The Perfect Five-course Scrum

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Today's Special: 5 Course ScrumThrough development and beyond we hope not to have show stoppers, anticipate builds and releases on time, expect teams to portray efficiency, want our customers to be happy, and hope that boss coming to work and singing melody. Sounds like a perfect five-course scrum, isn’t it?

However, this may not be as easy to achieve as it sounds, especially with scrum. In reality we struggle to efficiently respond to changes while moving forward, developers and business analysts lose confidence in what they do, and code reviews and builds get delayed. If you have confronted one of these situations, you should try avoiding following five starters in order to be closer to that perfect five- course scrum.

  1. “Why do you need to document that?”

    Scrum is famous as well as infamous for limited documentation. With scrum what you see is what you get, which is nothing but working software. However, a thin line should be drawn by management about what is necessary documentation and what is not. Each artifact should be looked at from its value to solution delivery. Scrum documentation is not entirely about what developers need, but also about what everyone else needs who provide what developers need. An attempt can be made to understand the importance of supporting deliverables as they contribute towards successful within as well as between team’s communications.


     
  2. “My pipeline is drying up”

    Scrum is primarily about what developers can deliver in each sprint. Sometimes in order to hit project deadlines, additional resources are assigned to specific project areas. Once those deadlines are met, it becomes hard to keep those additional resources busy and ‘pipeline drying up’ phenomena originates. However, this phenomenon seldom develops over-night. To avoid this, task and resource management should be done in balanced format for all development and implementation phases. Estimation or planning should never be influenced by the phenomena of pipeline drying up. This phenomenon should not affect other development or implementation phases. If this phenomenon is widely spread it can elevate stress levels among teams and hamper the quality of solutions delivery.


     
  3. “Let’s throw him in the mix.”

    In a dynamic solution delivery environment it’s hard to quickly get new resources up to the speed. It is also challenging to estimate the need of resources for short term assignments. Management sometimes gets tempted to utilize available resources in areas where other skilled resources are required. It is risky to assign a task to a resource which is not his/her primary skill set. As an example, business analysts may not be able to work as data modeler or can code. Considering the lively environment and heavy dependency of tasks on one another, shuffling of resources from one skill area to another should be done with at most care. Criteria for task assignment should be the skill of the resource and not the skill that is needed or availability of the familiar resource.


     
  4. “You still working on that!”

    It is always challenging to estimate a task. Generally when the estimates are made, scope and business needs are assumed to be static. In initial phases it is difficult to understand the depth of a task and its dependency on others. Sometimes, when we dig into a task, additional requirements come out of it inflating assumed scope. As scope creep happens complexity of the related deliverables also increases, costing more time to deliver those. Hence, proper communication channels within and between teams should be implemented to gauge the work done and additional work needed.


     
  5. “I dint get that from BA”

    During scrum, it’s challenging for business analysts to provide everything development team is expecting. From solution delivery perspective, it is necessary for teams to think and build in increments. Management should educate teams about iterative development as the solution delivery progresses. Even if all the dots are not connected, teams should move forward with the available information. As further details are drawn the deliverables should be updated accordingly. Waiting on supporting tasks to complete is seldom productive excluding exceptional cases.

Summarizing, achieving efficiency and productivity with scrum is challenging both for the team as well as management. By avoiding the mentioned five starters you may be closer to that perfect five-course scrum we all starve for.

Go scrum.

Author : Swagat Irsale is an Agile professional. His interests are SaaS Product development, and people management. He graduated from Auburn University and can be reached at http://in.linkedin.com/in/swagati

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