News from Face to Face meeting at ALM Summit 2013

The Face to Face meeting this weekend (Jan. 26-27) was as usual packed with information I will be digesting over the next few weeks. Here is a list of the sessions we had, all provided by the Professional Scrum trainers present at the meeting:

  • Simon Reindl - Scaling Scrum using TFS 2012
  • Todd Greene - Standing on the pillars of Empiricism in Hostile Waters
  • Gary Pedretti - Using the PSD as a Springboard to Teach Cross-Functional Team Behavior
  • Ken Schwaber - The State of Scrum - A discussion of news, events, and developments in the broader Scrum community. This includes topics of general interest to Scrum experts.
  • Alexandre Mac Fadden – Agile Estimation
  • Jeff Hunsaker - Measuring Agile Success – Providing Proof
  • David Starr – Fine tuning feature/increment relationship for release planning
  • Charles Bradley - Help a PST Newbie
  • Clementino Mendonca - Method drives tool: Enacting Agile/Scrum in ALM tools
  • Stacy Martin - The Impact of Expedient Team Storming
  • Richard Hundhausen - PSD .NET Retraining
  • Victor Hugo de Oliveira - Developer Training Approach - Going Undercover
  • Erik Weber - Scrum and Drive
  • Scott Anderson – Business Analysts vs. Product Owners – striking a balance in the team
  • Chad Albrecht - The Agile Development Trinity

So those are not the typical meetings where you just sit in the back and passively watch: in a Scrum Face to Face we are all invited to actively participate. With every presentation it transpired the ideal of contributing to the “improvement of the profession of software development” .


A couple of highlights:

Ken Schwaber, one of the creators of Scrum, presented on the current state of things. is now working on CIF (Continuous Improvement Framework) to help companies establish an ongoing improvement cycle by getting a baseline understanding of where they are in relation to other companies, then drilling down on the sweet spots for Scrum practices adoption.

Richard Hundhausen worked with us through the latest version of the Professional Scrum Developer course. There are great improvements to the content, and reading it by itself is already very enriching.

The PDF for the course will be made available to the public, but to get the most value out of it the best is to attend a course with a Professional Scrum Developer Trainer. That’s when you get the experience of going through 5 sprints and a real scenario of software development, not just the fake “game experiences” you usually get from Agile/Scrum course.

Not that you don’t get value out of those, what I mean is that with the course you get the real feeling of being part of a development team that is readily applicable to your life the next day after the course, no need for translations from the game world to the real world.

Finally, in my session I presented on “Method drives tool: Enacting Agile/Scrum in ALM tools” where I talked about the fact that a lot of tool “marketecture” going around has been usually claiming great savings, cycle time reductions or benefits from adopting this or that tool/tool feature. In reality most benefit is coming from changing the way the team works, that is, by adopting an Agile method such as Scrum.

The tool automation/enactment add-on benefits come on top of those. In my experience they are in the order of about 10 to 20% of overall improvement, and that 80% comes from just changing the way that the team works – even if you keep the same tools. Some tools such as TFS provide Agile practices “canned” into them (and therefore claim those savings) just by the way they work out of the box, which by default change the way a team operates.

However if there is not a conscious understanding that the process is also changing, it leads to friction as old habits get in the way and drive down those savings/benefits/cycle time reductions, which get relegated to a few workflows while overall the team continues to operate in a waterfall manner.

As I go back to think again on each presentation – they were so rich – I will be sharing my thoughts on the topics as well. It will most likely be after the ALM Summit starting today.

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