Posts Tagged ‘2009’

Scrum Gathering Lectures Part II


   It was particularly interested to see Danilo’s presentation. Having some inside information because Concrete is one of the IT suppliers of, it was with curious eyes that I saw it.

   I was particularly interested in how much detailing there would be.

   I think that Concrete was luckily to take part in some of what he was talking about. And the process of adoption in definitely was decisive for our adoption of Scrum. As soon as we heard about their adoption and started learning what it was all about, we were sure; we had to do it to!

   I particularly liked when he mentioned “Kaisen Mind”. I must confess to be a sucker for some of the Japanese way of thinking. 

   This was a strange lecture. Not because the idea isn’t seductive, using Scrum as tool for strategic decision is sexy. The reason I think it was strange is because it never looks like Scrum at a higher level in companies. Directors are usually out to get each other, there are a lot of politics going on, and the whole team looks like chickens.

   In most places, at the executive level, what really drives people are the bonuses and how these are achieved. It is very, very hard to get them to think like a team. At the end of the day, it feels like you have a backlog and a few meetings to see how things are going. Getting them to work together without a change on how you reward an executive is imho wasting time.

   Unless you are in Japan or some other special condition is found in a company, such as weak executives vs. strong CEO, it looks like Scrum can only surface by doing a deeper change.

   This change would require “team work” to be rewarded and that transparency could be a rewarded in some manner.

   I think it is a very good initiative to try (applying Scrum at the exec level). But at this point impossible to achieve as a model.

   It was a very good presentation and certainly brings to the table a lot to ponder.

   This presentation was the one I liked the most and lighted up some starts in my mind. First of all, we consider them competition, and they do many things similar to us.

   As us, to them the PO is a client (as I think it should always be). And there was a good discussion on what kinds of problems they have to deal with because of that. Also, there was talk on how to deal with the old management and how they collaborate to spread the knowledge of Scrum within the client.

   A very hot subject was the possible recertification as CMMi 5 while using Scrum and their fear that the evaluator might influence too much the result. Traditionally, to prove reaching certain criteria, the evaluator requires documents, and some of the kpi are addressed in Scrum with meetings.

   If you have the time, check out this presentation.

   This lecture was a mystery to me. Every time I talk about distributed version control, the discussion always gets down to backups and making the programmer more prone to committing the source often.

   Distributed source control gets the programmer in a mindset to synchronize with the server less often because he doesn’t have too. He only has to synchronize to get into an integration test or a specific build.

   I was wondering how did they embrace it and live with this? And the answer was: they do not. The distributed versions all reside in a central server, so the commits are all done in the server as well.

   They also demand that the stories are shorter in terms of time so the programmers have to synchronize more often.

   What I got out of this presentation is that GIT (or Mercurial) have better features to deal with merges, diff , etc, nothing more.

   I liked very much to finally meet Boris Gloger. I have heard a lot about him from the guys at since the time they started Scrum adoption there and I was curious.

   The presentation was very good, I think I know little about retrospectives and I think the presentation brought us very valuable tips. I used some of it on the very next day when we had a Retrospective here in Concrete.

   I was somewhat disappointed with one of the side discussions during the presentation. When talking about quality items on the making of the product, using refactoring as an example, he said that the team should just do it and there was no need to tell the PO about it.

   I asked him directly about transparency, and what he said was that the PO cares about “Done” and this does not concern him (or something in this line of thought). There was also a quick suggestion about telling the PO you’re working on some of the items of the Backlog.

   I understand that sometimes the team can do some tasks underneath the PO’s radar and that it can be easier than having to explain to the PO what is going on, but, imho, a lie is a lie, and even those tasks should be discussed with the PO openly.

   I think nothing should be hidden whenever possible. And if the PO, having the ability to choose, chooses wrong, it’s our job to live with it. To try to help him make better decisions and not deciding it all for him in the shadows is our role.

   I would rather tell the PO that the refactoring is necessary, why it is necessary, and let him know we are doing it.


Scrum Gathering Lectures Part I


In this post I continue my comments on the lectures I attended to at the “Scrum Gathering 2009 Brazil”.

  • Scrum e a crise mundial: Por que Scrum é a melhor opção para projetos em tempos de crise  – Rafael Sabbagh PUC Rio and Marcos Garrido – Palm I (Morning Session of the 12th)
       The presentation seemed closely related to the future dissertation of Rafael Sabbagh and Marcos Garrido, both doing their Masters in PUC Rio. The main line was that Scrum is easier to sell to clients in times of crisis, and this is a particular good time to do that.   On the good side, it was one of the few presentations with low demand on the knowledge of Scrum from the people watching. The bad, in my opinion, was that the presentation did not really define itself as being directed to clients or as being directed to the sales force. I also missed the traditional graphic with the ROI over time.


The early delivery of value by using Scrum.   

The early delivery of value by using Scrum.

   I also think that the theme itself is very relevant but kind of bold because the presenters are not from the sales department. As a personal, very personal choice, I would not dare do this without most of the slides coming from the commercial department.
   After the presentation the discussion was very good, and kept going and going, no one wanted to leave the room.

  • Keynote Address – Ken Schwaber, co-founder Scrum & President Scrum Alliance – Grand I & II (Virtual Presentation)
       It was one of the usual presentations from Ken Schwaber. Usual to him, awesome to the rest of us! The crowd went wild when in a question (pinning Ken versus the PMI presentation earlier) where Ken answered that the project was done by the ProductOwner, ScrumMaster and the Team, so, there was no place for a Project Manager. 
       Of course the ScrumMaster is a Project Manager, but it was a great stunt that few are capable of pulling out. There was lots of cheering in the audience here.
    We also did the command & control exercise following Ken’s instructions. It was done to illustrate the power of self-management, and this often gets me thinking that at the end of the day Ken is all about being ethical in the workplace. The exercise itself was kind of awkward because most of the audience had done it already. 
    Bottom line, if you get the chance to see him speaking, don’t miss it. It’s simple, not pretentious, very valuable and, to some extent entertaining.

  • Usando DoD (Definition of Done) para amadurecer a qualidade do produto  – Gustavo Coutinho, Provider, e Luciano Felix, CSP Especializa Treinamentos – Palm II
       This presentation was about the Definition of Done and it’s correlation to the technological deficit created during the execution of most projects. The approach of the presentation seemed to follow the actual thinking process the guys at Provider Sistemas went through it respect to the DoD.
       It makes it look tough, like the Definition of Done became a major item for them as can be seen on slide 31 with DoD at the center of the Scrum Activities. My view is that they like this part of Scrum best and it really works for them.
       In the presentation there is a suggestion of DoD multi-levels where there are requirements for the tasks, the Sprint and the Release. My view is that the DoD levels referring to the Sprint and the Release should be tasks, and enforced by the ScrumMaster because it relates to the company culture. Generally speaking, these are technological deficits that they think make sense grouping by each Sprint or Release. This is the case of a full integration of the software where they might do it only once in a Sprint.
       In any case, my observation does not mean any change in the actual tasks, only on how to call them because they “made up” a new taxonomy where as in my view there was no need to (If it works, that’s what matters).
       On the second part of their presentation, they introduce one group dynamics exercise designed to find out good items for the DoD for a project or as standards for a company. It’s really worth a look. Check out their presentation on the link above.

PMI at the Gathering


   The day of the 12th (May-2009) started with the opening speech of Jim Cundiff, the Managing Director of the Scrum Alliance. Nothing too big about what was said, but I see as very big that he was here. To me, this shows that the Scrum Alliance is really interested in Latin America and of course in Brasil.

   After his brief presentation, Ricardo Vargas took the floor. He is “only” the chairman of the PMI Board (2009). Again, here, the thing that had my attention was the fact that he was there! As PMI sees the growth of agile projects in the US in the IT Business, economic interest can be more clearly seen.

   It seems that in the US, (self-denominated) agile projects (in IT) are now more used than the projects with heavier or more traditional approaches.

   His presentation was more about PMI than about Scrum. It was clear that he knew very little about Scrum. He seemed to know that it was lighter, and that teams are self-managing. When talking about the PMI and the PMBok, he was trying to be clear that the guides are not rules; they are recommendations on practices that the organization thinks will work. His message was in the line of: “Use whatever works and gets results!”

   Underneath, with this strategy, the PMI is trying to make agile or empirical approaches a leg of their guides. Today, the PMI and the ScrumAlliance are certainly aligned, but on the long run, it looks as if the PMI is looking to absorb Scrum. Today, the ScrumAlliance wants the PMI stamp, and the PMI is looking at all this market that is trading management practices. The hidden message is that PMI will accept agile when the rate of change is higher. I felt the hidden message was that Scrum is good for software and programmers, but if you need an Oil Platform, or have a Billion Dollar project, call me.


Ricardo Vargas, chairman of the PMI speaks to the Scrum community.


Ricardo Vargas, chairman of the PMI speaks to the Scrum community.

   One of the more polemic topics was the self-management of Scrum Teams. Ricardo said that he has never seen a team that would be productive without someone telling them what to do. In his view, 90% of people would do nothing without being forced to. He sure made clear he was talking about his personal experience. My personal view is that his vision is probably accurate for construction work or a work where you take a black liquid out of the ground to be burned, but programmers do intellectual work and it may be different in the IT business. My view on this is certainly more naïve or romantic, but I can live with that.

   PMI is, and will continue to lead in project management guides and skills. Empirical and Agile methods will start to be a part of the PMI teachings and the PMBok, that’s for sure. Traditional project management and heavier methods will still dominate and be effective whenever the requirements are in control, and change is not as significant as it is in our industry.

   Of course, as software penetrates more and more every aspect of human life, and the pace of change increases, it is very likely that the Agile methods will expand and become dominant in the future. Time alone will tell.

This was certainly an exciting morning!

Scrum Gathering Brazil 2009


Last week a great event took place in São Paulo, Brasil, where a lot of Scrum enthusiasts gathered to discuss and learn more about Scrum.

I’m talking about the “Scrum Gathering Brazil 2009”. The event happened in the luxurious Grand Hyatt on the last 12th and the 13th (May-2009). It was very well organized by the Scrum Alliance folks and the local guys from Adaptworks.

From that event I had the opportunity to learn a lot about the experience others are having with the use of Scrum in Brasil and hopefully gained some insight from it.

One of the first decisions that came out of this event is that I really need to go back to writing about Scrum and get into the discussions that are going on.  My blog about Scrum is back, and I hope, here to stay. As a suggestion from my colleagues here in Concrete Solutions, the posts will be now preferably in English to better enjoy the riches of a possibly international discussion.

In this post I’ll share my overall view of the event, and maybe this will get things going.

As I’ve stated, I think the event was very well organized. Participation however, was not very heterogeneous in my opinion. Few customers attended. The event looked like a meeting about Scrum for Scrum enthusiasts in Brasil, as a mean to get them together.

The gathering had a lot of people from the academic Brasil, lots of students, people from companies that are early adopters of Scrum (such as and Petrobrás) and some service providers (such as Adaptworks and CI&T).

The presentations, in general, assumed you already knew Scrum to some extent, so, in this sense, it was in accord with the attendance. As a whole the presentations were not very rich in details, and some were really, and explicitly a starting point for discussion. My opinion is that little insight came from the presentations themselves, but a lot from discussions after them.

People seemed to be genuinely excited and willing to enter honest discussions. Everyone seemed really interested in the opinion and to learn from the others there. The discussions were not mere rhetorical confrontations. In my opinion this was the best aspect of the gathering. People seemed to be interested in improving our work condition and practices. I just hope this continues as we move forward to seeing the attendance of the actual clients.

On the next post I’ll comment specifically about the lectures I have attended and what I thought about it all.