Author: Shiv Sivakumar

CHOW #76- Beyond buying pizzas!

When talking about a manager’s role in supporting a Scrum team, people often say, that a key thing is buying pizzas for team members every now and then! While pizzas are great especially when they come free, as a senior leader – say, a Director of Engineering two levels removed from a Scrum team – you may encounter some situations that are a tad more difficult! Assuming you are one such leader, here is a situation for you to address. The Scrum Master (SM) of one of your teams has been having major issues with a Tech Lead (TL)...

Read More

Between a Rock and a Hardening Sprint!

The topic of hardening sprints is much-discussed among Agile practitioners – sometimes in purist indignation but more in expressing helplessness, I feel! Let’s first understand what a hardening sprint is – it is an additional sprint that some Scrum teams run at the completion of all the earlier “regular” sprints. Over time, the hardening sprint becomes accepted as inevitable by organizations and a dragon impossible to slay. Here is our take on an approach that can help such organizations to muster the courage and will to at least cut the dragon to size if not eliminate it. Step #1:...

Read More

After Scrum Master, what?

Some time back, I had the opportunity to read about the growth paths available to a Scrum Master (SM). The thinking behind this was that the SM role for a given Scrum team is not forever. There comes a point in time when the team is able sustain Scrum adoption by itself and the need for Scrum Master assistance reduces significantly. In that case, what does the Scrum Master do keep herself gainfully occupied and grow career-wise? Mike Cohn in his blog talks about the following options: Take on the SM role for additional teams and in more complex product environments...

Read More

CHOW #62- “Bite what you can chew” Responsibilities a Scrum Master can take

Barbara Jones had been a Scrum Master for a year with a team and had done a good job getting the team to a good level maturity in Agile adoption. The need for her support had reduced over time. It occupied Barbara just for a few hours per week on an average. Barbara approached her manager Jeff Sanders for additional responsibility to be SM for a few more teams. Jeff listed projects which were possible candidates for Barbara. Some of these were just starting up and had no designated Scrum Master as yet. Other projects in the list were...

Read More

CHOW #61- Thrust into development!

Allrounders is a team of 9 persons supporting some of the important applications in the organization. They were using Kanban so far and are doing well as a team. Anil, their Scrum Master is efficient and is helping the team focus on improving cycle time etc. Last month one of the applications they were supporting was phased out and the team was asked to work on couple of important initiatives that the organization is focusing on for the current year. Team members are not very experienced in handling development work and are looking forward to Anil for help. Anil himself has not handled a team doing this kind of work and is discussing with the team how to proceed etc. Can you help Anil with some possible approaches?   Suggested Solution Anil will have to first find out what how much of teams’ capacity is available after the phasing out of one of the applications. Based on that he can plan how much work can be taken for the new initiatives. Possible steps which Anil can take are: 1. Observe the cycle time and throughput and determine roughly how much capacity team has to work on initiatives. 2. Understand the stories defined for the new initiatives and plan the release. 3. If the support work has significantly reduced, team can probably adopt the Scrum model and accommodate support work...

Read More