Scrum Tisch

2009-09-23 18:01
Title: Scrum Tisch
Location: La Vecchia Trattoria
Description: The next Scrum Tisch organized by Marion Eickmann takes place this Thursday. Since a pretty long time the format will be open for questions, prioritized by the participants again.

The location is in Niederbarnimstraße 25, near U-Bahn Samariterstrasse.
Start Time: 18:30
Date: 2009-09-24

Scrum Tisch

2009-09-23 18:01
Title: Scrum Tisch
Location: La Vecchia Trattoria
Description: The next Scrum Tisch organized by Marion Eickmann takes place this Thursday. Since a pretty long time the format will be open for questions, prioritized by the participants again.

The location is in Niederbarnimstraße 25, near U-Bahn Samariterstrasse.
Start Time: 18:30
Date: 2009-09-24

Scrum Table Berlin

2009-06-21 21:26
Last week I attended the scrum table Berlin. This time around Phillippe gave a presentation on "backlog colours", that is types of work items tracked in the backlog.

The easiest type to track are features - that is items that generate revenue and are on the wishlist of the customer. Second type of items he sees are infrastructure items - that is, things needed to implement several features but invisible to the customer. Third type are bugs. Basically these are diminishing the value of features one had already classified as done earlier in the process. Fourth and last type are technical debt items - that is shortcuts taken or bad design choices (either knowingly as intentional decision made to meet some deadline or unintentional due to lack of experience).

A very simple classification could be the following matrix:







Name Value Cost
Feature Visible Positive Positive
Infrastructure Invisible Positive Positive
Bug Visible Negative Positive
Technical Debt Invisible Negative Positive


All four types of items exist in the real world. The interesting part is making these visible, assigning costs to each of them and scheduling these items in the regular sprint intervals.

The full presentation can be downloaded: http://scrumorlando09.pbworks.com/f/kruchten_backlog_colours.pdf

Scrum Tisch

2009-06-04 11:27
Title: Scrum Tisch
Location: Divino FHain
Link out: Click here
Description: Philippe will present his speech from the Orlando scrum Gathering where he will speak about backlog and time-box, about value versus cost, about visible features versus invisible features (and in particular software architecture), about defects and technical debt, and more generally about release planning and sprint planning for non-trivial and long-lived software development projects.
Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2009-06-16

Scrum Tisch

2009-06-04 11:27
Title: Scrum Tisch
Location: Divino FHain
Link out: Click here
Description: Philippe will present his speech from the Orlando scrum Gathering where he will speak about backlog and time-box, about value versus cost, about visible features versus invisible features (and in particular software architecture), about defects and technical debt, and more generally about release planning and sprint planning for non-trivial and long-lived software development projects.
Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2009-06-16

Ken Schwaber in Berlin XBerg

2009-05-24 18:56
Last week I attended a discussion meetup with Ken Schwaber in Berlin/ Kreuzberg. The event was scheduled pretty shortly - still quite a few developers and project managers from various companies in Berlin showed up.

Ken started with a brief summary of the history of Scrum: Before there was such a thing as an IT industry programming actually was a lot of fun. But somehow the creative job was turned into something people tend to suffer from pretty quickly as people tried to apply principles from manufacturing industries to software "production". Suddenly there was a distinction between testers, programmers, architects... People tried to plan ahead for months or even years noticing only very late in the process that the outcome was by no means what was needed when the product finally was ready.

In contrast to waterfall Scrum comes with very short feedback loops. It comes with developers working with very strong focus on one task at a time. Change is not hated but embraced and built into development.

Some features of Scrum that are often forgotten but never the less essential that were discussed that evening:


  • Scrum is all about transparency - it's about telling your customers what is going on. It is about telling your customer honest estimations. It is about telling development to the best of your knowledge all that can makes up for a feature.
  • Scrum is neither easy nor a solution in itself. It is simply a way of uncovering problems very quickly that are easier to hide in waterfall processes. You have one person who is an isle of knowledge in your company? At every sprint planning this problem will become obvious until you find a way to solve it.
  • Scrum is about giving developers a box of time that is not to be interrupted. Developing software asks for a lot of concentration. Getting interrupted and resuming work on the task again is so expensive that there is close to nothing this can be justified with.
  • A nice way of doing Scrum is to use Scrum for management and XP for development. Scrum does not provide any solutions on how to reach the goals set - it does not tell you exactly how to arrive at a stable release by the end of your sprint. It just sets the goal for you. On the other hand XP holds quite a few development best practices that can help achieve these goals.
  • It needs time to change how customers and developers are working: Yearlong experience has trained them to think in certain ways. So at the beginning Scrum is all about teaching and training people. It takes time to learn a new way of getting things done.


There are ways to do fixed price contracts with Scrum. You just have a few more freedoms to offer to your customer:


  • Tell your customer that your clients usually change their mind underway. Give them the freedom to change anything not yet implemented. An item can be exchanged with an item of equal cost for no increase in prize. An item can be exchanged with a cheaper item with a decrease of cost, it can be exchanged with a more expensive item for a rise in cost.
  • Tell your customer that you already have pre-priorized items. The client is free to re-prioritize items as he wishes - as long as the item was not implemented already.
  • Tell you customer that as you are implementing those items at first that have a high priority you may come to a point where those items not done are not important for release so he could eventually stop early and pay less.


In summary the evening was very interesting and insightful for me. It helps to talk about Scrum implementation problems. To learn which problems others have and how they attack these problems.

Scrum Table with Thoralf Klatt

2009-04-29 09:19
On Wednesday, the 22nd of April, about 20 people interested in Scrum gathered in the DiVino in Friedrichshain/Berlin. The event was split in two parts: In the first half we gathered topics participants were interested in, put priorities next the them and discussed the most highly ranked topic: "Scrum in large teams, splitting large tasks across teams."

The basic take home messages of the discussion:
  • One way to cleanly split a task across teams is to first do a design sprint together, fix the API and then split up. Problem with that: Integration and validation of what you do theoretically up front.

  • Another way is to continously integrate all parts, that way you get direct feedback. Might be impractical without a sort of fixed API though.

  • Do keep in mind that increasing the team exponentially increases management overhead.

  • Do track the progress and performance with well known values (delivered value per sprint, velocity, define KPIs etc.)



The second part of the meetup was covered by the talf of Thoralf from Nokia Siemens networks on how they do scrum across countries and continents. Main interessting points for me:
  • Face to face communication is necessary - good video equipment can help with that.
  • Integrating ready made products into new solutions create new challenges to solve.
  • Transparency and communication with developers become a challenge.


More information on the event can be found on the blog of the round table.

Scrum Roundtable Berlin

2009-03-09 14:51
Title: Scrum Roundtable Berlin
Location: DiVino Restaurant, Grünberger Str. 69, Friedrichshain
Link out: Click here
Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2009-04-22


The next Scrum Roundtable is scheduled already. Thoralf, will present his speech from the Orlando ScrumGathering


  • Agile Creation of Multi-Product Solutions
  • Motivation for Network Solutions and their Agilility
  • Scaling Single Product Creation
  • Product Solutions using Scrum
  • Customizing Projects
  • Outlook


      Please let Marion know if you are coming to be able to organise the space.

      Please find more information on upcoming events and the organization of the Scrum roundtable at: http://www.agile42.com/cms/blog/categories/scrumtisch/

Scrum @ Home

2009-03-08 00:12
Scrum has proven to be a suitable toolset for managing software projects: Large, unmanageable tasks are broken up into little pieces that can be easily estimated in terms of complexity or time necessary for implementation. During a fixed amount of time, several of these tasks are implemented. By looking back at previous iterations it is simple to predict exactly how many items can be expected to be ready after the next iteration. Given complexity is estimated it is also easy to evaluate the business value of each item.

If Scrum is a method suitable for managing tasks - Thilo and me asked ourselves: Why not use it to manage tasks such as "Shopping", "Laundry", "Prepare Slides", "Vakuuming"? So we simply tried it out: We set up a whiteboard with the typical Scrum board layout. Each task to do for the upcoming week was noted on a little yellow post it, annotated with a complexity and sticked to the board.

Scrum Board

The funny thing is: The experiment did work out really well. There are a few lessons learned as well:

  • Annotating the complexities helped answering the question "Where the hack did my freetime go to this week?
  • After like three iterations (in our case iteration length is one week) we knew exactly when we had planned for too much and were able to throw out items of lower priority.
  • Making all those tiny little tasks visible suddenly helped in delegating tasks.
  • Having a board with all post its moved to the right does help motivation :)
  • In the meantime we found out it helps to color-code the post-it notes: Tasks are yellow, going out red, meetings with friends blue and so on and so forth. Otherwise it happens all too easy to forget about to relax.


I included a foto of our Scrum board in this blog post. It was taken some time in the middle of the week. Currently, only the fun pieces are left for Sunday :)

Scrum discussions in Berlin

2009-03-07 20:11
As software development cycles become ever shorter more and more companies adopt agile development methods. In many cases companies have switched to using Scrum or are still transitioning from less flexible approaches.

Since last summer Marion Eickmann is organising a Scrum Roundtable in Berlin. The goal is to discuss advantages and problems when introducing and practicing Scrum. But discussions on Scrum itself are also welcome.

Last Tuesday Thilo Fromm gave a presentation on his experiences introducing Scrum in his project. Thilo is project manager and developer at a company developing video surveillance hardware and software. He first gave an overview of the development process traditionally used in the company. Then he described how projects changed over the course of the last few years and how this caused new challenges to software development. Finally Thilo explained the status of implementing Scrum in one of his projects. He finished with (very positive reactions) from various teams in his company.

Slides are available online: Thilo Fromm: Scrum in the Waterfall

The talk was followed by very interesting discussions on this exact implementation of Scrum as well as experiences of other participants using Scrum for their projects. Discussions were accompanied by really great italian food.

The next roundtable will be announced on the blog of Agile42.