My focus is on making software, coaching Agile/Scrum teams, and being a husband and father--definitely not on blogging--so please do not expect very frequent posts here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Scrum Guide updated to include valuing commitment, focus, openness, respect, courage

Recently, Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland updated the official Scrum Guide to include SchwaberSutherlandJuly2016the Scrum values, which are:

  • Commitment
  • Focus
  • Openness
  • Respect
  • Courage

Sutherland emphasizes that teams adopting Scrum must have a commitment to change and to take your company into the future. Without embracing this change, "you can't get there" and Scrum will be of little value to you.

Schwaber highlighted that focus to work on nothing but the sprint goal will yield the best results; working on other items destroys your productivity. Sutherland noted that doing twice the work in half the time is only possible if the teams focus on the sprint goal alone.

Stakeholders and the team alike need to have a spirit of openness. Sutherland stressed that all happenings must be visible; only when everyone knows what is happening can you best decide how to adjust and how long work will take. We should go so far as not to work on anything that isn't visible.

These are only possible with respect for each other; blame and cover-ups result in poor outcomes. If we respect everyone where they are, they can be empowered to grow and achieve. Sutherland says this applies even to high-pressure cutthroat venture capital-driven startups. Schwaber stresses that respect creates a positive hubbub, a buzz that is charged up with work getting done.

Courage, both to do the right thing and to attempt hard things, is necessary because change is risky. Leaders have a big role to encourage taking wise risks and accepting the downside that sometimes results. Schwaber emphasizes that Scrum provides a safety net--you will never waste more than a sprint's worth of work.

Scrum has the power to make your work life more fun, more balanced, and happier.

View the Scrum Guide: - The newest changes are near the beginning, under "Scrum Values".

Friday, February 12, 2016

A compact layout bookmarklet for Azure DevOps work items

UPDATE 2024-01: Now works for the task board better after 2023 UI changes from Microsoft.

Do you want your UI controls and whitespace cruft taking up half your browser window, like the default view in the first image?  Wouldn’t you like your Azure DevOps backlog to instead show as much info as possible, as on the second image below?

You can!  Drag this to your bookmark bar (Firefox or Chrome): AzDO Compact for Azure DevOps work items/backlogs

You can!  Drag this to your bookmark bar (Firefox or Chrome):  AxDO Compact for Azure DevOps work items/backlogs

Then, whenever you have TFS web work items or task board open and you want to see more content and less cruft, click it.  Be sure to use "full screen view" in TFS and in your browser as desired.
I’ve also made the 2015 version available as a gist.

[Bookmarklets are tiny programs stored inside bookmarks or links. Similar to (but simpler than) add-ons and extensions, they add new tools to your web browser. Bookmarklets are shared on web pages as web links. To add a bookmarklet to your browser, right click on its link and choose the bookmark option, or drag it to your bookmark bar. To use it, simply click on the new bookmark you added.]

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Basic Scrummaster Duties checklist

I really like Michael James's Scrum Master's Checklist to give us an idea of the work a Scrum Master can do to make their team the best.  However, it doesn't really show the basics of being a Scrum Master, so the following should help with that.

Scrum Master duties list:
  • Nudge, steer, and help the team to do all Scrum events and activities
  • Help the product owner and team in any way to be more productive
  • Remember the Agile values
Before daily scrum:
  • Ensure the team has updated the hours remaining on all tasks.
  • Update and post the burndown chart.
During daily scrum:
  • Note all impediments reported by the team for later aggressive follow-up
  • Steer the team to stick to short answers to the three questions; steer them away from discussing problems or details during the scrum (Often say "this sounds like an important discussion; can we have it after the scrum?")
After daily scrum:
  • Help team to overcome impediments as a top priority
  • Ensure relevant team members meet to overcome impediments before doing regular work
  • Keep outside distractions away from the team
  • Answer (or research) all Scrum questions the team has
Anytime, to prepare for sprint planning:
  • Gather info on vacation/unavailable time for all team members in the next sprint
  • Ensure (help) the Product Owner refines and reorders the backlog
  • Ensure the product owner prepares a sprint goal
  • Schedule the next sprint planning
  • Schedule the sprint review; arrange for stakeholders to attend it.
  • If the stakeholders can't attend the Sprint Review, reschedule it.
  • Ensure the team will prepare a demonstration for the sprint review.  Ensure it is appropriate
  • Prepare any other charts or information radiators helpful for planning, such as a velocity trend chart
  • Schedule a backlog estimation/refinement meeting as required
In sprint planning:
  • Facilitate the entire meeting; take team through all parts
  • Take notes from the retrospective
  • Announce velocity in story points from last sprint
  • Announce team capacity in hours for the next sprint (accommodating vacations, etc)
  • Post/arrange the product backlog for sprint backlog selection
  • Keep the team on track for breakdown into tasks; write/post task cards if necessary
  • Ensure a reality check of task hours vs. capacity happens and adjustments made
After sprint planning:
  • Create beginning burndown chart, task board, and any other information radiators
  • Demand that the team take any certain action
  • Assign work or take unilateral action to change a practice
  • Neglect Scrum Master duties in favor of "regular work"
Once you have the above under control, consider additional duties from the Scrum Master's Checklist.