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New blog will be here soon

Moving blog posts from Quick Blockcast to WordPress platform seems to work. I imported posts, comments, categories and tags. The trick to get it working seems to be that you must allow WordPress to create users when you import. This is because only draft post were imported as user that WordPress created other posts have no user assigned to them. Now I have just find out a way to assign users to all published posts;)

Kanban board exprience

I was last week working with system verification team that had problems using scrum. No wonder they had problems because scrum is meant for managing product development and not to map parts of sequential life cycle model to scrum. The solution to distribute the system verification team to development teams and do the end testing as part of sprint (iteration) work was not an option at this stage (hopefully in future).

Team’s biggest problem was that they were not able to plan even for one weeks of work. This was due to interruptions and problems they found that prevented them to continue on work that they had planned. So we decided to try kanban board as work management practice. For more information about kanban development you can read free minibook provided by infoq.

The idea of kanban board seemed to fit this situation nicely but then we started to discuss about work in progress (wip) limits n and ran into problems. As this was system verification team they were concerned that wip limits are not feasible because they tend to have blockers in their normal work and development teams are needed to remove the blockers.  So we decided to start with big wip limits and meanwhile try to speed-up responses from development teams so blockers wont shut down the whole teams work when using wip limits.

The team was happy to abandon sprints but decided to keep retrospectives with steady intervals. Daily stand-ups they also found useful and decided to keep them to manage their work. The planning cycle was changed so that work items were planned pretty much as in past but instead of using iteration cycle to use the release cycle to create the cadence for planning. The planned work was then only managed using the board to visualise the progress to team and stakeholders.

Team also wanted to keep the scrum master even they were not using any more scrum by the book which I found interesting. When I will visit the team in future I will try to dig out what the scrum master is doing in this new setup.

To me this exercise was useful. I realized that kanban development works best if you are able to map enough of your value stream to kanban board so wip limits can be used to remove bottlenecks. The challenge with kanban seems to be the same as with scrum if you only use it in development and not with whole value stream the benefits that you gain are modest.

From fairytale characters to reality

I received interesting question related to Fairytale characters. “Where do you get these characters that are needed to make new product development successful?”

I bet that most organisations already have these people. The real problem is how to get them to rise to their full potential? When scrum is introduced to organisation I have observed that most people will meet the challenge and fill the demanding positions if there is enough freedom in organisation for it to happen.

The sad part is that scrum also reveals the weaknesses in organisations capability to develop people’s skills. In some cases I have seen organisations to fall back in old management habits because they are not willing to wait the people to learn scrum and how to enhance speed of product development by developing highly skilled people.

Scrum and fairytale characters

I was discussing with a friend of mine let’s call him Arto last week. Arto had a worry that scrum introduces fairytale characters to organisations. E.g. Product owner who really cares about what she is developing and is able to understand the whole product domain in so detail level that if team asks her to clarify some small detail in acceptance test she is able to do that.Then we have scrum master a person who understand scrum so deeply that she is able to teach the whole organisation how to do scrum and is also able to remove all obstacles from the way so that the team can perform. And of course a team that is able to deliver working SW after each sprint.

I first agreed with Arto but then I started to think what kind of persons are needed to build successful products. Scrum introduces role descriptions with high standard and to create successful products you actually need person that fit to scrum role descriptions. Now when organisation does not have such person available scrum works as it has been intended it makes the problems visible.

How organisation deal with this shows bigger dysfunctions in at whole company level. E.g. If a company has tradition to solve problems by appointing managers to solve them we soon end up having managers called scrum of scrum manager who’s responsibility is to solve communication problems between teams.

To wrap up in my opinion scrum does not introduce fairytale figures to organisation instead it sets highstandards for people that participate to product development andmakes the current situation painfully visible.

Homepage Up

First blog text just to see how this new blog platform is working. I am still in progress of setting up my companys homepage and it seems that it will take still few days to get all the content here. Now lets check how this blog looks like when I publish it.

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