Monday, July 21, 2014

Scrum Master vs Process Master

Scrum Master vs Process Master. Sounds like something from Mortal Kombat or some cheesy movie. Today a friend of mine asked me why I have put 'Process Master' in my bio here at blogger. It should be Scrum Master right?  Tell that to the 'process' guys who came up with this. Truthfully , i didn't like it either. The official explanation is that the process we follow is 95% Scrum and 5% Kanban. 

What is Kanban anyway? Kanban simply means 'sign' in Japanese. Henrik Kniberg has a very simple and visual example. He tells a story of a Japanese garden where a guard hands you a ticket when you enter. Entrance is free and there is no info on the card. When you go out guard as you to return the card. And this is not a fancy hi-tec card with. Just a number printed on it. So what is the use of it. Answer is to keep track of how many people are in the garden. Maybe there is only hundred cards. Once the guard run out of them he will not let anyone enter until someone leaves and returns the card. And that how we run the support process Kanban style. We only have limited number of slots for bugs. When they fill up we don't take in any more. When one gets patched we take the next one on the list. Sounds simple right? and it is. And for that I am called a Process Master.  If this was Mk I think the Scrum Master would win. Flawless Victory!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Love it, Hate it..JIRA Agile

We had our weekly demo today. In the morning i wanted to make our Jira WFB to show the task group by user stories and it in turn grouped by epics, so we could easily show an overview of progress during the demo.  30 minutes later I realized it could NOT be done! Well not with the current JIRA version anyway. Oh how I long for the White Board days.

Well not really. When we started agile in our company in 2012 we began with a simple work flow 'white' board complete with yellow stickies. It looked great but soon it was a mess. Partly b'coz we tried to put lot of info on  the little 3M sticky and partly due to lack of  experience in agile ways.

I was glad when we shifted to an online WFB. I think it was the Atlassian JIRA with GreenHopper plugin (now called 'JIRA Agile'. It had a few kinks but I think it was OK. Today we used it in almost every way imaginable. Entering user stories, tasks, spikes bugs and  estimating them , building a sprint backlog, planning a sprint,  visualizing team activity and reporting on team progress.

JIRA Agile makes all these things easier than ever before.  Wish it could grope by two levels!   

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Can't see the forest for the trees

Today morning after the stand-up our PM asked us how do feel about the "overall progress" of the project. Since we were right at the halfway point of a three month project it was a real good question.  

Each of team member knew how the User Stories were progressing yet I got the feeling we were not seeing the whole situation clearly. Maybe because we are looking too closely at small details, or because we are too closely involved. You just can't see the forest for the trees.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

First Post. Inspect and Adapt.

Inspect and Adapt ..they are the two most important things to remember when practicing scrum. Days, weeks, months or even years later i might come back to this post and wonder what could i have written as my first post. For today this seems good enough!