Attending a Scrum master training course … an event that started some critical thinking at the back of my mind – Part 2/2

Continued from Attending a Scrum master training course … an event that started some critical thinking at the back of my mind - Part 1/2 which summarised the why I was on this course, some of my objectives (questions, scrum smells, etc.) and introduced changes to the Visual Studio ALM Rangers Scrum Poster.Diverse Circle Of Colorful People Holding Hands, Symbolizing Teamwork, Friendship, Support And Unity Clipart Illustration Graphic

Day 2 … today was a phenomenal day and thanks to Chris, we had a very interactive day … we subsequently ran short on time and had to rush through the “slides”, but then the consensus was that the interactive nature was far more valuable. Most of today was spent going through planning and retrospective activities, including multiple teams, which kick-started the critical thinking even more.

I do not have final answers to my questions as yet, but have decided to invest energy in this topic and possibly work on a whitepaper with a title such as  “Schizophrenic scrum guide to distributed and virtual teams”. Watch the space … 🙂

My (personal) conclusions to my questions (slightly re-worded) that I raised in yesterday’s post to date:

  • Can we use scrum effectively when the team is virtual and distributed around the planet?
    • Yes, as long as the team is supported by the correct technology to introduce face-face collaboration, status and project artefact sharing  irrespective of locality. True science fiction in the 80’s, the virtual and distributed teams is both a common occurrence and feasible. As to the implementation and usage of scrum in this environment, I need to spend a few more hours and days thinking and analysing.
  • Can we use scrum effectively when the team is operating out of many different time zones … having a daily scrum can be challenging?
  • Can we use scrum effectively when the team resources are allocated part-time, i.e. 2-20 hours / week?
    • Ditto to above … feasible, but requires more analysis and thought investment.
  • Can a scrum master also be product owner and/or member of the delivery team?
    • Scrum master and part of delivery team yes.
    • Any combination of product owner and scrum master or delivery team no.
  • Is scrum an all or nothing framework? In other words can we adopt some of its artefacts or must we adopt all from day one?
    • Today’s discussions kind-of suggested that scrum is already on the border of chaos and that if any of its already simple processes and/or guidelines are skipped, that the team will likely enter the realm of chaos. Well, I am not convinced and anyone who has ready my post Unhappy with Agile … revert to Waterfall. Is this really The answer? and especially Steven’s comment will realise that we used parts of scrum to raise transparency and collaboration in a team that was not heading in the right direction at the time. I remember rattling many cages and that at one stage both the stakeholders and the team were upset with my colleague and I who both shared the scrum master responsibility, but when the team saw the change in course and eventually the sheer impossible release, the attitudes changed.
  • How do we deal with scrum smells effectively?
    • identify them early, place them on the impediments list and take action!

Your opinions and comments are welcome to the above!

The quick reference poster went through another few iterations of change, which as mentioned will be posted on  shortly.


  1. Added the concept of user stories.
  2. Added a user story template.
  3. Added a vision template from Geoffrey Moore, “Crossing the Chasm”.

That’s it for today … I am exhausted after two very intense days.

Three Employees Slumped Over In Chairs And Sleeping During A Boring Staff Meeting While A Shocked Manager Watches Clipart Illustration Image

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