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Re: Is Facebook a Scrum Shop?

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  • jens.meydam
    A few days ago I gave a presentation on this topic. http://www.slideshare.net/jmeydam/facebook-and-scrum Preliminary conclusion: The development process at
    Message 1 of 27 , Jul 8, 2011
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      A few days ago I gave a presentation on this topic.

      http://www.slideshare.net/jmeydam/facebook-and-scrum

      Preliminary conclusion: The development process at Facebook has striking parallels to Scrum as described by Takeuchi and Nonaka. (Parallels to "prescriptive Scrum": not so much.)

      What are your thoughts on this?

      Cheers,

      Jens
    • Mark Levison
      I only just saw this post. On Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 6:33 PM, jens.meydam ... Really that doesn t seem healthy. Can you name these
      Message 2 of 27 , Jul 8, 2011
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        I only just saw this post.

        On Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 6:33 PM, jens.meydam <jens.meydam@...> 

        One point where Facebook is close to Scrum (or common Scrum practice) yet subtly different is their obsession with speed.

        Many Scrum coaches put great emphasis on velocity, that is story points (or whatever unit you prefer) per Sprint. The software is commonly installed in the production environment only after the Sprint review, or even much later, depending on the release cycle.


        Really that doesn't seem healthy. Can you name these coaches so we can help them recover :-) Seriously velocity is only useful as a planning tool, we just 20 minutes in a CSM class discussing all the problems with using it for anything more. If you find Scrum Trainers/Coaches putting more emphasis on velocity please send them here for "re-education" :-) 

        I think its healthy to have focus on delivering value to the customer sooner. All other activities should be subordinated to this. To this end in environments where they're not releasing at the end of every sprint (or more frequently) I post a cumulative flow diagram in the team area that emphasizes the "accepted" work that hasn't been deployed.

        Cheers
        Mark Levison

        MarkMark Levison | Agile Pain Relief Consulting | Certified Scrum Trainer
        Agile Editor @ InfoQ | Blog | Twitter | Office: (613) 862-2538
        Recent Entries:
        Story Slicing How Small is Small Enough, Why use an Agile Coach


        In contrast, in his presentation Robert Johnson, one of the Directors of Engineering, emphasizes fast cycle time in order to get fast feedback. At Facebook, front-end changes are released to production daily (or even several times a day), back-end changes weekly, if I remember correctly. This gives a lot of slots for releasing features and feature changes as soon as they are done. Risky changes and big UI changes like the new profile page require more coordination and planning, obviously.

        There is a slight conflict between these two kinds of "speed" - I get faster cycle time with more slack capacity, but that leads to less than optimal velocity (= throughput).

        Jens



        > What I find even more intriguing, though, is to try to map aspects of their culture to Scrum that, at a first glance, have nothing to do with it.
        >
        > For example, they have "hackathons" at Facebook - all-night coding events where engineers and designers can work on whatever they like. Many of Facebook's features have started as hackathon projects. Zuckerberg is in close touch with the development staff and can react quickly if he sees a promising idea.
        >
        > One way to interprete that part of their culture is that hackathons are a way for Facebook staff to get something on the backlog.
        >
        > Before an idea is proven in code, it is probably not taken seriously. If Facebook staff manage to create a promising prototype, however, Zuckerberg (the Product Owner) may put this on the fast track (prioritize it in the backlog). Hackathons give an opportunity to Facebook staff to create those prototypes.
        >
        > Just as interesting as the parallels to Scrum are the differences. How much value do we attach to rules? Do we, as the Scrum community, define ourselves by the rules of the Scrum Guide or by the dynamics the Scrum patterns are meant to create?


      • jens.meydam
        Hi Mark, ... Thanks for posting your thoughts on this! So I guess we are in agreement here. This emphasis on rapid deployment is not yet quite mainstream,
        Message 3 of 27 , Jul 8, 2011
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          Hi Mark,

          > > Many Scrum coaches put great emphasis on velocity, that is story points (or
          > > whatever unit you prefer) per Sprint. The software is commonly installed in
          > > the production environment only after the Sprint review, or even much later,
          > > depending on the release cycle.
          > Really that doesn't seem healthy. Can you name these coaches so we can help
          > them recover :-) [...]
          > I think its healthy to have focus on delivering value to the customer
          > sooner. All other activities should be subordinated to this. To this end in
          > environments where they're not releasing at the end of every sprint (or more
          > frequently) I post a cumulative flow diagram in the team area that
          > emphasizes the "accepted" work that hasn't been deployed.

          Thanks for posting your thoughts on this!

          So I guess we are in agreement here. This emphasis on rapid deployment is not yet quite mainstream, though, as far as I can see.

          By the way, I got a lot of benefit out of using cumulative flow diagrams myself.

          If anybody is looking for instructions on how to do this, here's a link to a great blog post:

          http://hakanforss.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/cumulative-flow-diagram-how-to-create-one-in-excel-2010/

          Cheers,

          Jens
        • Michael James
          ... +1 (a relative unit). Any time I have participants obsessing over velocity and burndown charts I suspect they are missing the bigger picture. Regarding
          Message 4 of 27 , Jul 8, 2011
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            On Jul 8, 2011, at 1:47 PM, Mark Levison wrote:

            Seriously velocity is only useful as a planning tool, we just 20 minutes in a CSM class discussing all the problems with using it for anything more.

            +1 (a relative unit).  Any time I have participants obsessing over velocity and burndown charts I suspect they are missing the bigger picture.  

            Regarding Facebook, I'm pretty sure everyone knows Scrum is only one way to be agile.

            --mj


          • Ron Jeffries
            ... Well, except for many of the CSTs and the people they train ... :) But what s worse is that people want to be Agile or do Scrum. Being effective would be
            Message 5 of 27 , Jul 8, 2011
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              Hello, Michael. On Friday, July 8, 2011, at 5:21:20 PM, you wrote:

              > Regarding Facebook, I'm pretty sure everyone knows Scrum is only
              > one way to be agile.

              Well, except for many of the CSTs and the people they train ... :)

              But what's worse is that people want to be Agile or do Scrum. Being
              effective would be much better.

              Ron Jeffries
              www.XProgramming.com
              I cannot find my duck.
            • jens.meydam
              ... Still, it is interesting to look for parallels to Scrum. Who knows, we might learn something. :-)
              Message 6 of 27 , Jul 8, 2011
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                > Regarding Facebook, I'm pretty sure everyone knows Scrum is only one way to be agile.

                Still, it is interesting to look for parallels to Scrum.

                Who knows, we might learn something. :-)
              • jens.meydam
                Hi Ron, ... Which is why I find it a promising approach to look at really successful shops and to try to understand how they work. Cheers, Jens
                Message 7 of 27 , Jul 8, 2011
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                  Hi Ron,

                  > But what's worse is that people want to be Agile or do Scrum. Being
                  > effective would be much better.

                  Which is why I find it a promising approach to look at really successful shops and to try to understand how they work.

                  Cheers,

                  Jens
                • Mark Levison
                  ... Its funny I opened a CSM training 3 days ago with this sentence: All that matters is that you deliver value with high quality to customer frequently and
                  Message 8 of 27 , Jul 8, 2011
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                    On Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 5:33 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                     

                    Hello, Michael. On Friday, July 8, 2011, at 5:21:20 PM, you wrote:

                    > Regarding Facebook, I'm pretty sure everyone knows Scrum is only
                    > one way to be agile.

                    Well, except for many of the CSTs and the people they train ... :)

                    But what's worse is that people want to be Agile or do Scrum. Being
                    effective would be much better.

                    Its funny I opened a CSM training 3 days ago with this sentence: "All that matters is that you deliver value with high quality to customer frequently and seek to improve". I suggested that one sentence (ok a run on sentence) got the core of it across and now they should ready.  

                    Cheers
                    Mark Levison

                    MarkMark Levison | Agile Pain Relief Consulting | Certified Scrum Trainer
                    Agile Editor @ InfoQ | Blog | Twitter | Office: (613) 862-2538
                    Recent Entries:
                    Story Slicing How Small is Small Enough, Why use an Agile Coach


                    Ron Jeffries
                    www.XProgramming.com
                    I cannot find my duck.


                  • Bachan Anand
                    Very interested in knowing who those CSTs . -Bachan Believes that people are essentially good.
                    Message 9 of 27 , Jul 8, 2011
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                      Very interested in knowing who those CSTs . 

                      -Bachan 

                      Believes that people are essentially good.

                      On Jul 8, 2011, at 2:33 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

                       

                      Hello, Michael. On Friday, July 8, 2011, at 5:21:20 PM, you wrote:

                      > Regarding Facebook, I'm pretty sure everyone knows Scrum is only
                      > one way to be agile.

                      Well, except for many of the CSTs and the people they train ... :)

                      But what's worse is that people want to be Agile or do Scrum. Being
                      effective would be much better.

                      Ron Jeffries
                      www.XProgramming.com
                      I cannot find my duck.

                    • jens.meydam
                      A bit off-topic, but have a look at those charts by Kent Beck (currently working for Facebook, by the way): Frequent deployment is still far from being
                      Message 10 of 27 , Jul 9, 2011
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                        A bit off-topic, but have a look at those charts by Kent Beck (currently working for Facebook, by the way): Frequent deployment is still far from being mainstream.

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIkUWG5ACFY&feature=youtu.be
                      • Ron Jeffries
                        Hello, Bachan. On Saturday, July 9, 2011, at 2:08:22 AM, you ... Mere sarcasm, Bachan. You may rest easy. Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com Hope is not a
                        Message 11 of 27 , Jul 9, 2011
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                          Hello, Bachan. On Saturday, July 9, 2011, at 2:08:22 AM, you
                          wrote:

                          > Very interested in knowing who those CSTs .

                          Mere sarcasm, Bachan. You may rest easy.

                          Ron Jeffries
                          www.XProgramming.com
                          Hope is not a strategy. -- Michael Henos
                        • Michael James
                          ... Ron, I still haven t met any CSTs who claim Scrum is the only way to be agile, or that agility is more important than effectiveness. If you haven t
                          Message 12 of 27 , Jul 11, 2011
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                            On Jul 9, 2011, at 4:57 AM, Ron Jeffries wrote:

                            > Hello, Bachan. On Saturday, July 9, 2011, at 2:08:22 AM, you
                            > wrote:
                            >
                            > > Very interested in knowing who those CSTs .
                            >
                            > Mere sarcasm, Bachan. You may rest easy.

                            Ron, I still haven't met any CSTs who claim Scrum is the only way to be agile, or that agility is more important than effectiveness. If you haven't either, it would be gracious of you to lay off the unkind words.

                            --mj
                          • Craig Davidson
                            Hi Jens, Interesting conclusion, do you see many parallels between the NNPDG and K&J Scrum? Cheers, Craig
                            Message 13 of 27 , Jul 11, 2011
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                              Hi Jens,

                              Interesting conclusion, do you see many parallels between the NNPDG and K&J Scrum?

                              Cheers,

                              Craig


                              On 8 July 2011 21:37, jens.meydam <jens.meydam@...> wrote:
                               

                              A few days ago I gave a presentation on this topic.

                              http://www.slideshare.net/jmeydam/facebook-and-scrum

                              Preliminary conclusion: The development process at Facebook has striking parallels to Scrum as described by Takeuchi and Nonaka. (Parallels to "prescriptive Scrum": not so much.)

                              What are your thoughts on this?

                              Cheers,

                              Jens


                            • Ron Jeffries
                              Hello, Michael. On Monday, July 11, 2011, at 2:53:28 AM, you ... It would be, yes. Thanks for the observation. I do wonder, though, what causes so many people
                              Message 14 of 27 , Jul 11, 2011
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                                Hello, Michael. On Monday, July 11, 2011, at 2:53:28 AM, you
                                wrote:

                                > Ron, I still haven't met any CSTs who claim Scrum is the only way
                                > to be agile, or that agility is more important than effectiveness.
                                > If you haven't either, it would be gracious of you to lay off the unkind words.

                                It would be, yes. Thanks for the observation.

                                I do wonder, though, what causes so many people to believe what none
                                of us are teaching. I really do wonder.

                                Ron Jeffries
                                www.XProgramming.com
                                I'm giving the best advice I have. You get to decide whether it's true for you.
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