Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Moneyball of Scrum

From the creator of Scrum himself: Jeff Sutherland's keynote at ScrumDay 2017.

Forward to the mark 29:37...

KPI's that matter:
- % of staff that have clear priorities
- % of features that are used
- Process efficiency

- If it's not clear what the backlog priorities are, people will self create a backlog
- Focus on growing the top used features
- Measure process efficiency (how long a story goes from dev start to done)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

To Jira or not to Jira? A case for the evolving Scrum Master.

I recently saw an ad for Jira's beta certification program pop up in my feed, and it got me asking the Facebook Scrum Master Community whether they think it's worthwhile to become certified as a Jira admin. The reaction was strongly against it, and as much as I love Jira, I tend to agree.

Ron Eringa's article on Evolving Scrum Masters elegantly emphasizes how less-evolved Scrum Masters act more like Clerks and Organizers than Coaches and Experts:

On a day to day basis the Clerk typically removes a lot of administrative duties from the Development Team (like updating the Sprint Backlog, burndown graphs, preparing the Sprint Planning, etc).

A Clerk has limited benefits, since he is mostly focussed on himself & the inferior values of the Agile manifesto (tools, processes, documentation, etc).

Focusing on admin tasks is a great indicator that a Scrum Master is working with a less-evolved Scrum team, and it demonstrates a lack of trust in the team to be self-driven and make good decisions on their own.

How does a Scrum Master help the team (and herself) evolve, then?

For one, patience. The team needs to establish trust and mutual respect. That takes time.

My team has been actively focused on KT (knowledge transfer) to better leverage each-other and our offshore counterparts. Once a week, we come in early and do KT with offshore to demo 1-2 topics. The Subject Matter Experts (SME) do live troubleshooting and answer questions from the team. Slowly but surely, we're starting to see the team build confidence and handle more tasks on their own instead of relying on the SME.

As the Scrum Master, it takes some practice to not jump in and complete the admin tasks the team needs to keep track of rapidly evolving requirements and changing priorities. Admittedly, I do more organizing than I should. However, I realize that to positively influence my team and help myself evolve, I need to back off, train where needed, and let them handle more.

What thoughts do you have on how a team can evolve?

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Scrum Master's Top 5 Joys of JIRA

As a Scrum Master, I live in Atlassian's JIRA daily and love their administrator tools. I drive JIRA alongside all sprint meetings I facilitate: planning, reviews, retrospectives and even daily stand-ups.

A well organized JIRA platform creates great transparency in a team and maximizes sprint success.

Top 5 Joys of JIRA (A Scrum Master's Secret Weapon): 

1. Active Sprint Agile Board View 

The active sprint view gives a quick overview of the sprint's health. Any teammate can easily update ticket status by dragging it to the next column.

JIRA admin can add Quick Filters to show a team member's assigned tickets, or filter out "done" tickets to see items in progress.

2. Custom Dashboards

Custom dashboards are easy to configure and scale well for team members. Depending on the audience (Product / Design / Development), you can set up the dashboard to show each person what matters to them.

I typically include gadgets that show what is assigned to the current user and reported by the current user. The sprint health gadget and days remaining gadget are nice visual additions to the dashboard and encourage team ownership of the sprint.

3. Advanced Filtering + Bulk Ticket Modifier

JIRA's Advanced Filtering tool is a great help for backlog clean-up. Use JQL to query specific projects, epics, versions, broken down by status, assignee, reporter, and even sprint.

From the filter, you can bulk modify tickets. This is especially helpful when you are closing a project or transitioning it to another team member.

4. Workflow Diagram Tool

For visual people, JIRA's workflow diagram tool uses colors to display status categories (to do, in progress, done) and gives you flexibility to choose which statuses transition to which.

Depending on how strict or open your permissions need to be, you can meet your team's requirements through this easy workflow designer.

5. Epic Filter on the Agile Board to Navigate the Backlog Black Hole

To clear out the clutter in the backlog and easily prioritize tickets within an epic, Product Owners can use the Epic filter on the JIRA agile board. It's a simple function but makes a big difference!

And there you have it! What are your favorite JIRA functions? I'd love to hear some best practices!