Wednesday, October 12, 2016
NEW Intro to Agile Scrum in Under 10 Minutes - What is Scrum?
My name is Hamid Shojaee, and I've been involved with a number of software development projects
over the years,
at a number of different companies, and I've come to recognize 'Scrum,'
as one of the best agile development practices in use today.
In this fast-paced video,
I want to show you why Scrum is so great, and how you can get started with Scrum in
under 10 minutes.
I'll cover all the core Scrum concepts,
like product backlogs, team roles, sprints, burndown charts, and more.
So get ready to be bombarded with information.
Lets say THIS is the product we want to build.
For this product, we get all kinds of feature requests from customers, executives, or even
other team members.
In Scrum, features are written from the perspective of the end-user,
therefore, features are known as user-stories.
The collection of all these user-stories is called the product backlog.
Another way to think of the product backlog
is to think of it as a wish list of all the things that would make this product great.
Once we have our wish list or the product backlog,
we need to start planning which specific user-stories
we're going to put into a particular release of our product.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Let's back up a bit.
To build this product,
we need to have one or more people in our team who are going to play a variety of roles.
First, we need her.
She plays the role of product owner,
and helps make sure the right features make it into the product backlog
representing the users and customers of the product.
She helps set the direction of the product.
Then, we need this guy.
He is the Scrum Master and his job is to make sure the project is progressing smoothly
and that every member of the team has the tools they need to get their job done.
He sets up meetings, monitors the work being done and facilitates release planning.
He's a lot like a project manager, but that's such a boring title.
So, we'll call him a Scrum Master [Karate yell] to imply he knows some Jui-Jitsu.
And the rest of the team has similar roles to other development processes.
These guys build the product,
while these guys test it to make sure it works right.
These guys use it, and hopefully pay for it.
And these guys, they generally get in the way, but it turns out you can't build many
products without them.
But lets get back to this: Release Planning.
To plan a release, the team starts with this, the product backlog,
and they identify the user-stories they want to put into this release.
These user-stories then become part of the release backlog.
The team then prioritizes the user-stories and estimates the amount of work involved
for each item.
Sometimes larger user-stories are broken down into smaller more manageable chunks.
The collection of all the estimates provides a rough idea
of the total amount of work involved to complete the entire release.
A quick side note about estimates.
There are a lot of techniques for creating good estimates.
Some prefer estimating in story points where estimates are made
relative to building a small component with a known level of difficulty.
Unfortunately, story points don’t answer the question of,
“When will my project ship?”
I have found that the best technique is to estimate work in hours,
but to use some standards in how estimates are done.
For example, things that take less than a day to complete
will be estimated as 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours or 8 hours.
Every item will fall into one of those buckets.
There will be no 3 hour estimates, for example.
A 3 hour item would fall into the 4 hour bucket.
Larger items will be estimated as 2 days, 3 days, 5 days, or 10 days.
Again, all estimates in between will fall into the next larger bucket.
Extremely large items are similarly estimated in months: 1, 2, 3 or 6 Months,
but the reality is that such items will need to be broken down substantially
before work actually begins.
We’ll come back to these estimates in just a minute.
But for now, lets go back to this:
The Release Backlog.
With a prioritized set of user-stories and the estimated amount of work at hand,
we are now ready to plan out several sprints to get the work done.
Sprints are short-duration milestones that allow teams to tackle a manageable chunk of
and get it to a ship-ready state.
Sprints generally range from a couple of days to as much as 30 days in length,
depending on the product's release cycles.
The shorter the release cycles, the shorter each sprint should be.
And you'll want to have at least 2 to as many as a dozen sprints in a given release.
So, at this point, we can take our release backlog and split it up into several of these:
One of the most important things to remember about sprints
is that the goal of each sprint is to get a subset of the release backlog to a ship-ready
So, at the end of each sprint, you should have a fully tested product with all the features
of that sprint 100% complete.
Since sprints are a very short, but a realistic representation of part of the product,
a late finish of the sprint is a great indicator that the project is not on schedule and something
needs to be done.
Therefore, it's extremely important to monitor the progress of each sprint with THIS:
A Burndown Chart.
The burndown chart is the number one reason for Scrum's popularity,
and one of the best project visibility tools to ensure a project is progressing smoothly.
The burndown chart provides a day-by-day measure of the amount of work that remains in a given
sprint or release.
In this graph, you can see that the amount of work remaining bounces up and down from
day to day,
but is generally trending towards zero.
Because historical information is provided in the burndown chart,
it's easy to see if the team is on the right track.
Using the burndown chart, the team can quickly calculate this:
the slope of the graph, which is also called the Burndown Velocity.
This is the average rate of productivity for each day.
For example, a team's rate of productivity might be that on a typical day,
they finish approximately 50 hours of work.
Knowing that, it's possible to calculate an estimated completion date for the sprint
or even for the entire release, based on the amount of work remaining.
What's great about the burndown chart
is that we can compare our actual velocity and projected completion date
to what the team needs to do in order to finish OnTime.
This is perhaps the most useful piece of knowledge
that any team member, product owner or product executive can have about the project,
because knowing whether or not the project is on track early in the schedule
can help teams make the proper adjustments necessary to get the project on track.
The burndown chart provides empirical proof that the project is on track or if it's going
to be late.
So, let's talk a little about where the data for this incredibly useful burndown chart
As you recall, part of the release planning process was to create an estimate for each
user-story in the release backlog.
The collection of these estimates for a given sprint represents the total amount of work
that must be done to complete that sprint.
As each team member goes through and makes progress on one or more of the user-stories,
they simply update the amount of time remaining for each of their own items.
So, the total amount of time remaining on the group of user-stories that make up a sprint,
changes on a day-by-day basis,
hopefully going downward until it hits zero when the sprint is complete.
The burndown chart aggregates the remaining work data and shows it visually.
It's brilliant because it communicates a massive amount of information in just a few seconds.
And that brings us to this:
The Daily Scrum.
The Daily Scrum is an essential tool to having communication flow freely between team members.
The idea is to have fast paced stand-up meetings
where team members quickly list the work they completed since the last meeting,
and any obstacles in their way.
By meeting daily, it ensures the team is always in-sync,
and any major issues are dealt with as soon as they are known.
Finally, as each sprint comes to a finish,
it’s important to have a Sprint Retrospective meeting,
where the team can reflect on what went right and areas of improvement.
After all, Scrum is a flexible agile development method
that needs constant improving and tweaking for every team.
So, there you have it.
Scrum in under 10 minutes.
You now know all the essential concepts to start implementing Scrum inside of your organization.
But wait a second,
what about tools to help you implement Scrum?
Well, it just so happens that I’ve spent the last 10 years building such a tool.
With a lot of help from these guys:
a group of genius coders and design ninjas.
The tool is called, OnTime,
and it helps you manage your products, your backlogs, your team,
your releases and your sprints.
It gives you project visibility with burndown charts,
and always answers the question of who is working on what.
You can get started with it for free, at Axosoft.com.
Of course, you could use a giant white board, some note cards [Paper crumples]
and a bunch of different spreadsheets [Paper crumples] to track everything.
You could also use an abacus instead of a calculator to do math, but we’re getting
a little off topic.
So, let's quickly review everything.
In Scrum, you work with this: a Product Backlog,
which is nothing more than a list of features that we call User-Stories.
You then break down the product backlog into one or more Release Backlogs,
and for a given release, you further break up the release backlog
into a number of Sprint Backlogs
which are essentially short duration milestones throughout your project.
You then monitor the progress of each sprint using these: Burndown Charts
and have Daily Scrum meetings to ensure everything is on track.
After each sprint, you have a Retrospective meeting to fine-tune everything.
And if you want a tool to implement Scrum, you can use, OnTime.
It'll help you ship software, OnTime.
That’s all there is to it!
Oh, and one last thing.
Whether you loved or hated this video, I’d love to hear from you.
You can reach me on twitter or via email if you have any feedback.
Now get going,
Create a great team,
and Ship Software OnTime.