Pragmatic Agile Weblog

Agile software development in real life

Certified Scrum Professional

After CSM certification… my next step… http://edschepis.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/certified-scrum-professional/

Thanks to Funambol Engineering Team that gave me this opportunity: challenging every day my skills and our practices.

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April 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sprint Review meeting is always fun

What are you sinking...

Do you know that feeling when you’re doing right? When the team is working effectively and with passion, focused on releasing value every sprint?

Well, one of these moments is during the Sprint Review meetings (the good ones).

And in order to properly celebrate the well DONE sprint I had the idea to close the review meeting with some nice “agile” messages: funny and interesting at the same time.

So I have started projecting some funny videos on basic agile themes from youtube: short and funny.

Here’s the list of the latest ones by category:

Teamwork:

Communication:

Misc:

Enjoy the show and celebrate your scrum meetings when it is worth to do it!

April 6, 2010 Posted by | Agile, SCRUM | Leave a comment

Scrum?… a formality…

When somebody in the team says that Scrum is like the 12 tasks of Asterix in the following video….

What do you do? What is the best approach to manage the situation?

I’ve just posted the question to the scrumdevelopment Yahoo group and I’ll report here some feedback.

Stay tuned!

March 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yellow and Red Cards: teams like a referee with the Scrum Master

… another idea to improve the interaction between the Scrum Master and the teams…

One of the main goals of the Scrum Master is to help the teams, helping in:

  • applying Scrum and Agile methodologies
  • removing impediments
  • performing good and effective retrospectives
  • in other words… putting mirrors in the software development process

But what happens if the Scrum Master is not really a Master?
The teams:

  • don’t apply Scrum
  • don’t report impediments
  • don’t have good retrospectives with practical action items
  • in other words… don’t improve their way of working

So I had this idea that comes from Soccer rules:
each team has the following 2 cards (yellow and red) and, like the referee in a match, can book with the yellow card or even send off with the red card the Scrum Master.


One rule of Scrum is that the Scrum Master work as a servant leader so if he’s not performing well in this role, he should be fired.

Here are the rules:

  • if the Scrum Master doesn’t help the team for what he is in charge of then the team will show the yellow card
  • if the Scrum Master continues not helping the team after the first yellow card then the team can use the red card and fire the Scrum Master

I think that this approach will help us to work more proactively and better following the road of improvements day by day.

We’re just starting the game and I hope the teams will apply it as an english referee (tipically ignoring small faults but punishing the most serious ones 😉 )

I’ll keep you updated on how it works.

P.S.
After leaving Diego Maradona’s shirt ripped almost to shreds and his ankles lacerated, Claudio Gentile remarked that “football isn’t a game for ballerinas”…. we could say that “Scrum isn’t a game for ballerinas” 😉

February 11, 2010 Posted by | Agile, Funambol, SCRUM | 1 Comment

Certified Scrum Master

Yes, I’m a Certified Scrum Master.

But here I’d like to share with you more than just that I’ve passed the online exam.

I’ve been for three days at the CSM course in Milan with Craig Larman.
He’s a great teacher and professional: the agile/scrum theory that you can learn from books cannot give you the same understanding that he will teach you.
During the three days he shares with you so many practical examples and experiences that you really understand the meaning of Agile and Scrum.

After the course I’ve been totally renewed and with this “force” in me I’ve already been able to improve our implementation of Scrum in Funambol.

The first step I’ve started with is Simplicity: Simplicity is essential (one of the Agile Principles).

I’ll update this pages with the next steps (there are many others in plan).

So… thanks a lot Craig, thanks Francesco Cirillo and XPLabs to have organized the course in Milan.

If you want to learn Scrum and Agile basics this is the course for you… then, as a second step, you’ll be entitled of membership at the Scrum Alliance and you can take the exam for CSM… like I did with 90% of right answers 😉 .

January 30, 2010 Posted by | SCRUM | 1 Comment

Funambol Mobile Open Source: The Book

Funambol Book Cover The new Funambol Mobile Open Source book is out!!!

Really awesome… by Stefano Fornari and reviewers in Funambol.

Here is an introduction to the book:

The book is composed of two parts. The first part will take you through the steps required to fully understand and deploy Funambol to provide PIM synchronization and push email solution to your mobile users. This is done step-by-step, starting from a simple personal usage scenario to a more complex environment that must serve thousands of users. All components of the platform are smoothly introduced and explained, starting from the functionality they provide. The second part of the book is more informative and will assist you in building Funambol extensions. In particular, it contains an easy-to-follow tutorial that will allow you to write a Funambol connector in a few easy steps. If you are looking forward to install and get started with Funambol, this book is for you. You need to have a technical background and be confident with a bit of code tweaking, but not a developer. General server administration skills are assumed and familiarity with Java will be a benefit in places.

Buy your copy from many online stores (Amazon included) and enjoy the Mobile Open Source world.

January 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Brown bag agile lectures

Recently I’ve introduced the concept of Agile Lectures in Funambol (see here)… aka Brown Bag Lectures.

Below you can find the list of the lectures done until now…. a successful initiative in my opinion: 30 minutes every week, informal, cookies, coffee and beverages… not a meeting, more a coffee break (a little brown bag meeting).

Agile Lectures:

01 Sep 2009

  • “The Art of Agile Development” Book- Chapter 6: “Collaborating – Trust”Links:

22 Sep 2009

29 Sep 2009

06 Oct 2009

  • “Agile Estimating and Planning” Book – Chapter 4: “Estimating in Story Points”

… continue…

… maybe we could even do it live online also for external people 😉

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our feedbacks for the Results Day

In November we have been part of a great event here in Italy: the Italian Agile Day.

One of the interesting thing the community has proposed is the “Results Day”: a way to share the experience of practicing the learned lessons from the conference – good and bad news to report.

In our experience we have some good news and I’ll focus on these in this post.

First of all we have learned that shorter iterations could help us a lot. Until now we have worked in 4 weeks iterations and the teams haven’t been so reliable in their commitments as you can see in the following burndown chart (an example from the previous release).

So, also convinced by something heard at the conference we have switched to 2 weeks long iterations… and very soon we have seen the following great results:

  1. user stories are now really small (we didn’t find yet a user story that cannot be split in smaller ones and therefore allow us to include in an iteration so short)
  2. teams are more in control of what they commit and therefore more reliable
  3. due to both the above results, we are starting now to work applying the right iterative development approach

And the burndown chart of one of the iterations of the new release is….

From 50% of completed story points we have now the 90% (I think we’ll always have a 10-20% of uncertainty in commitments but it can be acceptable in my opinion).

That’s all for the good news… in the next post we’ll tell you about what still concern us in our approach to agility…

February 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Iterative development and uncertainty… and the snowman

Jeff Patton in his presentation “Embrace Uncertainty” (see here the video from InfoQ), from the Communitech Agile Event, shows nice slides and interesting concepts I’d like to share with you.

First of all I like the snowman metaphor 😉

Snowman_1Snowman_2

Then I like the way he explains the iterative development:

Incremental Iterative

And, really important, how to make understand the “you’ll get what you get when you get” idea to the product managers, stakeholders and customers?
In other words, how to deal with the uncertainty of knowing what you’ll get in a release coming from to the agile approach of iterative development: you are allowed to remove features if not fitting the iteration and/or the release timeframe, but product managers usually want everything and are not happy about it.

“You cannot build a bus with a missing feature like breaks because of agile adoption!”

Jeff shows some strategies to solve this common issue and I have to admit that I’d like to apply them asap in our environment… pragmatic and agile at the same time: prioritize the goals, don’t choose your solution too early, build up feature quality iteration by iteration.

Here is also a blog post by Jeff about “Why knowing what you want in agile development may be an impediment to getting it“.

Thanks Jeff, I really enjoyed the presentation!

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Agile2008 Conference

Nice collection of links to the best presentations of Agile 2008 Conference:

http://www.notesfromatooluser.com/2008/10/agile-2008-post-roundup.html

Thanks Mark.

October 21, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment