apr 2, 2009
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                  On Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 6:55 AM, Ilja Preuß <iljapreuss@...> wrote:
                  > Hi Adam,
                  >
                  >> If a tree falls in the forest and no one cares does it matter if it
                  >> makes a sound? In this economy if everyone is happy with
                  >> underproduction then count your blessings. I don't envy you, though.
                  >> How boring.
                  >
                  > Why boring? Just because the team doesn't feel the need to become more
                  > productive, doesn't mean that it has to be boring. Just because they
                  > won't accept our idea of how they should change doesn't mean that they
                  > wouldn't welcome other interesting and exciting changes.
                  > http://radio.javaranch.com/ilja/2008/07/19/1216448097868.html
                  >
                  > Take it as an opportunity to try something totally different. Boring?
                  > Only if you choose to!
                  >

                  Hi Ilja:

                  I thought about this, and I take your point. Boring was a poor word
                  choice anyway.

                  Here's where my brain is, though: I think that some teams adopting
                  Agile get stuck because they retain a culture that accepts mediocrity.
                  It is quite possible to be going through the motions of doing Scrum -
                  we write stories, we estimate them, we have meetings every couple of
                  weeks where we talk about what we did and what we will do, etc. -
                  without having Agile values.

                  At a certain point, though, the values become important. There is a
                  big difference between people who say, "We delivered something that
                  resembles what was asked for, that is good enough," and people who are
                  constantly striving to make things better. The difference is in the
                  values that we embrace. The values in Agile are clearly designed for a
                  mindset that is self-reflective and constantly striving to improve. It
                  is inclusive, not exclusive - Agile teams should have neither heroes
                  nor bystanders.

                  IMHO, when you reach the point where you are basically doing the
                  things that Scrum asks you to do, but things still don't seem "quite
                  right," and they aren't getting any better, then it is time to examine
                  your values and see if they look like these ones:
                  http://agilemanifesto.org/ or these:
                  http://manifesto.softwarecraftsmanship.org/ or these:
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_Programming#XP_values Things
                  won't get any better until you identify all the individuals on your
                  team whose values are not compatible with those and give them a swift
                  kick out the door.
                • dgbabicz
                  I think we ve found the issue. If your delivery date (go live?) is in June, assuming we re at April 1, why 2 week iterations? And why not deliver incremental,
                  Message 8 of 19 , Apr 3, 2009
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                    I think we've found the issue.

                    If your delivery date (go live?) is in June, assuming we're at April 1, why 2 week iterations? And why not deliver incremental, shippable product every 30 days?

                    I would get together with the PO, and reprioritize the product backlog so there's something that could be picked off and worked on, start to finish, in a 30 day sprint. Extend from 2 weeks to 30 days, and have the team and PO agree to try to finish that piece in that sprint. That way, your PO has a better chance of seeing value in a sprint, and therefore the Scrum framework, because you're giving them somehing tangible, completed, as a work product from that single sprint. And the team will feel that sense of accomplishment. That will be powerful.

                    As far as the rogue team member, what is he/she not participating in? Daily standups, something else? Need some more detail here.

                    --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Kerrie Valdiviezo <kerrie_valdiviezo@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Ok, I admit, "enforce" was too strong of a word for what a ScrumMaster does..
                    >
                    > An earlier version of this team did in fact do Scrum, then about 6 months ago a new "Senior" Developer joined the team...and he arrived with bad habits and a "the rules don't apply to me" attitude.  There is no doubt that this new member is a smart and talented developer, the team respects him and looks up to him.  Which is great...however...what he says goes...they don't question him or argue with him on any subject and he is very satisfied with the team and the work they do....so that's what they think too. 
                    >
                    > Regarding our 'shippable product'...Let's say we gave the PO an estimate for a project, based on our velocity...of June 1st.  Our sprints are 2 weeks long....the team will fail every iteration between now and the
                    > last iteration...for that last iteration...they will succeed and the project will go out as planned.  This is what is keeping the PO and the end users happy. 
                    >
                    > It seems that everyone on the 'Stepford' team is happy, the PO is happy...however, as Xavier pointed out "it's less productive than it could be, and you are more at risk of not
                    > having a working product when your organization needs it than you could
                    > be"
                    >  
                    >
                    > --- On Wed, 4/1/09, dgbabicz <davidbabicz@...> wrote:
                    > From: dgbabicz <davidbabicz@...>
                    > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: ScrumMaster only one trying to do Scrum
                    > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                    > Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 6:59 AM
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