Scrumtisch Notes, 28.02.2012

Here are some notes from the Scrumtisch in Berlin on 28.02.2012!

29 February 2012
Scrumtisch Berlin

Following is the list of topics proposed for discussion and the number of votes for each.

  • Alignment between sprint goal and the Stories that are pulled into a sprint. What to do if the Product Owner is not providing stories that align with the goal (17 Votes)
  • Testers - Which problems they face when placed on a Scrum Team. What the problems are and how they contribute to the sprint and integrate with the Team (8 Votes)
  • How long can you survive with Scrum without a Product Owner (13 Votes)
  • What is the effect and balance of communication and coordination within the Scrum Team in comparison to the expectation for productive hours (5 Votes)
  • What are the main differences between a Product Owner and a tester? (2 Votes)
  • Continuous improvement - How do you instill a sense of continuous improvement and when do you stop doing so? What is the balance of improvement versus cost? (10 Votes)
  • How can I pimp my retrospective? Make it more interesting as we go forward (7 Votes)
  • One team but two customers, how to juggle the team? (4 Votes) 

As usual we discussed the 3 most voted topics. Here we go.

Topic #1: Alignment between sprint goal and Stories 

- No vision, goal and commitment not aligned 
- No vision and so the Team is not motivated

The statements and questions discussed with regard to this first topic were the following:
- Product Owner tries to make every stakeholder happy
- Four Product Owners with 3 Teams, one is the leading Product Owner, who works on 3 separate channels (themes), communicating with 3 POs, who have no connection with one another. Does it make sense to share a common backlog?
- No clear vision, main topic is driven by systematic change (law changes)
- All teams have a common backlog
- There is a pre-selected set of stories with no lookahead. Push system?
- Why are there four Product Owners who select what the Teams are doing?
- Why isn't there a real single and ordered product backlog?
- No backlog longer than a single sprint?
- The product backlog is how you execute on a product vision?

Topic #2: Survive Scrum without a Product Owner 

- Five Teams starting out with different agile methods
- Product Owner left, taking his backlog with him
- Trying to cope with workarounds and no Product Owner 
- How can you work in this situation?

 The following issues and questions were discussed:
- Who writes stories? Story owners are writing their own stories
- No cross functional teams. Nobody drives development 
- CEO is off site with issues
- Bunch of people meet and prioritize the Stories with the stakeholders 
- The ScrumMaster is having to take the role of Product Owner, possibly degrading into project management 
- Skip the ScrumMaster in favor of a Product Owner job
- Big features are not getting through, small release plans for 3 sprints

Topic #3: Continuous improvement

- They didn't transition into Scrum and retrospectives
- The team believes that individual self improvement is enough
- Improvement could be a function of automation? 

The following issues and questions were discussed:
- How do you define improvement? No similar impediments happening, and so we are improving 
- Dealing with individual improvement versus team improvement 
- There is no number or method for measuring improvement
- Impediments - Are they defined in a binary manner? Blocking means you can't work anymore 
- Does it mean that when you have no impediments that there is no opportunity for improvement? 
- How do you compare improvement? Against what baseline? Waterfall
- Do you calculate ROI on your improvement?
- Avoid self referencing targets 






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