Posted in My Scrum Notes, Scrum

Scrum Considerations

Delivery of Value

Delivery Logistics

  • How frequent is delivery to the customer?
  • Is there an approval process to get to live
  • How are live releases conducted? Test customers? Downtime?

Sprint Outcome

  • Do the team deliver the sprint goal?
  • Is an increment delivered? (i.e. a ‘done’ potentially releasable step towards the product goal)

Value Focus

  • Does the team deliver what the business most needs?
  • How is ‘most valuable’ decided?
  • How are deliveries verified as achieving value?

Supporting Process Improvements

  • How are the Scrum team continuously improving?
  • Read through recent retrospective notes (if they exist) 
  • What challenges have they recently faced/ overcome?
  • Have there been changes across the organisation?

Previous performance (2)

  • How has this organisation performed in the past? How do people in the organisation think it has performed? 
  • If performance has been good, why has that been the case? 
  • What have been the relative contributions of strategy, structure, systems, talent bases, culture, and politics? 
  • If performance has been poor, why has that been the case? Do the primary issues reside in the organisation’s strategy? Its structure? Its technical capabilities? Its culture? Its politics? 

Scrum Events

Daily Scrum 

  • Does it happen every day at the same time and place?
  • Does the whole team participate? Are there any external people that participate/ observe?
  • Are problems/ impediments surfaced?
  • How are impediments left at the end of the event?
  • Is the Sprint Goal used as an anchor for the conversation?
  • Does someone facilitate the event or keep an eye on the team working agreements?

Sprint Planning

  • Does the PO participate? How do they communicate what is priority?
  • Do all the developers attend and participate?
  • Does it result in a Sprint Backlog and Sprint Goal?
  • Does the whole team believe the plan is achievable?
  • Are any forecasting metrics used, e.g. velocity from story points?

Sprint Review

  • Does this happen after every sprint?
  • (For scaling) Is the Sprint Review for the team only, or is it combined with other teams?
  • Are the right stakeholders in the room? Are there observers who don’t feedback or questions left for those outside the room?
  • Is feedback given and adaptations discussed?
  • What is the format? Is it a working session or a presentation?
  • Are challenges or adaptations during the sprint discussed? Is this done with transparency and safety?
  • Is this event used as a sign off for releases?
  • Is there an inspection of the Product Backlog?
  • Is the Definition of Done used to inspect the increment?
  • Is the increment ‘done’?

Sprint Retrospective

  • Does it result in concrete improvement proposals?
  • Do some proposals get implemented?
  • Does the whole team and the PO participate? Are there other observers either in the meeting or expecting notes afterwards?
  • Is there a nominated facilitator or note taker?
  • Is there an elephant in the room?
  • What are the current improvements/ impediments?
  • Are the team free to experiment? Is innovation celebrated?
  • How do they manage failure?


  • How long is a Sprint?
  • (For scaling) Does sprint start/ end times correlate with other teams? Are they in sync or staggered? 
  • Is Sprint length consistent? How are public holidays handled?
  • Are sprints cancelled? Why and by whom?


Sprint Backlog

  • Where is it? Is it highly visible?
  • Who looks at it?
  • Do the team actually use it, or is it a burden to them?
  • Do external stakeholders use it?
  • Do the team own it?

Product Backlog

  • Where is it? Is it highly visible?
  • Are the PBIs prioritised? How are they prioritised and by whom? Is there a process?
  • Are estimates used?
  • How is the Product Backlog used for forecasting?
  • How are the estimates done?
  • How are the PBIs refined? Who refines them? Are there any team standards as to what refined means?
  • Does the PO understand all of the PBIs and is able to prioritise? Is the backlog bloated with junk?

Definition Done

  • Does one exist?
  • Who wrote it/ owns it?
  • (Scaling) Are there shared standards/ definitions?
  • Does it evolve?


  1. Henrik Kniberg’s checklist
  2. The First 90 days by Michael D. Watkins

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Agile Games
Posted in Scrum

Considerations for a New Organisation


Scrum and Agile Training

  • What training has been partaken by team members and the wider organisation?
  • Are Scrum terms used comfortably across the organisation?
  • What misconceptions are embedded about Scrum or Agile? Are there any sour tastes?
  • What is the want for future training?

Journey to Scrum

  • What efforts have been made to change the organisation? What happened? 
  • Who has been instrumental in shaping this organisation? 
  • What was the decision behind using Scrum?
  • Are there any parts of Scrum that are not comfortable? With who? Why?

Ways to Learn about an Organisation

People to speak to

  • Customers  
  • Suppliers 
  • Distributors 
  • Outside analysts 
  • Frontline R&D and operations (devs) 
  • Sales and procurement 
  • Staff 
  • Integrators 
  • Natural historians (old timers who’ve been around ages) 

Structured methods for learning (1, page 61-2)

Organisational climate and employee satisfaction surveysLearning about culture and moraleManagers at all levels Dependent on the granualrity and how good the survey is/ if the data has been collected and analyses properly
Structured sets of interviews with slices of the organisation or unitIdentifying shared and divergent perceptions of opportunities and problemsAsk vertically/ horizontally through the organisational structureAsk all the same questiosns and look for similarities/ differencesManagers leading groups of people from different functional backgroundsCan be useful at lower levels if the unit is experiencing significant problems
Focus groupsProbing issues that preoccupy key groups of employeesGathering groups together lets you see how they interact and identify who displays leadershipFostering discussion promotes deeper insightManagers of large groups of people who perform a similar functionUseful for senior managers as a way of getting quick insights into the perceptions of key employee constituencies
Analysis of critical past decisionsIlluminating decision-making patterns and sources of power and influence
Who exerted influence at each stage?
Higher-level managers of business units or project groups
Process analysisExamining interactions among departments or functions and assessing the efficiency of a processManagers of units or groups in which the work of multiple functional specialities must be integratedLow level managers as a way of understanding how their groups fit into larger processes
Plant and market toursLearning firsthand from people close to the product. Listen to concerns of staff and customersManagers of business units
Pilot projectsGaining deep insight into technical capabilities, culture, and politics (not the primary purpose of the project)Managers at all levels

Organisational Processes

Examine four aspects (1, page 160)

  • Productivity: Does the process efficiently transform knowledge, materials, and labour into value?
  • Timelines: Does the process deliver the desired value in a timely manner?
  • Reliability: Is the process sufficiently reliable, or does it break down too often?
  • Quality: Does the process deliver value in a way that consistently meets required quality standards (Learning from your team through interviews (page 59))


  1. The First 90 days by Michael D. Watkins

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Which direction?

Product Goal


Posted in Scrum

Scrum Implementation Examples

Scrum in Software Development

FBI (1)

Starting point
  • FBI had paper based document storage systems in 2010 (1, page 2 – 18) 
  • 3 paper copies were needed for everything; one for approval, one to be stored locally, and one to be hand indexed for input into the database

“This method was so antiquated and porous that it was blamed in part for the Bureau’s failure to “connect the dots” that showed various Al Qaeda activists entering the country in the weeks and months before 9/11″

Previous Attempts
  • The Virtual Case File (VCF) system had $170 million and 3 years spent on it but didn’t work and was never used 
  • A further attempt was called Sentinel which was budgeted at $451 million and 4 year timeline
    • One year late $405 million had been spent and it was estimated to need another $350 million and 6-8 years to finish
  • Way people were working for these previous attempts was wrong (waterfall was being used)
Scrum success
  • A proposal was then made to finish the most challenging half of the Sentinel project in a fifth of the time with a tenth of the budget, bringing development in house and reducing the number of developers from 220 to 40
  • The 1,100 requirements were prioritised so that the most valuable would be done first
  • It took 18 months to get the database system deployed, and a further 2 months to deploy it to entire FBI

Scrum not in Software Development

EduScrum (1, page 204-211)

  • Used in a school in the Netherlands, specifically a Chemistry class
  • Students in the class are divided into teams which all have the same goal of learning a new topic
  • The class pull out a Scrum board at the beginning of each lesson with their backlog
  • Each team selects the story pointed tasks it thinks it can get done in that lesson, based on velocity
  • They have a definition of done (and fun) which includes everyone in the team understanding the topic, so they must work as a team regardless of how easy they find the topic
  • Each sprint is 5 lessons, at the end of which there is a test on the topic 
  • They have a retrospective at the end of each lesson to learn how to work better
  • The students are totally self-organising, including setting themselves homework
  • Teacher helps when he spots a blocker, and tests the team randomly if they move something to done that everyone understands
  • By using Scrum not only do the students learn the topic, but also how to work together as a team and use each other’s strengths 
  • The curriculum results for this chemistry teacher have jumped more than 10% in a year by using Scrum and his students track above average for their grades


New United Motor Manufacturing Inc (NUMMI) vs Toyota (1)

  • The NUMMI Plant was closed in 1982 and GM management thought it had the worst workforce in America
  • People drank on the job, didn’t show up
  • People sabotaged the cars (e.g. putting a coke bottle in the door to rattle and annoy customers)
  • Toyota reopened the plant 2 years later with the same workforce and was almost immediately producing high quality cars like they were in Japan
  • Don’t hate the player, hate the game


Car Manufacturing (1, page 98 – 99)

  • From The Machine That Changed the World by Dr James Womack
  • Toyota, Honda, and Nissan (Japanese) spent an average of 16.8 hours making a luxury car with 34 defects per 100 cars
  • Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW (Europe) spent an average of 57 hours to make a car and they had 78.7 defects per 100 vehicles
  • Toyota used Andon cord – when a problem was spotted the production line was halted and the problem fixed so that it wouldn’t occur on any more vehicles
  • Europe had quality checkers at the end to fix the problems

“the German plant was expending more effort to fix the problems it had just created than the Japanese plant required to make a nearly perfect car the first time”


  1. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland

Posted in Scrum

Definition of Done

“everyone must understand what “Done” means” (1)


Value of Definition of Done (2, page 52)

  • Transparency about where we are  – clarity around what ‘Done’ means
  • Transparency about where we are going – understanding of size and complexity of completed PBIs helps forecasting future work
  • Transparency about planning a Sprint – team will have a better idea of what they can deliver each Sprint

Multiple Teams and the Definition of Done (4, page 53)

  • When multiple Development Teams are working on a single product, they must agree on a common definition of ‘Done’.
  • Their integrated increments must be potentially shippable rather than them being separate, and then integrated

Sprint Planning

The same definition guides the Development Team in knowing how many Product Backlog items it can select during a Sprint Planning. The purpose of each Sprint is to deliver Increments of potentially releasable functionality that adhere to the Scrum Team’s current definition of “Done”. (1)


As Scrum Teams mature, it is expected that their definitions of “Done” will expand to include more stringent criteria for higher quality. (1)

Exercises for Review of Definition of Done

Evaluation of Definition of Done Exercise (3, page 65)

  1. Draw 3 rectangles inside each other with the titles of future on the outer one, next on the middle one, and now on the inner one
  2. Work together with the development team to put sticky notes in each of the sections
    • Now: Definition of Done right now
    • Next: What do we plan to do next to improve?
    • Future: What do we imagine being in our Definition of Done once we are capable?


Create a Definition of Done (3, page 166)

  1. Decide as a team categories for when tasks need to be done (e.g. PBI level, sprint level, release level)
  2. Create a space for each of the categories on the wall
  3. Spend five minutes with each team member privately brainstorming all the tasks they can think of for each category, and then put them on the wall
  4. Work together to eliminate duplicates and gain a shared understanding of the notes remaining
  5. Ask questions to ensure that the team are thinking beyond coding activities (e.g. business issues)
  6. Ask the team to put a dot on any task that will be difficult/ impossible to complete during a sprint (Reminder – all the items that go into the Definition of Done must be completed by the end of the sprint. Remove it if it can’t be)
  7. For the task with the most dots find ways to compromise to make it easier to achieve without sacrificing quality – process improvements likely to come out
  8. Decide which sticky notes survive into the DoD
  9. Review regularly

Definition of Done Questions (2, page 52)

  • What do we need to do to assist the people who will maintain the product (e.g. readable code ,variable naming conventions)?
  • How will we minimise technical debt?
  • How will we test the product?
  • What testing will be automated?
  • What defects must be resolved?
  • How will we meet performance and scalability requirements?
  • Which development standards will guide us toward technical excellence?
  • How will we verify conformance to our team’s development standards (e.g. peer reviews)?
  • How will we validate and ensure data quality?
  • How will we ensure that our product is secure?
  • How will we ensure that our product is secure?
  • How will we ensure that our product meets regulatory, legal, or other compliance standards?
  • What do we need to do to meet branding requirements?
  • What do we need to do to ensure that our product is usable by people with disabilities?
  • What documentation is needed to release to production?


  1. The Scrum Guide
  2. Mastering Professional Scrum by Simon Reindl and Stephanie Ockerman
  3. Fixing Your Scrum by Ryan Ripley and Todd Miller
  4. Scrum Insights for Practitionersby Hiren Doshi

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Scrum Values

“When the values of commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect are embodied and lived by the Scrum Team, the Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation come to life and build trust for everyone.” (1)


  • Everyone focuses on…
    • the work of the Sprint and the goals of the Scrum Team. (1)
    • what’s important now – YAGNI (you ain’t gonna need it) (3)


Scrum Team members respect…

  • each other to be capable, independent people (1)
  • people’s opinions and diversity (3)
  • the customer to change their mind
  • the sponsors to not waste their investment (3)
  • Scrum


Scrum Team members commit to…

  • achieving the goals of the Scrum Team. (1)

Commitment refers to dedication rather than a binding contract of tasks. It applies to the intensity of effort (3)


The Scrum Team agree to be open…

  • about all the work and the challenges with performing the work. (1)
  • to collaboration (3)
  • to change (3)


  • The Scrum Team members have courage to…
    • do the right thing and work on tough problems (1)
    • admit your plans won’t be perfect (3)
    • fail
    • share knowledge


Team Scrum Values Powerful Questions (2, page 1)

  • Why do the values matter?
  • What are some examples where specific values helped?
  • How do we use the Scrum values to guide our actions?
  • What happens when Scrum values aren’t present in our team?
  • When is it difficult to live the values?
  • What gets easier when we embrace the values?
  • Which value helped us the most?
  • Is there a value that we need to work on?


  1. The Scrum Guide
  2. Scrum Insights for Practitioners by Hiren Doshi
  3. Scrum: A Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyen

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Scrum Theory

Scrum (n): A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value. (2)

Definition of Scrum

  • Framework not Methodology (1)
  • Servant Process not Commanding Process (1)
  • Goal = to optimise and control the creation of valuable software (1)

Origins in New New Product Development Game

  • Demonstrated complex product success
  • By self-organising team
  • The team were given objectives, not tasks (tasks make teams blinkered) (1)

Origins of the name

“The term comes from the game of rugby, and it refers to the way a team works together to move the ball down the field. Careful alignment, unity of purpose, and clarity of goal come together. It is the perfect metaphor for what I want teams to do” (5, page 8)

House of Scrum


created by Gunther Verheyen (1)

  • The walls are the main activities of Scrum (inspect and adapt)
  • The foundation for the activities is transparency
  • The roof keeps the house safe (the increment) from the unpredictable from outside the house
  • Inside the house is the space to create (including the principles, rules, roles)


Inspect (2)

  • Frequent inspection of artefacts and progress toward Sprint Goal
  • To see if there is variance between where we are and where we want to be
  • Not too frequent to get in the way of work
  • Performed by skilled team members at the point of work

Adapt (2)

Transparency (2)

  • Artefacts of the product must be visible to all people responsible for the product
  • Common understanding
  • Example is the definition of done

“if there is more truth in hallways than in meetings, you have a problem”

4, page 317


Empiricism: "Empiricism asserts that knowledge comes from experience and making decisions based on what is known." (2)

Empirical Process Control (1)

Closed Loop System
Closed Loop System (Empirical Process)
  • Actual outcome is regularly compared with desired outcome to diminish undesired variance
  • Creates transparency
  • The Sprint and Daily Scrum are examples
  • Self-correction is applied (no need to know the details up front)
  • Complexity means steps and tasks are not predictable as they are not repeatable
Open Loop System
Open Loop System (For reference)



Sketch notes above by ‘Sketching Maniacs’ from the Wikipedia page


Scrum Improvements Exercises

Scrum Elements Team Exercise (3)

  1. Write each element of the Scrum Framework on a separate sticky
  2. Write complementary practices the team uses on a different coloured sticky (e.g. story points)
  3. Score each sticky from 1 (not doing this) to 5 (mastered this)
  4. Discuss how the team can get each Scrum element to 5. Are the complementary practices getting in the way?

Scrum Across the Organisation (3)

  • Gather the Scrum Masters together
  • Use the liberating structure, 15% Solutions to answer the below question
    • ‘What’s within my control that I can change to get our organisation 15% closer to where it needs to be?’


  1. Scrum Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyen
  2. The Scrum Guide
  3. Fixing Your Scrum by Ryan Ripley and Todd Miller
  4. Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
  5. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland

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