Agile/Scrum blog

Scrum causes more change for developers than you might think!

Harm Pauw Door: Harm Pauw,  11-07-2016
Onderwerp: Development Team  Craftsmanship  

When starting to use Scrum as a framework, often a lot of attention is given to the Product Owner and Scrum Master roles. This makes sense, since these are roles that didn’t exist before and play a key part in the Scrum framework. The development team of course also gets attention: developers need to learn the new way of working, know the events, roles and artifacts of Scrum. But besides that, there’s also a lot that stays the same for developers. They still develop features using the same programming language, they still have to test their software and release it once in a while, so that all stays sort of the same right?

Well, no. Scrum requires a different way of working on all fronts for developers in comparison with a traditional way of working like Waterfall. If you keep developing software in the same way you did before, chances are that you aren’t able to deliver valuable and high quality software each sprint. So what changes for the developer?

First of all, the responsibility of the developer is different. As part of the development team, developers are not just responsible for doing the programming tasks. They are responsible for delivering high quality software in small increments that not only is fit for purpose, but also is maintainable and of high quality. The team members have to work together and not focus on individual results, but on team results.

Developers need to be transparent and open about their work. They must be customer oriented, collaborate with them directly and actively come up with the most valuable solution for a problem instead of merely following a specification that somebody else wrote. Since developing software is a complex process, they need to think about getting feedback on their work as soon and often as possible, and be able to easily deal with change. Techniques like slicing features into small parts and deliver value in small increments are very important skills.

Technical excellence and modern development practices also play an important part. While developers still have to develop software, the way they have to do it changes a lot. Quality code, automated tests, Continuous Integration/Delivery and an architecture that welcomes change are some of the things needed to continuously deliver high quality software in short cycles that stays maintainable in the long run. For most developers, this means learning extra practices and supporting tools.

So beware of only making developers familiar with the Scrum framework, but also coach them on new development practices, skills and responsibilities. In the Professional Scrum Developer (PSD) training, we only spend a part of the first morning on explaining the Scrum framework and corresponding roles, events and artifacts. The rest of this three-day course covers topics like Backlog Refinement, Agile Testing, Code Quality, Emergent Architecture, Continuous Integration/Delivery and other modern development practices. These topics are essential to be effective as a developer who is part of a Scrum Team.

Having developers that not only know Scrum, but also knows their responsibilities and knows how to apply their skills and modern software development practices to deliver valuable and quality software each Sprint is what will make the difference. Scrum isn’t based on being as efficient as possible but on being as effective as possible. The development team plays a big part in achieving this. So spend at least as much time teaching developers on craftsmanship as on knowledge of the Scrum framework. Using Scrum effectively to deliver value to your customers encompasses a lot more than just following the rules of the Scrum Framework.

Building the right thing - The outcome of high performance teams

Door: Dianne Elsinga,  21-06-2016
Onderwerp: high performance teams  

Reliable high quality software delivery is essential to be successful as a business in today’s fast changing world. But in Europe it’s hard to find qualified passionate techies, who can develop the software you need to realize your business ambitions. In countries like India technical people are readily available. That’s not new of course. What is new though is that the Agile mind-set is becoming more popular in India also. Many developers don’t feel like working in small cubicles anymore. They don’t want to be told what to do by somebody higher in the hierarchy. And they don’t want to be an invisible radar in a company with 50.000 anonymous others.

Needs of High Performing Teams

Alex van der Star Door: Alex van der Star,  20-05-2016
Onderwerp: Agile Management   agile  Agile Coaches  Agile Coach  Agile Teams  Culture  Development Team  High Performing Teams  Scrum  Scrum Teams  Team Happiness  Team morale  What motivates people  zelfsturende teams  

The needs that High Performing Teams have

In my previous blogpost, I wrote about the characteristics of High Performing Teams. To come to these characteristics I did a small literature review. For this part, I will establish the needs that need to be filled in in order to enable teams to become high performing.

Remember, I am still talking about a team of knowledge workers developing and maintaining a software product.

The Prowareness Culture - Commitment

Door: Barry Overeem, Marten Meij, Stephan Vlieland,  19-05-2016
Onderwerp: Cultuur  

Prowareness is a coaching & consultancy firm with distributed Agile teams located in India. We help organizations transform into software-driven responsive enterprises. In the past few years Prowareness has been growing rapidly. To enable and harness this growth Prowareness uses the “cell philosophy”. When a team (cell) reaches a certain size, it’s divided into two. This ensures the separate teams preserve a maintainable size and further growth is stimulated.

Prowareness has formed its culture along the way and it appears to be a culture with lots of differences compared to traditional organizations. People that enter our office feel this culture right away and are sometimes surprised and intrigued by our approach.

The Prowareness culture is based on 7 values:
·        Teamwork
·        Continuous learning
·        Energy & craziness
·        Commitment
·        Ambition
·        Openness and transparency
·        Integrity

Undoubtedly, Prowareness is the most Agile company in the Netherlands. Yes, this is a bold statement. A statement that asks for a more detailed description. Therefore we will write a series of blog posts about our culture. Hereby culture is considered a result of the present mindset, behavior and skills. The areas by which a culture can be influenced are symbols, power structures, organizational structure, control systems, rituals and stories. We will describe the supporting activities and practices Prowareness uses to foster the values.

This blog post will be about the cultural value ‘Commitment’.