Coffeehouse Thread

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scrum in microsoft

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  • User profile image
    alvar

    Hi,
    sorry if posting at a totally inapproapriate place, I have just a problem I have the feeling someone of you could help me:

    Yesterday our company just jumped into the scrum development and management methodology and I feel somehow confused by the way things were happening yesterday. One of my first questions yesterday during the series of meetings was which companies use scrum really today. I was told, by one of the most experienced, that 85 percent of microsoft teams use scrum.

    1. Is that really true (the best would be if someone from microsoft could express himself)???

    2. Does their scrum look like ours?
      - After some introduction, we were told, that our most experienced developer has become product owner what means, that he cannot help us with organizing our team, what was our first goal - we (8 people) spent many hours discussing, if we should use time estimates or not, how our meetings should look like,  and other things, which should be in my opinion given by someone who has much more exprerience then we do, especially with the scrum.

      - Can this "self-organization" really work? Does it really work so in microsoft? Team of 8 discussing things without any really experience boss to say, what doesnt really make sense?

    3. Which other big companies use scrum and how in detail?

    I will start looking over the internet of course, I just had the feeling, that this parallel discussion could give me some other clues, as we are really pressed by time - our first sprint has only 4 days and we should do 3 backlog items (we decided that as a team, what I also dont understand - normally you have a business plan, which is the most important to keep to) - designing team communication strategy, architecture knowledge disctribution strategy and domain knowledge distribution strategy.
    I have the feeling, that we could work out at least one of the items instead of pinning paper notes "brainstorming", "discussion", "review" .... and so on to the big blackboard (why not to use much better tools that a blackboard??). Am I wrong? Are the 15 years of my it development exeperience instincts wrong?

    Thanx for any hint in advance
    alvar
    ps Please dont use this post as a chance to say that it doesnt work in
    ms ...

  • User profile image
    PetKnep

    85% of statistics are made up. I have no data and will not provide any anecdotal evidence. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the guy is pulling your chain though. [6] You would think the internets would say something if 85% of MS dev teams were on scrum.

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    PetKnep wrote:
    85% of statistics are made up. I have no data and will not provide any anecdotal evidence. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the guy is pulling your chain though. You would think the internets would say something if 85% of MS dev teams were on scrum.

    The WDS team used a modified version of scrum and I expect our new group will keep using some sort of it.

    The main thing is that you should not take it as a religion. Forget about books and websites that tell you the stupidest things as they were edicts from lesser gods. I think the most important thing scrum provides is a way to track progress; we had scrum meetings three times a week that went on like this:

    1 - I walk in with my laptop, attach it to the projector and start up a tracking spreadsheet (that I just built from our bug database five minutes ago)

    2 - Devs make fun of me/my accent/my sweaters.

    3 - Going alphabetically, I filter the spreadsheet by dev and he tells what he's doing and an estimate of time remaining for each bug; I make a little note on each bug entry.

    4 - If some dev is done with his work, do some quick rebalancing, taking bugs from overloaded devs and reassigning, this is always based on consensus.

    5 - The meeting ends in 30 minutes, I send the spreadsheet to the whole team and update the bug database with the new estimates.

    The key was to keep the whole thing fast and fun, so everyone was involved and felt ownership of thier area.

    Also, we had daily triage meetings among PMs to decide what to do with issues that cropped out during testing the previous day.

    It worked pretty well, as everybody could check very quickly where we were in the project and how much time/effort we had left.

    If you have any specific question, I'd be happy to answer (please don't mock my highlighter yellow hoodie, please Smiley )

  • User profile image
    rmeindl

    As the guy who irritated his colleague Alvar I should answer to his post: First things first, was the “85%” made up? Yes, completely. Period. So why have I done this? It is a little trick to give critical people something questionable so they start to make some research by them self and start a discussion. Nothing better can happen! So I knew that some teams at MS use SCRUM (or a modified version) and it worked, the discussion has started. Maybe this trick is unprofessional, but it work sometimes.

    As for SCRUM: it is a ideal tool to draw the line between strategic and tactical planning which was non existing or changed on day to day basis in our company. Tactical decisions have stay with the team (they write the code and that is what matters), the decision on what target a product should aim is strategic and should stay with the customer or the product owner.

    Certainly SCRUM and Agile Development is hyped and give consultants sometimes a good reason to get your money, but the popularity helps to reimplement some values for development of good software such as regular deployments, team communication and tractability of the project. What matters is only to deliver your work in time and make sure everyone is satisfied by the result.

    I personally have used SCRUM since years and it worked also pretty well and yes, you have to shape it so it fits your team and your company (without leaving out the good parts …)

    Thanks for the response and once more I apologize for the made up statistics Wink

  • User profile image
    littleguru

    PaoloM wrote:
    2 - Devs make fun of me/my accent/my sweaters.


    Haha! Wondering how they would laugh about mine.

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    rmeindl wrote:
    As the guy who irritated his colleague Alvar I should answer to his post: First things first, was the “85%” made up? Yes, completely. Period. So why have I done this? It is a little trick to give critical people something questionable so they start to make some research by them self and start a discussion. Nothing better can happen! So I knew that some teams at MS use SCRUM (or a modified version) and it worked, the discussion has started. Maybe this trick is unprofessional, but it work sometimes.

    While you may have had the best intentions, this is the exact definition of trolling.

    Please do not do it ever again.

  • User profile image
    JKelley

    The Developer Solutions team uses a kind of light SCRUM for our work.  We run 5 week sprints with a rotating SCRUM master who's in charge of running the daily meeting.  The meeting lasts about 15 minutes in theory, sometimes closer to 30.  No laptops allowed, except for Fridays when we do a demo of someone's work that hasn't been seen by the team yet.

    We aren't quite as backlog driven as traditional SCRUM would probably indicate, but it works for us.  In between each sprint we take a week and do planning.  It's a great way to have a little bit of slush in the schedule for finishing stuff that didn't quite get done, or getting a jump start on the next sprint's work.

    I actually just finished my first scrum master rotation and it was cool doing all the work for it.  I had to do a sprint kickoff meeting, we also did a halfway point status review, and a sprint retrospective meeting to present to ourselves and the next level of management what we'd accomplished.

  • User profile image
    Ion Todirel

    littleguru wrote:
    
    PaoloM wrote: 2 - Devs make fun of me/my accent/my sweaters.


    Haha! Wondering how they would laugh about mine.
    they would laught louder Smiley

  • User profile image
    JChung2006

    What the hell is scrum anyways?  I am vaguely familiar with the word as it relates to rugby.

  • User profile image
    Ang3lFir3

    JChung2006 wrote:
    What the hell is scrum anyways?  I am vaguely familiar with the word as it relates to rugby.


    The name comes from rugby..... for more info... you can start here :
    http://hanselminutes.com/default.aspx?showID=32

    its a good strt with lots of links to getting more info

    there is also some decent information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_(development)

    and here: http://www.controlchaos.com/about/

  • User profile image
    JChung2006

    So it's the latest "agile" fad then?  Meh.

  • User profile image
    PetKnep

    rmeindl wrote:

    Thanks for the response and once more I apologize for the made up statistics



    You should really be apologizing to the people that you misled.Perplexed

    When I go to the car dealer, I expect to get jerked around. When I go to a tech seminar, not so much. Maybe I don't go to enough to know if this kind of thing is the norm.

  • User profile image
    KosherCoder

    rmeindl wrote:
    As the guy who irritated his colleague Alvar I should answer to his post: First things first, was the “85%” made up? Yes, completely. Period. So why have I done this? It is a little trick to give critical people something questionable so they start to make some research by them self and start a discussion. Nothing better can happen! So I knew that some teams at MS use SCRUM (or a modified version) and it worked, the discussion has started. Maybe this trick is unprofessional, but it work sometimes.


    You betrayed the trust of your team. You failed as a leader. Not just lying, but the arrogance you show trying to explain it. If you expect technical excellence and accuracy from your team, then you need to work on yourself first.

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