Sunday, March 18, 2018

Scrum Master - The Questions to ask | Supreme Agile

A truly great professional Scrum Master can make the difference in the creation of any successful Scrum team. I have written many articles about the SM role, including the responsibilities, characteristics, and checklists that can help to any professional. One thing that I still haven’t published is some of the key questions that a scrum master should ask to promote the process of continues improvement and most importantly to implement the agile mindset. 

Product Owner (PO)

תוצאת תמונה עבור ‪product owner‬‏
  • Does the product owner get the information from the team about newly added stories?
  • What are the expectations from the team when adding "Non-Functional" stories?
  • How do you handle changed requirements and how do you reflect it to the team? 
  • Does the product owner need help to create the functional stories?
  • Does the product owner have clear and direct access to the team?
  • Does the product owner understand the non-functional stories? 
  • Does the product owner understand the purpose of each item? 
  • Can the product owner explain the product vision?
  • Does the product owner have a product roadmap?
  • Does the product owner committed to the team?
  • Does the product owner have the knowledge and experience to prioritize the product backlog?

Scrum Events

תוצאת תמונה עבור ‪Scrum ceremonies‬‏
  • Are there any major delays or absences that can reflect major problems?
  • Do team members come prepared to these meetings?
  • Do the meetings start and end at the scheduled time?
  • Do all meetings meets the preliminary set time-box?
  • Do all mandatory stakeholders attend the meeting?  
  • Is there a clear goal and Agenda? 

Product Backlog

תמונה קשורה
  • What is the amount of stories that modified after they originally written? 
  • Is there an Acceptance criteria defined per each product backlog story?
  • Does the product backlog contain stories that can fit a single iteration?
  • Is there user stories that are not relevant and should be removed? 
  • Is the product backlog prioritized (Top Items at the top of the list)?
  • Are the product backlog stories have Definition of Ready (DoR)?
  • Are the product backlog stories have Definition of Done (DoD)?
  • Does the product backlog contain stories that are informative?
  • What factors are used as part of the prioritization process?  
  • Does the product backlog contain stories that add value?
  • Is the product backlog transparent all stakeholders?
  • Is the product backlog visible to all stakeholders?
  • Are top items estimated (Rough Estimation)?
  • Is the product backlog consistently updated?
  • How large the product backlog really is?
  • Does the product backlog contain the "Non-Functional" stories that requested by the development team? 
  • Is there an agreed form between the PO and the team on how write and Add stories to the product backlog?
  • Is the product backlog exceeds a reasonable threshold  (Usually stories that are available for the 3-5 iterations)? 

Sprint Backlog

תוצאת תמונה עבור ‪Sprint backlog‬‏
  • Does the sprint backlog contain stories agreed by the team?
  • Does the sprint backlog contain stories with relevant tasks?
  • Is the sprint backlog visible to all stakeholders?
  • Does the sprint backlog stories are estimated?
  • Is the sprint backlog owned by the team?
  • Is the sprint backlog update daily? 

Daily Scrum

תוצאת תמונה עבור ‪Daily Scrum‬‏
  • Are there follow-ups for any issues that were not addressed during the meeting?
  • Is the meeting occurring without active promotion by the scrum master?
  • Are there any technical discussions that encounter the meeting agenda?
  • Is there a follow-up for technical issues that arise during the meeting?
  • Is the meeting is occurring at the same time and at the same location?
  • Are team members reporting impediments that affect their progress?
  • Does the team conduct a meeting when the SM is not present?
  • Is the "Burn-Down" chart updated at the end of the meeting?
  • Are there any external interruptions during the meeting?
  • Is the sprint backlog reflect the work for the next 24H?
  • Are there any "Reporting" symptoms to one authority?
  • Are all team members participating in the meetings?
  • Is there any discussion about the iteration goal?
  • Does the meeting occur in a safe environment?
  • Do all team members share their insights?
  • Is the team focused on the iteration goal?
  • Do all team members come prepared?
  • Is the team progressing as they forecasted (are there any risks identified to prevent meeting the iteration goal)?

Refinement (Grooming) Meeting

תוצאת תמונה עבור ‪backlog grooming meeting‬‏ 

  • Are all stories small enough so they can be completed within a single iteration?
  • Are there any team members want to take an active role in this meeting? 
  • What is the average amount of stories that refrained per session? 
  • How effective this meeting for the product owner and the team? 
  • How much does it take to approve the readiness of a user story? 
  • Are all changes made by the PO communicated to the team? 
  • Is there any open issue that should be addressed to the PO?
  • Is there any open issue that should be clarified by the PO?
  • Is the PO can explain stories from a business perspective?
  • Do you involve the team during the refinement sessions?
  • Do all Stories have the mandatory information? 
  • How often the team performs this meeting (Should be at least once a week and even more for new teams)?

Review (Demo) Meeting

תוצאת תמונה עבור ‪scrum demo meeting‬‏
  • Does team members come prepared with a working example of their work?
  • Are all presented stories meet the preliminary "Definition of Done"?
  • Is there a room with the relevant hardware to support the meeting? 
  • Is the product backlog updated based on the feedback? 
  • Does the team have the information (Metrics, KPI's, Impediments Etc.) that can increase the transparency between the team and stakeholders? 
  • Does the meeting occur at the end of each iteration?
  • Does the team demonstrate only completed stories?
  • Is constructive feedback provided by the PO?

Sprint Planning

תמונה קשורה
  • Do all candidate stories have all the relevant information (Acceptance, DoD, and DoR)?
  • Are all the stories explained and understood by the team prior to the estimation process?
  • Are there any experts that need to participate to help the team with their estimations?
  • Is there collaboration between the PO and the team regarding the iteration goal?
  • Is there a calculated velocity for the team (SM Responsibility to calculate it)?
  • Are all team members agreed to take the commitments for the next iteration?
  • Is the team took commitments to more work than they can deliver?
  • Is there an agreement between the team regarding the work effort?
  • Is the estimation process efficient to predict the real work effort? 
  • Is the product owner happy with the expected deliverables?
  • Can the team answer what is included in the iteration goal?
  • Are all team members committed to the next iteration? 
  • Did the entire scrum team attend the planning session? 
  • Are all questions answered by the product owner?

Retrospective Meeting

תמונה קשורה
  • Decide with the team if they want to invite any external stakeholder that can contribute to the meeting (Very rear but sometimes can help the team to increase their insights)?
  • Decide with the team if they want to invite the product owner to the meeting?
  • Is the impediments board updated at the end of the meeting?
  • Does the retrospective occur at the end of each iteration?
  • Is there real continues improvement from the last retro?
  • Is the retrospective occurring in a safe environment?
  • Is there real collaboration between team members?
  • What is the focus of the upcoming retrospective? 
  • Is there a real process for impediments removal?
  • What impediments are more urgent to resolve?
  • Is the meeting owned by the team?

Team Velocity 

תוצאת תמונה עבור ‪scrum team Velocity‬‏

  • How team velocity can be used as a leverage to increase team motivation?
  • What is the unit used to measure velocity(Hours, Days or story points)?
  • What activities that made during the sprint included in velocity?
  • Is the team velocity used to determine the team commitments?
  • Is the team velocity reflect the true capabilities of the team?
  • What is the trend of the team velocity (Positive/Negative)?
  • Is team velocity transparent to the relevant stakeholders?
  • What is the module that is used to calculate velocity?
  • What can be done to improve team velocity? 
  • What is the average team velocity?

Questions to ask the Development team

תמונה קשורה
  • Do we all agree with the quality of the PBI as they currently written by the PO?
  • What is the team expectations from the project and what they hope to achieve?
  • Is there anything that we can do to improve the precision of our estimations?
  • Do they agree with the DoD of the stories and can they achieve them?
  • How should we handle internal conflicts that arise during the project?
  • What are the Key factors that will help us to meet the project goals?
  • How should we celebrate success in achieving the iteration goal?
  • Is there any team member who is disrupted by external forces?
  • What should we do if we do not succeed to meet our goals? 
  • What obstacles do we have as a team to achieve our goals? 
  • Are there any personal issues that affect team members?
  • What dependencies do we have with other teams? 
  • What is our velocity? How can we improve it?
  • Is there an improvement in the agile mindset?
  • Are they agree with the DoR set for stories?
  • Is the team show progress in their velocity?
  • What is our preferred estimation technique (Relative Vs Absolute) to estimate the stories during the planning meeting?
  • What is the team CI (Continuous Improvement) that we want to achieve at the end of the project?

Monday, February 26, 2018

Expectations of Scrum Masters – knowing what important | Supreme Agile

The Scrum Master (SM) is one of the most important roles in the Scrum framework. This framework is created to support the Agile values and principles for delivering high-quality products, while putting the customer at the top of the pyramid. Now, if you have previous experience in this role, you already aware that the Scrum Master is a member of a team. The SM has no formal authority, but it is expected that he will succeed in fulfilling the role.

The SM responsibility is critical to the success of the team in delivering high-quality releases that meets the customer requirements. The responsibility of SM includes: creating a safe working environment for the team, adaption of Scrum practices by the team, removal of any impediments and finally promoting the agenda of Self-Organized cross-functional teams. 

Expectations of Scrum Masters 

Although the Scrum Master performs critical role in the Scrum framework, one still needs to remember the SM needs to perform his responsibilities without formal authority. So the question is...what can we expect from this role..? 

Continues improvement of the process

  • Determine KPI's to measure process improvements (Velocity, Quality Etc.).
  • Continually searching for new ways to improve the process.
  • Continue the Scrum process no matter the challenges.
  • Enable various stakeholders to share their knowledge with the Scrum team to increase the effectiveness of the process. 
  • Assist in to setting global standards for “Definition of Done” (DoD) and “Definition of Ready” (DoR) across teams. 
  • Ensure there is continues improvement in the Scrum team so they can deliver more product with higher quality.
  • Assist stakeholders understand the Scrum process and how its link to product development. 
  • Collaborate with other Scrum Masters’ to improve communication among the different teams.

The Product Backlog 

  • Help the product owner to understand deep technical aspects of the technology/product.
  • Create a template to create stories and tasks that will establish a common language.
  • Innovate with new techniques that will help the PO to manage the product backlog.
  • Help the team to write new user stories (Non-Functional stories in particular).
  • Help the Product Owner to prioritize the backlog stories to maximize the ROI. 
  • Help the team and the Product Owner to prioritize the product backlog.
  • Help the team and The Product Owner to split large stories. 
  • Help the team with the release planning. 
  • Help the Product Owner to understand the technical aspects of the product (Design, Technology, and Dependencies).
  • Help the Product Owner to understand the importance of clear, self-explained, testable, non-ambiguous user stories. 

See The Big Picture 

  • Create a center of knowledge throughout the company (Center of Excellence).
  • Collaborate with every stakeholder on a regular basis, if it can help the team.  
  • Looking for any hidden problems and solving them in the best possible way.
  • Participate in "Scrum of Scrums" meetings to remove impediments.
  • Act as the knowledge center for any stakeholder who requires it. 
  • Help people from different teams to work together, if required.
  • Help the organization to scale scrum with common practices.
  • Guide the team to report to senior management. 
  • Guide the team to avoid pitfalls of other teams.
  • Assist the team to interact with other teams.
  • Ensure there is “power balance” among the different stakeholders (Team, PO and senior management).
  • Help the organization to gain knowledge in Agile through dedicated training and workshops. 

Help the team to grow

  • Being familiar with the teamwork and technical challenges (It's a huge benefit!).
  • Enforces meeting time-boxes while conducting the different scrum ceremonies.
  • Help the team to maintain their tools (Burn-Down chart, Sprint Backlog Etc.).
  • Assist the team to deliver quality deliverables as defined in the DoD. 
  • Reflecting issues to the team through silent observations.
  • Asking the right questions to will help the team to grow. 
  • Provide valuable constructive feedback to the team.
  • Promote the agenda of Self-Organized teams.
  • Help the team to work in a safe environment. 
  • Protect the team to allow continued growth. 
  • Help the team to implement agile practices.
  • Keeping morale high by reflecting success.
  • Help the team to resolve internal conflicts.
  • Remove obstacles that affecting the team. 
  • Coaching Team Members (1:1 coaching).
  • Promote continues improvement process.
  • Helps the team to achieve iteration goals.
  • Educate the team with an agile mindset. 
  • Facilitating scrum events (Start to End).
  • Helping the team to keep their focus. 
  • Promote continues learning process.

Develop an Agile Mindset

  • Promote the agile values (Clarity, transparency, commitment Etc.).
  • Help the team to understand the agile principles and values. 
  • Responsible to train the organization with agile practices. 
  • Promote the agile mindset throughout the organization. 
  • Support organizations and Teams decision-making.
  • Lead with agile innovations.
  • Set personal example.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Top 10 Challenges faced by the scrum master | Supreme Agile

תמונה קשורה
The Role of the Scrum Master (SM) is very challenging. SM responsibilities include Coaching, Training and facilitating both Agile practices and Spirits.  In this article, I will review some of the challenges faced by the Scrum Master during his day-to-day activities.

Challenge 1 – No Authority

The first thing that we need to remember is that the SM is the facilitator of the team. However, with that being said, the SM does not have any authority as we would expect to see for such important role. In fact, the Scrum Master can be any member of the team. He is a person who has a good understanding of the Scrum Framework and is a good facilitator.

Challenge 2 – Time-Boxing

I think that any SM will agree, keeping the Scrum activities under a defined time limit is just one of those annoying tasks that no one likes to do. As the team SM, it is our job to ensure that the specific Scrum activates timing is kept. We need to limit the time slippage to a minimum.  

Challenge 3 – Role Definition

There is a Hugh challenge explaining the role of the Scrum Master (incl. scope expectations, activities, and responsibilities). I often see lots of misunderstands that arise. This is because some stakeholders in the process do not really understand what they can expect from this role, its importance within the organization and particularly to the team.

Challenge 4 – Management Expectations

There is always a gap between management expectations (relies on old management habits) and new practices that come from an Agile transition.
This makes the life of the Scrum Master really challenging as he needs to protect the team (Especially in the earlier phases of the implementation), while at the same time allowing senior management to take part in the process. 

Challenge 5 – Managing Conflicts

The Scrum Master has the responsibility of managing internal conflicts within the Scrum team and sometimes external conflicts that arise from external stakeholders. It is expected that the SM also have the skill to deal and resolve personal issues that may occur.  

Challenge 6 – Building the team

One of the main Objectives of the Scrum Master is to assist his team to become “Self-Organized/sufficient”. This can be the difference between a successful team and a complete failure. So how challenging is this task? Well, extremely, just think about a group of people that sometimes have personal issues with one another. It is the Scrum Master’s responsibility to assist them to become a coherent, dedicated, goal-oriented team. 

Challenge 7 – Collaboration

As part of the day-to-day activities, the Scrum Master needs to ensure that there is a productive collaboration among the relevant stakeholders. This is especially important between the team and the product owner. This can become increasingly challenging when the Product Owner (PO) is not responsive to the team questions or when decisions are made by the PO without consulting the team. 

Challenge 8 – Leader of change

When it comes to Agile transitions, the Scrum Master is the change agent in the organization and should take the lead role in making the change a reality. This is a massive challenge, especially when the organization is still not ready to embrace the change and to adopt the new practices.  Remember: making a small change is hard enough, but changing the way of work, state of mind and culture of an organization is a completely different story.  

Challenge 9 – Continues Growth

I think that it is a positive challenge that I love to use as an example in my lectures regarding why the SM role is so challenging. This role possesses the responsibility to always learn new ways to improve the personal skills that will be reflected in more efficient and productive way for the organization. For me, more studies that involve both theoretical and practical practices is the key to grow within this role. 

Challenge 10 – Gaining Respect

To be able to be a real servant leader of the team and to be able to lead without authority the Scrum Master has one major challenge and that’s to gain the respect of the teammates. This is the main reason that the best Scrum Masters are the ones chosen by the team and not by the organization. 

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