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Re: How important is a ScrumMaster?

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  • Joseph Little
    Timothy, Thanks. Sounds very real to me. Interesting insights. Regards, Joe ... taught) ... development ... ten ... development (I ... (customer), ... chart
    Message 1 of 14 , Aug 26, 2005
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      Timothy,

      Thanks. Sounds very real to me. Interesting insights.

      Regards, Joe


      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Timothy Byrd"
      <timbyrd@p...> wrote:
      >
      > It was at a previous company that I've had my closest (self-
      taught)
      > approach to Scrum, so far. We were doing a special round of
      development
      > and trying out MSF, the methodology Microsoft was touting about
      ten
      > years ago.
      >
      > We were supposed to have a number of roles on the team:
      development (I
      > was the dev lead), test, documentation, product management
      (customer),
      > and program management. This last, program management, was quite
      > analogous to a ScrumMaster, being a kind of expeditor, among other
      > things. ("Responsibilty, but no authority. Tools are a time
      chart and
      > a barbecue.")
      >
      > Unfortunately, things started to fall apart. Our program manager
      > (ScrumMaster), had to make a number of trips to Europe, and was
      only in
      > the country perhaps one week in three, and even then had to spend
      time
      > preparing for upcoming trips. The test manager was immersed in
      creating
      > the Grand Unified Field Theory of Test, and sucked off 80% of our
      test
      > person's time. The product manager (our customer), happened to be
      a VP
      > who "got busy" and became unavailable much of the time.
      >
      > I kind of took over the team and started daily meetings at
      11:15am.
      > (Our company culture included an incredibly strong imperative for
      lunch
      > at 11:30, so I was guaranteed the meeting would not run over 15
      > minutes.) Unconsious of Scrum, we were doing the questions
      three. We
      > started making progress, but knew we were playing catch-up.
      >
      > There was an all hands meeting. The director of engineering took
      me to
      > task for being behind.
      >
      > "Then give me a complete team!"
      >
      > "I don't want to hear excuses!"
      >
      > "Coach! We've got five players on the field, the other team has
      eleven,
      > we're getting beat up, and you don't want to hear excuses?!?"
      >
      > Tension.
      >
      > At this moment, Randy, a developer/manager who was considered
      golden
      > throughout the company said "If we're really going to try out MSF,
      we
      > ought to fill all the roles. How about if I take over as the
      program
      > manager?"
      >
      > * * *
      >
      > Later, Randy told me "I was surprised. Being a program manager
      > [ScrumMaster] is a full time job."
      >
      > By the way, that release was considered one of our best ever.
      >
      > * * *
      >
      > What might I get from this?
      >
      > - Scrum isn't a magical/mystical methodology. It's something a
      sensible
      > person might do under pressure. (Doesn't Beck describe most of
      the XP
      > practices that way? As things that people have done when they
      were
      > under pressure to make things work? Like pair programming - when
      it's
      > vital to track down a bug, setting two developers down at a
      machine
      > makes sense. XP just says, "what if we pretended that the whole
      > software development process was vital to the company?")
      >
      > - It's easy to minimise the role of the ScrumMaster.
      >
      > - Having some support from above is important.
      >
      >
      > -- Timothy
      > (still looking)
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