There is a God and his name is Henrik…

shaolinda, Thursday, November 20th, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Power Racing, Power Soccer

Our eminent Executive Producer Richard held a two hour “getting to know scrum”-session with the racing team today. It was partially based on some equally eminent slides by Henrik Kniberg, the number one God in the house of Scrum according to Richard :)

And I agree. Those two days of Scrum Mastering he took us through were filled with realistic, eye opening observations and examples from real life, all delivered with a great sense of humour and self-perception. Entertaining and educational.

So, we agree that Henrik is on the same level as Jesus. Minimum. Maybe he’s Jesus’ older brother. Anyway, what was interesting to see today, was that the developers themselves didn’t have a hard time getting the core values or principles of Scrum and Agile. They could relate. They nodded and smiled and remembered projects they’d been part of that were very similar to those presented on the slides.

And that’s the beauty of Scrum. It’s all about common sense. It’s not the magic bullet. It’s not (despite what I said about Henrik) a divine solution of all evil in the world. It’s just a matter of facing reality, accepting facts and STOP LYING!

A stakeholder (investor/publisher) want something. They ask someone (CEO/Project Manager/Sales Director) how long it will take to build and how much money it’s gonna cost. That someone wants to get the contract. In order to get it, they lie. Yes. They know they can’t make any promises, they know everything changes during the production cycle, they know software development isn’t predictable… still they make promises.

The traditional waterfall method isn’t based on mutual trust or the acceptance of change as a given factor. And that’s why most projects of that kind are destined to fail. (I know there are endless ways to define “fail” or “success”, but still…) Things change. People reconsider. Stuff happens. Nothing, ever, follows the plan.

And that whole trust/lie-issue is covered in this excellent presentation by Henrik (it’s in Swedish, sorry all you foreign people dying to know more about why scrummers don’t lie)

…and that’s where my focus just drops. Need coffe or water or something. I think it’s time to wrap this up and sign out. And also, it’s demo time in a few minutes. This sprint is over and we show the rest of the office, potential stakeholders etc what’s been done since last week.

I think the retrospective is gonna have to wait until tomorrow. My brain is really of no use to anyone right now. Excellent time to go through the product backlog.

See you later.

// Linda

Certified and blessed

shaolinda, Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008 at 10:01 am

Posted in Power Racing, Power Soccer

I’m a certified master of scrum. It doesn’t really mean anything else than “I participated in a Certified Scrum Master Course” - but still. It sounds kind of cool.

So, this event took place in Stockholm last week and there were four of us Power Challengians attending; me, Richard, Hannes and Tobias.

(If you haven’t got any idea whatsoever what scrum and agile is all about - take a look here:

http://agilemanifesto.org/

http://www.scrumalliance.org/

That should get you started. Just google away, there are plenty of interesting blogs and websites on agile development, scrum, xp… Have a look, it’s actually really interesting even if you’re not a programmer yourself. It’s more of a state of mind, an attitude).

Anyways, scrum is one of several agile methods and we’ve been working towards a greater scrumness at Power Challenge for the last six months or so. There are many reasons to love scrum, one is that it’s all about common sense. Another that it requires a minimum of administration - it’s very intuitive. A third - you get to use post-it notes and draw on whiteboards. A fourth, people get more involved in (and have more power over) their work. Etc. etc. etc.

This scrum course was held by Henrik Kniberg from Crisp, consultants who are experts on agile software development. It was great. Even better than great! Common sense, everyday life examples, simple methods, self managing teams… we already knew this but the genious of the whole way of thinking is still striking.

Afterwards, when talking about what we had learned, there was a certain religiousness in the air…  Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t any speaking in tounges or brainwashing taking place. On the contrary, like I said before, scrum is all about common sense and back to basics.

So, if you are at all interested in project management or software development I can really recommend some reading on the subject. Henrik’s book is a great way to start, you find it here http://www.infoq.com/minibooks/scrum-xp-from-the-trenches

Don’t worry if the terminology complicates things, we’re all beginners in the beginning, right? The very foundation of scrum is to keep things simple and remove everything that gets in the way of that, but it might take a while before the project- and code talk makes sense (it did for me!)

Give it a shot and see the world in a different light :)

// Linda, Master Of Most Things

Story points, Subaru and a lesson learned on less vs. more.

shaolinda, Thursday, June 19th, 2008 at 9:39 am

Posted in Power Racing

This weekend (as you can also read in Richards post) there was an intense event at Barkaby Airfield - a couple of the guys from the office and Max from Pole Position teamed up with some total racing maniacs for an entire day filled with fun and games = wicked Japanese cars, skid marks, smoking tires and what have you… I’ve seen the pictures and it looks awesome. Max and the rest of the guys were more than happy with the recordings (and the driving).

Don’t you just want their job?

So, what else is new? Well, this week we’ve had a really interesting and impressive meeting with some guys from Donya that create polygon reduction and optimization miracles. Of course, highly relevant to an online gaming company that certainly think that size matters! And people, let’s face it. Less is as a matter of fact less, not more, no matter what someone might try to tell you. It’s less. Littler. Not so much.

On the scrum side of things I can tell you that the burndown chart is looking great for the racing team this sprint! (and for those of you that aren’t familiar with the terminology - just follow the links to the Scrum Alliance’s glossary) My boys have worked really focused and estimated their slices well so the burndown looks splendid! I told them to take an hour off Friday afternoon but as usual they didn’t pay any attention to me.

Everybody seem to really enjoy working in a scrum environment. More power to the people that actually build the stuff, less talk about things that aren’t gonna happen anyway and more insight in what everbody is actually working on.

If you’ve ever thought of trying out agile development, read “Scrum and XP from the trenches” by Henrik Kniberg (or some other book on the subject - but Henriks book is very to the point without being to “heavy” for a beginner) After that - give it a try. Just do it, like som famous sports company usually says.

Have a great midsummer everyone!