Self_Organizing_Birds_Flock

Here's a quick exercise to quickly demonstrate the beauty of self organization. 

All you need is a team of people. Any number between 5-30 people works very well with this exercise.

Purpose: The purpose of this exercise is to highlight the power of self organization, compared to managing people; demonstrate that the most important knowledge is within individuals, and mostly hidden from the eye.

Instructions:

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The scrum master has multiple responsibilities. Here are two of them: 

  1. Coach the team, the PO and the organization with scrum.
  2. Facilitate effective ceremonies. 

When you facilitate a great retrospective meeting does it mean you coach the team with scrum? The answer is no. Facilitating and coaching are two different things.

Coaching and facilitating are both widely-used term with various meanings. In this blog post I am focusing on those terms in a work related context. 

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Scrum_Master_Superhero

About two weeks ago I published a blogpost on facilitating better daily standups. I called the blog post “Who’s Responsible for the Daily Standup”, and got the following response from Jim Coplien, the person who inspired inventors of Scrum to have the daily standup in the first place:

The ScrumMaster owns the process. The Daily Scrum is part of the process. if the Development Team is not holding the Daily Scrum the ScrumMaster should intervene and challenge the team to do so. Whether or not the ScrumMaster does so, if the team persists in not holding the daily standup, the ScrumMaster should be fired.

— Jim Coplien (by whom the Daily Scrum came into Scrum)

So to help you choose Scrum Masters that should not be fired, here are my ten tips for your next recruit:

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Scrum_Police_Car

A Scrum Master recently asked me: What should he do if the team members don't want to do the daily standup every day? After all, he told me, the daily stand up should happen every day, shouldn’t it?

Well, first thing’s first. One thing you should know about Scrum is, that if you don’t hold the daily standup at the same time, same place each and every day, the Scrum Police will not pay a visit. There will be no embarrassing scenes of people taken, handcuffed, into the Scrum Police car, no paparazzi photographers will be there, taking mugshots of teammates for the Scrum Culprits Weekly magazine front page. None of that, guaranteed.

More important is to understand - why hold a daily standup in the first place? And why same place, same time?

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Five Important points to mange PBL for 8 teams

The product backlog (PBL) is probably the second most important artifact in any LeSS (Large Scale Scrum) \ Scrum implementation, the only artifact I find more important is the product itself.

In a on-team scrum the Product Backlog is pretty much simple (though not easy) to manage, if you follow the recommendation of having each team take 3-4 PBIs (product backlog items) per sprint, this means that the product owner needs to deal with about 12 fine-grained product backlog items at any given time, not all require full attention.

Why 12 you ask?

  • It is recommended that we have product backlog items refined & ready (AKA groomed) for the next two sprints or so.. Given that we have 4 items in progress, 4 for the next sprint and 4 being refined for the next-next sprint. Total is 12.

Got it? Good :) If not, please feel free to contact in the comments or contact me personally

 

  • So far so good, now let’s scale it to 8 teams. (8 teams) x (12 items) = ~100 items, which is what the LeSS Framework suggests to be the limit of items that one Product Owner can deal with simultaneously. I know it sounds like a lot of items to deal with, but it is totally doable when performing the Product Owner  role as described in the LeSS framework.

 

  • The Large Scale Scrum framework is designed (just like Scrum, mind you) in a way that the Product Owner deals mostly with prioritization and less with clarification, with this description most people agree that 100 Product Backlog Items sounds like a reasonable number.

 

  • Assuming that you work properly, at any given moment there are ~33 items in work which require low to no attention, 33 items ready for the next sprint that requires low attention as well, so most of the work is spent on the remaining 33 items, now what should the PO do with these items?

 

  • Mainly: Prioritize. Given that you have a 40 hour work week and a two week sprint, that gives more than enough time to prioritize 33 items and even get some more stuff done. Capish?

 

For more, follow me on twitter @eladsof    

 

May the force be with you,

Elad Sofer.

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