An inspiring Scrom (Scrum) course and the question whether we are dysfunctional?

I had the pleasure of attending an inspiring Professional Scrum Master course, delivered by none other than David Starr himself.

why scrom?

Just a joke or mistype by the staff at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse, which was a phenomenal venue for the workshop. We all felt like going “back to the future” and even had the rare opportunity of using an original chalk board Smile

Here are a few pictures to give you a feel of the vibe.

WP_20141020_001WP_20141021_010 WP_20141021_005WP_20141021_003WP_20141021_004WP_20141021_007

scrum framework

When we had to deliver an off-the-cuff 2-5min training session, video recorded to rattle everyone’s cage, I decided to continue where Ross left off.

As shown in the following diagram below, he presented the scrum framework, introducing the Scrum personas, Scrum artefacts and Scrum events.


I continued to add the time-boxes, as recommended in the Scrum guide, for the events. These are maximum time boxes, guidelines and NOT detailed durations. I focused on them to make a point that we never spoke about them during the workshop and to lay the foundation for my hypothetical team.

Start with something, reflect and evolve as needed. In other words start with less (my preference) or the maximum and adapt!

  • Sprint … one month or less.
  • Scrum … 15min daily
  • Planning … maximum 8 hours for one month sprint
  • Review … maximum 4 hours for one month sprint
  • Retrospective … maximum 3 hours for one month sprint

What I really liked is that the workshop was focused more on discussing and resolving real-world scenarios, less on time box constraints. I never saw or heard any detailed information of how events should be structured … based on the biker frowns from David and feedback from colleagues during my short video taped nightmare, I did not miss anything during my usual day-dreams. I do have memories of scrum master training, many moons ago, which focused heavily on you spend x time on y during review meetings, introducing painstaking structure and process which made the scrum framework feel anything, but adaptive. Unfortunately I was most likely unable to convey this message during my video recorded session … which by the way, I *never* want to see Smile

are we dysfunctional?

I continued to present a “hypothetical” team, which adapted their framework through continuous reflection and improvements.


The variation between the normal scrum framework and the hypothetical team is summarised as follows. Average estimation differences are shown in red:

  Recommendation hypothetical team
  Product Owner Works with Development Team and Scrum Master to maximize the value of the product. Owns the backlog. Ditto
  Scrum Master Servant leader of the scrum team, removes impediments and strives to maximize the value created by the scrum team. Ditto
  Program Manager - Works with 2-3 Teams, removes impediments and works with multiple POs to order and manage the product backlogs.
  Development Team Self organizing, cross functional team of 6+-3 dedicated and typically co-located developers. Self organizing, cross functional team of 7+-2 part-time, geographically distributed and volunteer engineers. Each engineer commits an average of 0.25h/day to the project during family time. See Radio TFS and the GREAT curve ball question about (ex-nightmare) shorter delivery cycles for details.
  Planning 8-hour max for 1-month sprint 1-3x 30-45-min video conference.
  Sprint 1-month or less 3-weeks
  Scrum 15-min daily 15-min weekly + 15-min Q&A video conference
  Review 4-hours max for 1-month sprint Monthly 5min demo during a review of review video conference, sprint report by email and demo videos.
  Retrospective 3-hours max for 1-month sprint Online poll and 15min video conference.

I sent David (our instructor) and the class into the Seattle traffic, their flights and bus rides home with one question: Is this hypothetical team dysfunctional or has it adapted scrum effectively?

What do WIN_20141023_084525  think?

for more information

Comments (8)

  1. David Starr says:

    Here is what I'd look for to see if things are working well for you.

    – Is every event inspecting something and adapting something?

    – Are you producing potentially shippable results on a regular basis?

    – What are the outcomes you are producing?

    Rather than focus on exact timings, procedures, checklists, or what have you about "am I doing Scrum well", I'd hope to see if your needs are being met by the empirical model you've created based on Scrum.

    One more thing to mention is that while it is useful to segment development activities into Sprints, the actual delivery or shipment of product is in no way limited to that cadence.

    – Might someone pull new work during a Sprint if it makes sense? Sure, why not?

    – Might someone ship to production many times during a Sprint if it makes sense? Sure, why not?

    I really enjoyed your insights in class, too! 🙂

  2. David Starr says:

    Also, you're video is great 🙂

  3. David, I am sure the video is great … but I question the frowning dude talking, about the dysfunctional team 🙂

  4. Ryan Eastabrook says:

    No videos need to be posted….I'm fine with that 😉

  5. Brian Baker says:

    Not sure if it's just me, but your photos aren't showing up in this post.

  6. @Brian, sorry, there was an issue with the content server and images decided to go for a stroll over night 🙁 Forced an image update and they should be back for you now. Investigating the loss of previous images. The first image (a smiley) has not been refreshed to allow us to troubleshoot.

  7. Josh Garverick says:

    I really like the diagrams breaking down the components of Scrum.  Are those actual whiteboard captures from the training or diagrams sourced elsewhere and handed out?

  8. @Josh, these are whiteboard captures, based on a presentation by my colleague Ross and me re-drawing and adding the events. They are based on diagrams of slides handed out during the training from if you are looking for the base diagrams.

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