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SCRUM - What's That All About - Overview

I've been using Agile/SCRUM for a number of years and it's been working great for me and development teams I've managed.  Agile/SCRUM is a project management methodology that is very different from your traditional WATERFALL technique.  The process is simple, clear and flexible, unlike WATERFALL. By delivering a product in an iterative and incremental approach, you maximize the opportunity for regular customer feedback and ROI. 

The way it works, is you have a small manageable team of 5-7, and those team members are cross-functional. Which means, each team members has all the necessary skill-sets to accomplish the desired work without depending on other people outside the core team. 

The team also relies on self-organizing.  There really is no team manager who dictates work (Tasks), or how to solve problems. The team decides as a whole.  normally during a Daily Scrum. 

Team meetings are held on a daily basis for only 15 minutes.  This is to optimize productivity and performance.  Below are the following ceremonies for the team. 

1. Daily Stand-up: 15 minutes where each team members provided their updates (1) What they did yesterday, (2) What they are doing today, (3) and any impediments or blockers. 

2. Estimating/Planning: This is  where the team gathers together and estimates task size in the backlog that would be included in a SPRINT. This is where the team commits to a certain amount of work at the very beginning of a SPRINT and how to deliver it. 

3. Sprint Review: This is where the team gathers with the stakeholders and provides an overview of the work that was completed in the SPRINT. 

4. Sprint Retrospective:  After the Sprint Review/Demo, the team gathers and discusses lessons learned, and how to do better in areas that need improvement for the next SPRINT. 

The beauty of SCRUM is the promotion and culture for members to:

1. Be interactive over processes and tools

2. Provide a working software 

3. Collaboration with team members and other teams

4. Quickly responding to change, and minimize risk.

The next topic, I will provide more details on the SCRUM Ceremony and where the SCRUM Master and SCRUM Product owners are involved. 

Here is a bit of history: 

'Pigs" and "Chickens" is an analogy used in the SCRUM software development model to define the type of role an attendee can pal at a Daily Scrum meeting. 

In rugby, scrum means, "restart the game" For developers, a Daily Scrum meeting at the beginning of the day where team members take stock of where they are on a project and determine what needs to be done next.  

If a SCRUM attendee is a PIG, it means he/she is directly accountable for completion of a given Task. If the attendee is s CHICKEN, he/she may be somewhat involved in the task at hand but not the person whose "Bacon is on the line" if the task is not complete in time.  At Daily Scrum, PIGS talk, and Chickens are silent - Chickens can only Listen. 

The original inspiration for the choice of pig and chicken comes from this story: 

The pig and chicken are walking down a road, The Chicken looks at the pig and says "Hey, why don't we open a restaurant?" The pig looks back at the chicken and says "Good idea, what do you want to call it?" The chicken thinks about it and say's "Why don't we call it HAM and EGGS? I don't think so, says the Pig, "I'll be committed but you'd only be involved". 


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