Thursday, August 10, 2006

Easy Scrum – 2

First I thought of writing details of each step of Scrum. with that idea in my mind, I posted “Easy Scrum – 1”. But Yesterday I did sort of a case study with one of my teams to practice Scrum. So I thought its worth to write about it and it covers the whole cycle.

Ok here it goes…

I got the team together, none of them have practiced Scrum before., I did some initial presentation of Scrum to get some idea and then gave them the case study.

The case study was a Project to make a “Vesak Lantern”. ( I have very few Sri Lankan readers reading my blog, but so many overseas readers. So its worth to explain what a Vesak Lantern is . Vesak Lantern is a Lantern we Buddhists make for the Vesak day ( Lord Buddha’s Birthday )celebration ). So all my team members have made at least one vesak lantern and they have the “Industry Knowledge” . So it was easy. I acted as the customer to change the decoration requirements of the Vesak Lantern the way I want ( It was annoying J )

Project Constraints:

Vesak day is May 21st. It’s a Project Constraint.

Product Backlog :

We have to light the lantern on the Vesak day night.

So the team got busy. First I selected a Scrum Master. And I asked them to create the product backlog.. That was interesting., Planning, Designing, Making the Skeleton, Purchasing Materials, pasting papers, Setting Light Bulbs so many things in the list., .. What happens if there is a power failure on Vesak Day.? ( Which is very common in Sri Lanka). They had the risk plan too.. the mitigation was to light a candle inside the lantern instead of a light bulb.

The design we wanted was a aero plane shape of a Lantern. But I kept on asking changes to that.

Once the Product backlog is made, it was estimated with required man power cost and the material cost. But the team had to revise it many times and recalculate it as the requirements kept on elaborating

Then the priorities were decided by the scrum master and the team., of course you cannot paste papers without making the skeleton. They prioritized the tasks accordingly


They defined sprints, durations for Sprints were vary. They selected the Items based on the resource availability and Priority for the first sprint. Sprint backlog was created.

Daily Meetings

As a good Scrum team, my fine team simulated the daily standup meetings.. But they wanted to sit and chat instead of standing, Never mind.. This is easy scrum.. so I told them that its ok.. Every day at 9AM the team meet to discuss the daily plan and 5PM to review the daily achievements.. It went on for the whole sprint..

How about the people who try to skip meetings? Do we have a penalty.. Yeah .. Rs. 100 ($1 ) should be collected from absentees and use it for team outings after some time…If I have a good team.. I will not have money in the till :-)

This is a very productive thing.. We do not slip daily targets and we do not postpone work until the last day and then struggle with it or just do something about it.. I know the team will find this bit hard at first. But they all will appreciate it after some time..

Burn down Charts

Scrum master created the Product Burn Down chart based on the items taken off for the sprint. We didn’t create any Sprint burn down charts as our duration for the sprint is very short.

Impediment List

One of the objectives of daily standup meetings is that to foresee the barriers for the team to achieve their daily workload and eliminate those barriers. So we are not waiting till the last minute project meetings in order to find why we have not achieved such tasks and to realize its too late.. They found that the guy who had to purchase material doesn’t have a vehicle to go to the stores. So they have eliminated the problem by hiring a vehicle for that.

Product backlog Delta Report

Scrum master kept on updating the product backlog Delta report. I found the status of items as follows.

Not Done (initial state)

In Progress




Lessons Learned

We completed the lessons learned after every Sprint. So we could more or less eliminate the over estimating issues in latter sprints.

Project Management office?

PMO wanted few standard reports . So we completed the Milestones report and weekly Project update report based on Product backlog.

Over all we could get the team buy – in for the method by doing a case study with lot of fun. I think if you need to introduce such methodology to your teams, this may be a good start.


+ points

Scrum is really a good way to manage projects which are quite uncertain

Every team member feel that they have a major Stake in the Project.

Team members have a very good understanding of the workload and the challenges they should face in the project as a team.

Team members don’t feel that work is assigned to them., they feel that they have volunteered to do tasks as they want to be the winning team.

Over all very good Project Control

With this method.. you are never too late.. Because you don’t wait till you are too late.

Its no more covering backside for anybody..

Difficulties I see

Sometimes its hard to practice this with people who are not in same caliber with other team members.

Taking leave affect the sprint backlog

Difficulties of committing to the final deadline due to multiple iterations

Difficulties to negotiate with project budgets time to time



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