Today, I attended a private Q&A session with Jeff Sutherland in Paris. For those who don't know, Jeff is one of the fathers of the Scrum development framework and helped to write the Agile Manifesto.
The session was organized by Xebia France, a training center focused on Agile methodologies used to work with him. I had the surprise to be invited last week to this special event. This was a great opportunity to meet Jeff and to better understand Scrum.
As this was a private event, we were only 30 people invited. Before it begins, my thoughts were that Jeff will only occasionally speak during the session. But Luc Legardeur CTO at Xebia took only five minutes to introduce himself, Xebia and the event. Jeff finally made all the session himself. This was, again, a good surprise, I have to thank Xebia for that.
Jeff started the session with a short presentation of Scrum. He chosen the example of a company running CMMI level 5 on which he helps to deploy Scrum to explain the benefits of the framework. We had a lot of numbers and charts to compare CMMI to Scrum productivity and speed in delivering the products. I will not even try to give you the perfect report of what has been said during the session here, but better what I have understood because Jeff talked in English language with passion, but quickly. So please be well as I could have misunderstood some of the things reported here.
Example of a CMMI level 5 company switching to Scrum
- The company was more than twice as productive when working with Scrum than working with CMMI.
- The power of Scrum is to reduce near to zero the rework to do on a development compared to any other project management method.
- A Scrum project working with a Product Owner is twice as productive than a project running without one.
- It really helps to increase productivity to give an estimate duration for the resolution of a bug when you analyse or report it.
- Removing a problematic user story in a sprint and working on it later, finally always help to deliver a working product more quickly.
When the Scrum presentation ends, we started the Q&A session. The Q&A session was a bit short, but to be honest it was really hard to ask relevant questions without concrete subject to talk about.
Question and Answers
Key questions and answers I noted during the Q&A session were :
- Q:What is the place of a business analyst in a scrum team? A:Even if he has to work on the sprint, a business analyst must better not be a Product Owner. He preferably work with the Product Owner, he is even needed to work with.
- Q:Can a software architect must work before a sprint? A:The software architect better have to work during the first week of a sprint, and later with the team when needed. He has to work with the Product Owner to establish the release plan. Jeff reminds us that in any case, the documentation must be written during the sprint, while the project is built, never after the work has been done.
- Q:From which service does a Product Owner better have to came from? A:Jeff gives us some examples with highly qualified people knowing nothing to the product they were working on coaching a team to the failure and by contrary some Product Owners just knowing the product they were working on driving the project to a perfect success. So he tells us that a Product Owner should anyway know the product he his working on.
- Q:What about an huge company driving a project on a 10 years release objective? A:The company have to choose what it will deliver first (I imagine he means internally) and deliver it quickly. Some companies are driving 2000 people on scrum projects. The key is to synchronize all the teams on the same iteration cycle and never change this. Each hierarchy level have to do Scrum of Scrum level by level.
- Q:What tools must we use to work with Scrum? A:The better tool is the one you find appropriate to do the job you have to accomplish. But he knows some teams working with success on tools like Rally Software products, the simple but free Pivotal Tracker, and Jira.
- Q:What about fixed price contracts in Scrum? A:Jeff gives us a long answer, even writing to a paper board (where the photo on header of my blog post came from). But the main idea under his answer is that during a fixed price contract, a Scrum team will always deliver the product before a team working without, so you have to take all the opportunity this gain offers. His conclusion was approximatively that Scrum is all about new opportunities in this case.
- Q:What are the hardest things you've faced when asking non Scrum teams to now work with Scrum? A:The hardest thing is to let understand that the team have to write their tests during the sprint and not after the work ends as they are used to.
There were a cocktail offered after the talk for the participants, but I had to go.