One of the key success factors of Scrum is a prioritized product backlog. Somehow I thought this might be easy, boy was I wrong. I’m trying to figure out why it is that I cannot get a single prioritized list of work out of business and I came up with these observations:

  • People don’t want to communicate with each other
  • People are not aligned to the common vision/goal
  • People do not understand, or don’t believe in, the value of prioritization
  • IT BA’s are interfering with Business’ prioritization

First day back at work…

The first day back at work after the course was surprisingly interesting. Several people were extremely curious about the CSM course (this is good) and wanted to know more. I ended up explaining what we were doing wrong (to the best of my knowledge) and what I believed (or was told to believe?) was the best way to do it (for now I’ll follow the principle of doing it by the book first, I think it’s the best approach especially from a junior in the field). I was surprised at the level of interest from people, this will help in the change we need to make in the place. I ran it through my manager and as predicted he was eager for my “proposal”, which I will now start working on. I think I’m going to take for following approach:

  • Phase 1 – Understand the current way we work by mingling with the existing “teams” during their work day and scrum meetings and trying to get a feel of what they’re up to.
  • Phase 2 – Document the above.
  • Phase 3 – Not sure, we’ll see what happens after 1 & 2 I guess…

The CSM Course

The Certified ScrumMaster course in itself was extremely interesting and I’d recommend it to anyone who can get to it. It was also extremely difficult to find in South Africa but I finally stumbled on a course given by Boris Gloger (hosted by Peter Hundermark) and managed to get into it. If you’re thinking of going Scrum, or any agile approach for that matter, this is a definite must have on your list, not so much for the “certification”, but for the sheer volume of knowledge you’ll take away from it. Be prepared to be overwhelmed, but in a nice way…

Certified ScrumMaster…

… ok now what? I guess that’s the biggest question I went away with from the CSM course I completed today. The course itself was extremely interesting and I think it served two purposes, the one was to reinforce my existing knowledge and the second to correct it, the latter being more prevelant. It was refreshing to discover that what I thought was being done incorrectly at my company was, in fact, being done incorrectly.

The course was also an eye-opener and sort of a wake up call. I have always liked the agile approach but have always been a fence sitter when it comes to implementation, trying a bit here, trying a bit there, never fully committing. I think what this course has given me is not a piece of paper to say I’m now somehow “qualified” to be a Scrum Master, but rather a direction, a sort of impetus to do something constructive with the knowledge I’ve gathered.

What am I going to do with it? I’m not sure, but I have a plan. I’m currently employed by a company that is attempting Scrum. I say attempting because I now know how horribly they’re failing. Yes, projects appear to be working and coming in with reasonable success, but not without monumentus effort at varing stages through the sprint(s). I think I’m now capable enough to fix this and that is my plan. I will draw up a draft proposal documenting what I believe to be the points in our process that need to be corrected. I’ll then present it to the IT manager and see what happens. Being a strong proponent of Scrum and the agile approach I’m hoping he likes it. From there, well, let’s learn to walk before we run…