The ScrumMaster role might be the more difficult to define among the three role involved in Scrum. Starting from a “bad” ScrumMaster job description, Sam Laing discusses to avoid when you create such a role specification. As a bonus, she adds at the end a good ScrumMaster job description.
If the retrospectives are one of the main improvement tools for Agile teams, they can also be the subjects of improvement. In this article, Tom Monico explains how his team has adopted the starfish model to create a better retrospectives process where feedback is produced in real-time and not only at the end of a Scrum sprint.
After presenting some basic retrospective techniques in the first part of this article, Jesus Mendez provides in the second part some additional techniques that focuses on the facilitating part of the Scrum sprint retrospectives.
Product backlog refinement (or grooming) is an important activity in Scrum projects where user stories are prioritizes, right-sized and estimated. In his book “Agile Reflections”, Robert Galen provides some hints about how to verify that that product backlog grooming has been done successfully and that the right requirements information is available for the next sprint.
End-of-sprint data plays an important role in helping us understand where we have failed and what we need to do to improve. For this article, we are interested in the percentage of story points coming from new content vs. points from carryover content, and the percentage of points added after sprint planning. I want to focus on the first part (new content vs. carryover), its root causes, and its relationship to the second part (stories added after sprint planning).
Scrum teams need to prepare backlog items for future sprints. This is called backlog refinement. Items for the next one or two sprints need to be "ready." But getting backlog items ready is not a goal in itself. Only just enough is needed to be able to get backlog items to "Done" smoothly during a sprint. A balance must be realized in terms of how much, how far ahead, and how collaboratively backlog refinement is done. You must continually inspect and adapt this balance.
Sprint retrospectives are an important tool for Scrum and Agile software development teams that want to implement continuous improvement and adjustment to their working context. This article provides some techniques that could help improving the outcome of your Sprint retrospectives.
Velocity is how much work a team can successfully get done within an iteration. Velocity also helps to track how much effort the team has put into completing the work in a given sprint. Teams who know their velocity can plan future sprints more easily by predicting and monitoring their progress.
The very cornerstones of Scrum — transparency, openness, self-organization — are all more difficult for a distributed team to practice. Communication and collaboration will not be organic, and team-building will be harder. Still, the cost-saving implications for many companies mean that distributed Scrum looks likely to stay. By disregarding the arguments for and against, this article is a practical guide that you can follow as a ScrumMaster of a distributed team to make the process work as best it can.