Scrum please!

by Arwold Koelewijn on April 20, 2018

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a Scrum Master training, given by Zilverline. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first about Scrum. I am a trained Prince2 Practitioner, so I figured, this is probably “just old wine in new bags”, as we say in Holland.

And in a way that is the case of course. But still, the principles of Scrum are very attractive. Especially since I realized I was already working very agile. This has mainly to do with the environment and product I work with. In the environment I am a trusted resource, that has quite a lot of freedom to put product increments in production. The product owner is “a man with a vision” who can look at the bigger picture. And the product is BI, where quick prototyping is needed to demonstrate the potential of a new report, and implementation time from idea to product can be fast.

What I liked about Scrum is the limitation of overhead. 4 meetings, 3 roles, 2 lists. Compared to Prince2 that is a lot less overhead to maintain. The roles are very limited and clear. The role of the Product owner makes a lot of sense, especially since this role is carried by one person.

The Planning Poker was something I like very much as well. I think this can be a good teambuilding exercise, and also, it focuses on the principle that estimating is very difficult, and should be regarded as an exercise that should not be the main goal.

It reminds me of a quote from Terry Pratchett, Going Postal:
“Mr. Pony struggled manfully with the engineer’s permanent dread of having to commit himself to anything, and managed, “Well, if we don’t lose too many staff, and the winter isn’t too bad, but of course there’s always—”

So in that sense, if you do not have to commit completely, but just go for an order of magnitude, you get quickly a good enough estimation of the workload. And you can start the work!

In my current project, we could do with a bit more structure and additional teambuilding is necessary to tear down the artificial organizational boundaries. I am convinced Scrum will be helpful in achieving that goal.

I passed the test, so I can now call myself Scrum Master. I do feel like a sage!

To conclude: Scrum please!

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