Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Insights from PW&WCBA: Solving The Puzzle With Scrum

As we move forward from the 2012 PW&WCBA event, we'll be looking back at some key lessons learned and trends that popped up during our sessions and sharing some of the takeaways presented in our exclusive Executive Summary. If you attended the event, you may download the executive summary document on Crowdvine.

Via Flickr user Jhritz
One of our most popular sessions at PW&WCBA 2012 was "Agile Essentials: People Planning, and Product Practices" with Ellen Gottesdiener, Founder, Principal Consultant, EBG Consulting, Inc.

At one point during this session Gottesdiener briefed our audience on some of the essential components of Scrum Methodology such as:
1. Product Backlog – The backlog consists of pieces of the overall product. The product backlog is always changing according to customer requirements. The product champion prioritizes the backlog for the team.

2. Sprint Backlog - The spring backlog is the objectives of the current sprint. This backlog is created by the team as a whole and is fixed once the sprint begins.

3. Sprint – The sprint is a short time period in which the team focuses on the sprint backlog which contains small pieces of the overall product backlog. The sprint produces a working iteration of the final product. Any items not finished during the sprint go back into the product backlog to be finished at another time.

But if you (or the stakeholders that you need to convince) are new to Scrum Methodology you may find yourself struggling with the terminology and jargon. In our 2012 executive summary, author Victor A. Lopez wrote the following, and I think it's an important, simple selling point for Scrum:
"The Scrum methodology allows teams to break down the product into small, manageable pieces instead of being intimidated by the larger puzzle."
Looking at the jigsaw photo above, you couldn't say what the end result will look like, and you might find it quite challenging to try and assemble the puzzle. Many would give up without giving it a shot, and others would get frustrated without guidance after the first attempt.

Using a methodology such as scrum helps all the moving pieces of your project puzzle fall into place. In Scrum, the product champion can see the big picture and prioritize tasks for the team, just as you may choose to, say, assemble the edges of the puzzle first.

We'll be publishing insights from attendees of this year's PW&WCBA event over the next several weeks. Would you like to share your thoughts or this session or any others? Email them to Michelle LeBlanc at mleblanc@iirusa.com.

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