Yesterday we held our first Scrunch – Scrum lunch. A bunch of us got together for an hour over coffee and sandwiches to share our experiences of Scrum from a Scrum master/Scrum coach perspective. We shared our thoughts and experiences on four areas of interest:
What to do when a team decides they don’t want to have one of the regular meetings for example; retrospectives, sprint reviews
What to do if a product owner wants to add, remove or substitute a story after a sprint has started
Suggestions on how to facilitate a retrospective in which the product owner is joining by video conference
Should a sprint planning time box be strictly enforced regardless of whether planning is complete?
Review/Retro time boxes - should the time box be strictly enforced or should the conversation be left to run on in order to capture valuable points?
Ideas for engaging retros
Following our Scrunch meetup format of time boxed discussions meant we were able to easily cover these items within the hour we’d allocated to the meetup. Those of us who participated found it incredibly useful to hear other people’s ideas on situations we had encountered recently in the course of our Scrum projects.
In addition to our Boost Scrum masters and coaches we were also joined by Kevin from Datacom. Many thanks to Kevin for joining us! We’d love to see more Scrum master and Scrum coach locals joining us for some lively and engaging discussion, watch our meetup space for details of our next Scrunch.
A few months back we started getting together with our Shanghai office for a fortnightly Scrum forum. For an hour we discuss ideas and issues we encounter in our daily work life as Scrum masters and coaches.
We’ve found our forum really useful in helping each other to further develop as Scrum practitioners, and now we’d like to start opening our doors to Scrum practitioners outside Boost. We’ve organised a meet-up, it’s a Scrum lunch, and we’ve called it Scrunch. Having given our meet-up a catchy name we’re now looking for Scrum coaches and Scrum masters (but all Scrum practitioners are welcome) to come along and share their experiences. This will be a lightly facilitated chance to share & discuss the successes, challenges and opportunities you’re facing working with Scrum teams.
Bring your own lunch and Boost will supply soft-drinks (we have cola & creaming soda!), tea & coffee.
How it works
Each session will have a facilitator who will be responsible for timekeeping to ensure everything runs smoothly.
The first 20 minutes will be general chit chat and during this time anyone can propose a topic by writing it on a sticky and putting that on the wall.
Everyone will then dot vote to prioritise the topics.
Discussion of the first topic will be time-boxed to 8 minutes with subsequent topics time-boxed to 4 minutes. At the end of each time box the facilitator will ask everyone to determine whether they would like to move to the next topic or continue discussing the current topic for another 4 minutes.
We’d love for you to join us for our first meet up on Wednesday 27th of June 12pm, visit our Scrunch meet-up page for more info and to sign up.
In an ever more competitive world, Agile and Scrum are fast becoming necessities. We’re started a new company in Shanghai, China to support Chinese organisations as they adopt Scrum and work towards being Agile.
We’ve been on the ground in Shanghai for just four months now. This is my third trip and the city is as vibrant and exciting as always. The thing that strikes me most about Shanghai is the energy, this vibrant, bustling community where anything is possible.
My commute just got longer.
When I am talking to people about our new office in Shanghai they, invariably, have one question: “Why China?”. It’s an easy question to answer, but not as easy to understand without having visited China in the last few years. When we were considering a move into the Chinese market we considered the pros and cons, looked at the risks and opportunities and, as much as we could, undertook due diligence. None of this prepared me for our exploratory trip in October last year. As soon as we hit the ground the opportunity became real. The entreprenurial spirit in China is palpable.
We are currently working with two startups in Shanghai, providing them with the support to become Agile and to experience the improved focus, transparency and productivity that Scrum delivers. Last week we attended the Shanghai Scrum gathering and met a host of new Agilistas. It was an interesting and exciting time and we came away with new friends and new ideas.
If you are interested in what we are doing in China, or would just like to chat about the opportunities and challenges in this burgeoning new market, get in touch for a coffee and a chat.
In the meantime here is a slideshow of images, mostly from around our office in Xintiandi.
We know a few people missed a spot on the last Certified Scrum Master course we ran in March this year, so we’re doing it again and we’ve managed to get Kane Mar booked in to run the course again. Anyone who attended Kane’s free talk here in March will be familiar with his engaging and informative style. Kane is a full-time Scrum trainer and Scrum coach and has been writing about Agile software development since 2005, you can read more on his website.
The course will take place on Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th September at our Wellington office.
We recommend that you get in early as places on this course go pretty fast. If you’d like to find out more about securing a spot, give us a call on 04 939 0062 or email us on [email protected].
Every Friday we run free workshops about Agile development here at the Boost offices in Wellington. To find out more, read on. If you’re already keen to sign up, scroll down to the end of this post, or email [email protected].
Here at Boost, our Agile development practices – Scrum in particular, are well embedded. We’re now running both internal projects and all of our client projects with Scrum. We keep meeting more and more people curious about how using Agile might help their organisations. So in the latter half of last year we sat down and developed a two-hour workshop, Introduction to Scrum, which introduces the main Agile ideas and practices, with a special focus on the Scrum techniques that we use. We tested the workshop with clients and other people, and got really good feedback.
We’ve been running these as public workshops since late last year. There’s a workshop session available every Friday from 2pm to 4pm, and we’re alternating between Introduction to Scrum and Writing Great Agile User Stories. We’re also looking at developing further workshops.
Workshop 1: Introduction to Scrum
The Introduction to Scrum workshops are run by Boost’s managing director Nathan Donaldson, a certified Scrum master.
We start off by talking about where Agile has come from, and how it’s different from traditional Waterfall development.
Then we’ll talk about the different roles in Scrum:
We’ll cover off the core ‘artifacts’ in Scrum:
And then run you through the Scrum sprint rhythm:
After this, we’ll talk about some of the improvements we’ve seen in projects and organisations that have adopted Agile, like more communication, better specifications, less waste and less rework, better prioritisation and planning, and happier, more productive teams. We’ll talk about the challenges of introducing Agile practices to an organisation for the first time.
In the last five minutes we’ll run a quick retrospective on the session, so you can tell us what you liked and what we could improve. Continuous improvement is one of the core principles of Agile, and we apply it to these workshops too.
Workshop 2: Writing Great Agile User Stories
Writing Great Agile User Stories is run by Courtney Johnston, one of our project managers, a certified Scrum master and experienced Product Owner. The workshop is a focused and hands-on introduction to writing user stories and creating a product backlog.
How to write user stories
How not to write user stories
How to write acceptance criteria
About Done definitions
How to create and maintain your product backlog
How user stories are estimated by the team.
As with Introduction to Scrum, at the end of the session we do a quick retrospective to figure out what worked well, and what improvements we can make.
Who are the workshops for?
Introduction to Scrum
This workshop will be helpful for anyone involved in website and software development. We’ve had project managers, usability analysts, programmers, designers and writers attend, and everyone has found something useful in them. It doesn’t matter in the least if you’re public sector, private sector, work for a charity or a start-up, or are just plain curious.
Writing Great Agile User Stories
This workshop will be helpful for people who have already had some experience or exposure to Scrum, and who want to learn more about this particular aspect. It will be especially helpful for people new to or thinking of taking on the Product Owner role.
How many people can attend?
We cap attendees at 6 people; this is the best number for discussion and sharing experiences.
You can come along as a team – that way, you can talk about how you manage things currently, and what you’re looking to change. But we’re also happy for people to sign up in ones and twos; it’s just as useful and sometimes even more interesting to have a bunch of different perspectives in the room.
Where are the workshops held?
We hold the workshops here at the Boost offices in central Wellington. You won’t be trapped in a stuffy little room – it’s nice and spacious, with great views over to Mount Victoria.
What does this cost?
Nothing. The workshops are completely free, and completely obligation free.
We’re running these as free sessions for two reasons:
We really think people would benefit from using Agile methods to run their projects
We’ve learned a lot from the Wellington and international Agile communities, and want to keep the sharing going