• Why you should send the whole company to Professional Scrum Foundations course

    What is the Professional Scrum Foundations

    The Professional Scrum Foundations (PSF) course is a 2-days course that teaches Scrum in a highly practical way. Working in a series of Sprints, teams of students build a software application, thereby facing real-life problems. The mechanics, roles, principles and (empirical) process of Scrum are demonstrated.

    Common missteps and misunderstandings are discussed so students grow a higher awareness of their symptoms.

    Why Professional Scrum Foundations

    The word Foundation is often misunderstood by many people who are searching for a Scrum training. Often times people think that they can read the basics by themselves without having to attend a course. Yes the basics are taught in PSF course but PSF course does not only teach students the basics of the Scrum mechanics and Scrum rules, it also teaches students the mindset that is required to make Scrum as organisation’s way of working and way of thinking. Way of thinking and way of working can not be read from books or articles on the internet only, it must be experienced by students themselves. We believe that the changes in behaviours is what makes Scrum sticks inside an organisation and this will make the organisation investment much more worth it.

    Not only PSF let students experience way of working and way of thinking with Scrum, it also exposes things that can go wrong if the rules of Scrum are not being followed by everyone in the organisations. Thus the course is very dynamic because the trainers must be able to improvise during the course depending on the problems that may occur during the course.

    Having a solid foundation of the Scrum knowledge will make Scrum as a culture inside the organisation hence the course is called the Professional Scrum Foundations. Without a solid foundation, Scrum may never be an organisation culture and will only be seen as another methodology.

    Why the whole company should attend PSF course

    Every time an organisation approach us for a private Scrum training for their software development team, we always encourage the manager who is in charge to send the whole company to PSF course and not only people who will be in a Scrum team. Initially they think it’s quite a high investment to send everyone to PSF course because they think not everyone will be using with Scrum and not everyone need to know about Scrum. When Scrum is seen as a way of working, the idea of Scrum is actually applicable to other departments that is non-software development related even though not all of the Scrum mechanics may be applicable for them. And even some people may never will be in a Scrum team, at some point they will be dealing with the Scrum team thus that same understanding about Scrum is important.

    From time-to-time we have always received positive feedbacks from managers and executives of the company at the end of the PSF course because sending the whole company to PSF turns out to be a better investment for the company. We have seen Sales & marketing people, graphic designers, network security people, HR and Legal people, front-desk receptionists to CEO’s secretaries at our PSF course.

    After delivering PSF course to many different kind of organisations in many different countries, here are the general summaries why sending the whole company to PSF course is a better investment than only sending some people.

    Same language removes communication barrier

    Because Scrum introduces a whole new vocabularies, by sending everyone to PSF course, everyone in the company will use the same vocabularies even in daily conversation. PSF will teach students the lexicon of Scrum as described in Scrum Guide, the Bible of Scrum written by the co-founders of Scrum. Every Scrum.org trainers worldwide will deliver the same PSF courseware, which means every PSF students worldwide will receive the same PSF material regardless who the trainer is. This will save people’s time (and in the end it will save money) explaining the new vocabularies to those who didn’t attend the course. Everyone in the organisation will also speak the same language and have the same perspective of Scrum because of this standard courseware.

    Common understanding removes resistance

    Scrum is not only about standing up every morning and sticky notes on the wall. When everyone in the company attend the PSF course, everyone will share common understanding about the principles and values in Scrum which is more important than just the knowing mechanics. These shared understanding will save everyone’s time and energy debating about what Scrum practices should be done and what Scrum practices should be dropped. In the long run, these shared understanding will make Scrum becomes persistent and becomes the organisation culture.

    Management support and engagement

    The last thing you want when transitioning to Scrum is not getting management support and engagement. The last thing you want is management who only think that Scrum is all about technical and not related to business. PSF course is a foundational level course that is relevant to the management and the executives in an organisation because it will also expose how Scrum can impact the business. There are many success stories from teams who implemented Scrum without getting any management support but the success will probably go so far and at some point they will most probably hit an obstacle that only management can remove. By having the management to attend PSF course, the management will know how difficult the job that the Scrum team will be doing and will give their support to the Scrum team during development process.

    Increased Return on Investment (ROI)

    PSF is a great introductory course for organisation who are transitioning to Scrum. Though the initial investment for sending everyone in the company to PSF course is higher, but in the long run the return investment is much higher than sending only some people to PSF course.

    One example can be seen from Salesforce.com where the whole company transition to Scrum as a whole rather than trying it out in one department first and scaling it out later. Transitioning the whole company to Scrum removes the complexity that may arise between teams who are doing Scrum and teams who are not doing Scrum. These complexity will also add extra overhead that can be quantified in dollars.

    Practical but not all about games

    We have seen many failure stories from organisations who tried to implement Scrum after reading articles from the internet because those organisations think that they do not need to attend a course to learn the foundations. PSF course is unlike any other Scrum course in the market that is very theoretical and leaves students with no clue on how to implement Scrum in their context. PSF course is highly practical which means every students will experience Scrum by solving a realistic case study using a computer in a simulated environment. Using a computer is required because software development is complex and we have seen many organisations who didn’t succeed in implementing Scrum because they attended a Scrum course with simulations done by playing games like building a city with lego blocks, playing ball point game or making a pamphlet for doggy day spa.

    Focused on way of thinking and culture

    Even though the simulation will be done using a computer, the focus is not on what is being developed with the computer but instead on the way of working and the way of thinking with Scrum and how to deal with complex problems that may arise using the Scrum framework hence this course is still applicable even to those who are not in software development. From these simulations, students will see things that can go wrong in Scrum implementation so everyone know how to handle such problems when it occurs in their workplace. This course will also help organisations to create a serious initial plan for transitioning to Scrum and a plan to make Scrum embodied inside the organisation.

    Standarized worldwide

    Like all of the other Scrum.org courses, PSF course is based on standard courseware. Every Scrum.org trainers worldwide will deliver the same courseware. If you are in a multinational company with development centres in Asia and you want to send the whole company to PSF course, you do not have to send trainers from USA or Europe to Asia to ensure everyone in the company receive the same Scrum knowledge.

    We have seen many companies were confused about Scrum because the teams in USA, Europe and Asia were each trained by different trainers and received different materials on Scrum and the courseware is not based on Scrum Guide but based on the trainer’s own perception of Scrum. This confusion in the end will make the return on investment for Scrum adoption become much lower than expected and prevents Scrum to stick inside the organisation. PSF will not create any confusion because of the standard courseware.

    Other Resources

    author portrait Posted by jpartogi on 2014-01-25(7 months ago)
  • Professional Scrum Foundations vs Professional Scrum Master

    As a Professional Scrum Trainer through Scrum.org, I often get questions from prospects on whether they should attend Professional Scrum Foundations (PSF) prior to attending Professional Scrum Master (PSM) course. Although attending the PSF course is not required prior to attending PSM course, but there are good reasons why attending PSF course first may be beneficial.

     
    Course Pre-requisites None. None.
    Course Duration 2 days 2 days
    You are a … From any job function, even if it is not related to software development, i.e Human Resource, Project Management Officer, Administration, Marketing, Sales, Legal, etc. Scrum Master, Manager, Project Manager, Project Management Officer, Functional Manager, Techical Leader, Architect, CEO, Advanced Scrum practitioner, or anyone in leadership or strategic function.
    Your knowledge on Scrum
    • You have read materials on Scrum but still do not know the practice.
    • You are certified in Agile or Scrum but have not implemented Scrum.
    • You are certified in Agile or Scrum but have not yet attended the official Scrum Master training from the co-founder of Scrum.
    Your experience with Scrum
    • You have not used or have not seen Scrum before;
    • You are using Scrum but currently struggling with Scrum;
    • You are currently using Scrum and want to improve the implementation or scale out the implementation
    • You have done Scrum elsewhere and currently want to improve your current understanding with Scrum.
    Core material Teaches you the “how”. Teaches you the “why”.
    Course Depth Level Introductory, Foundational Master, Advanced Level
    You want to know … How Scrum is done in a practical way. More about Scrum, the philosophy behind Scrum, transition an organisation to Scrum and how to coach a Scrum team.
    Course format Practical Scrum simulation with 70% hands-on software development, 20% theory and 10% group discussion Philosophical with 35% theory and 65% group activity.
    Other Resources
    author portrait Posted by jpartogi on 2014-01-25(7 months ago)
  • Scrum: It’s only a framework

    There are common misconceptions about Scrum being another project management methodologies. By now most people should already know that Scrum is just a framework. Scrum just gives you the rules of the game. Scrum never tell you how to play the game but Scrum expects you to follow the rule of the game. If you are not following these rules, you can’t be called that you are using Scrum. Just like the game of soccer, it never tells you the team formation that you have to use, but to win the game you need to score the goal most. If you are not following the rules in soccer, you might be playing some other game or sport, but it is not soccer. As simple as that.

    Read More

    author portrait Posted by jpartogi on 2014-01-11(7 months ago)
  • Who are the Scrum Developers?

    When organisations are transitioning to Scrum, often times they will try to map existing roles they have in their organisations to roles in Scrum. Scrum only recognizes three roles, that is: Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development team. In Scrum, the term developer equates to a Development team member. So from this point we will refer the developer as the development team member.

    Scrum Guide, the bible of Scrum, simply defines the Development team as such:

    The Development Team consists of professionals who do the work of delivering a potentially releasable Increment of “Done” product at the end of each Sprint.

    Scrum does not recognize any specific roles like Analyst, Tester, Architect or Designer, etc. Not that these roles do not exist, but Scrum just recognizes all of these roles just as developers. Scrum never defines more specific roles. Scrum only tells you that everyone who is involved in developing the software is within the Development team. As simple as that. This should give a nudge to people when thinking who should be in the Development team.

    When organisations are starting out with Scrum, many will think that the term developer equates to those who write codes, that is the programmers or the coders. This misconception grew because in sequential process like Waterfall, adopted from assembly line and construction work, roles are divided according to the phases people are working in. When you view software development as factory work, where source code can be repetitively mass-produced, you will view developers as people who are working on the development phase and write codes because there are no analysts or testers are working in this phase. In this scenario you view programmers as code labourer who receives order from analysts or project manager or architects, write the code as ordered and then send their software to the Quality Assurance once they are finished. In most organisations, these analysts or architects are people on the higher rank than the programmers, just like how engineers in manufacturing companies are on the higher rank than the factory workers.

    But when you view software development as a creative product development work, where people need to talk to each other continuously to exchange ideas, it is quite impossible for the programmers to work by themselves and just receives order from analyst or project manager or architect. It is quite impossible to develop a creative product without brainstorming with the other professionals in the organisation. It is quite impossible for programmers to develop high-quality creative product without collaborating with designers, architects, analysts and testers. Because of these reasons, Scrum only recognizes these traditional roles as developers to avoid silos and most importantly to avoid politics which prevents creativity. Developer in Scrum is one single unit which consists of multiple skills who can deliver a piece of increment every Sprint.

    When you view software development as creative product work, where everyone works collaboratively in no prescribed sequence, everyone in the development team develop something:

    • Architects develops models and architecture
    • Designers develops user interface and user experience
    • Business analyst develops business analysis, requirements and documentation
    • Programmers develops the code itself
    • Testers develops test cases, acceptance tests and the tests itself

    When you view software as a valuable piece of product, where software must be user friendly, must be documented and must be tested before it is shipped to the customers, every skills that is required to develop a complete package every Sprint must be in the Development team and work together with the programmers throughout the Sprints.

    Hopefully this article clears the misconception about the role of Developers in Scrum team.

    author portrait Posted by jpartogi on 2014-01-11(7 months ago)
  • Professional Scrum Master vs Professional Scrum Developer

    Throughout the years of being a Professional Scrum Trainer through Scrum.org, I often get questions from my customers on whether they should attend the Professional Scrum Master (PSM) course or the Professional Scrum Developer (PSD) course. Most of the time I have found that people actually need to attend the Professional Scrum Developer course but because the Professional Scrum Master course is more popular and the word Developer is often misunderstood by people who are new to Scrum, people tend to choose the PSM course. This article is to give a brief comparison between the two courses along with the answers to frequently asked questions about the two courses.

     
    Course Duration 2 days 3 days
    You are a … Scrum Master, Project Manager, Project Management Officer, Functional Manager, Techical Leader, Architect, Advanced Scrum practitioner, or anyone in leadership or strategic function. Programmers, Business Analyst, Testers, Designers (UI/UX, Web, Graphic), Technical Writer, Solution Architects or anyone responsible for delivering a software not limited to those who do programming.
    Core material Teaches you the “why”. Teaches you the “how”.
    You want to know … More about Scrum, the philosophy behind Scrum, transition an organisation to Scrum and how to coach a Scrum team. How Scrum is done and how to develop Software in iterative and incremental fashion using modern engineering practices.
    Course format Philosophical with 35% theory and 65% group activity. Practical Scrum simulation with 70% hands-on software development, 20% theory and 10% group discussion
    Resources Professional Scrum Master Certification course flyer

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Project Managers

    » Q: I am a project manager, which course should attend?
    » A: Attend the Professional Scrum Master course.

    » Q: But I want to know how to implement Scrum?
    » A: You can attend the Professional Scrum Developer if you want to see Scrum in practice.

    » Q: But I am not a software developer and I don’t know how to code
    » A: It’s okay, we can find a suitable role for you during the simulation and you still can get the most out of the course

    » Q: Isn’t it unfair that the developers get to know the “how” while we only get to know the “why”?
    » A: Different roles in Scrum need different materials because each roles in Scrum has different area of accountability. You need to know more about the why so you can be an effective servant leader for the team.

    Testers

    » Q: I am a Tester, which course should I attend?
    » A: Attend the Professional Scrum Developer course.

    » Q: But I don’t know how to code
    » A: It’s okay, Scrum team is a cross-functional team and developers are not limited only to those who write codes. We have many materials on Agile testing and you can be a tester during the simulation. We will ensure that you will get the most out of the course.

    Business Analysts

    » Q: I am a Business Analyst, which course should I attend?
    » A: If you are currently not a Product Owner and someone else is already taking the role of Product Owner, attend the Professional Scrum Developer course.

    » Q: I want to attend the Professional Scrum Developer couse, but I don’t know how to code
    » A: It’s okay, Scrum team is a cross-functional team developers are not limited only to those who write codes. We have many materials on Agile analysis and you can be a tester and business analyst during the simulation.

    Scrum Masters

    » Q: I am a Scrum Master, can I attend the Professional Scrum Developer course?
    » A: Most definitely. Although the course is mainly targeted for those who are developing the software, the course has simulations and it is as real as it gets to working with the Scrum team. From this course you will know how hard is the job of development team which will help you become an effective servant leader.

    Product Owners

    » Q: I am a Product Owner, can I attend the Professional Scrum Developer course?
    » A: Most definitely. Although the course is mainly targeted for those who are developing the software, the course has simulations and it is as real as it gets to working with the Scrum team. There are activities on creating the initial Product Backlog and Product Backlog management activities. From this course you will learn the skills required to be an effective Product Owner.

    Other related questions

    » Q: I am not a software developer, which course should I attend?
    » A: When people hear the term software developer, people will think that it is limited to those who write codes. In Scrum, everyone who is responsible in developing the software is called the software developer, not only limited to those who write codes. Please read this article for further clarification about the term developer in Scrum.

    • If you are in strategic function, leadership or management role, it is suggested that you attend the Professional Scrum Master course.
    • If you are either a Architect, Business Analyst, Tester or Programmer, it is suggested that you attend the Professional Scrum Developer course.
    • If you want see Scrum in practice and beyond just the theory, it is suggested that you attend the Professional Scrum Developer course.

    » Q: I am new to Scrum, which course should I attend?
    » A: If you are new to Scrum and never had any exposure to Scrum, you probably want to see something more practical. If that is the case, attend the Professional Scrum Developer course.

    author portrait Posted by jpartogi on 2014-01-09(7 months ago)
  • How Scrum fails

    "Failure" is a scary word… for some people. As Scrum is gaining popularity, late adopters are validating its success. One of the common way people are validating its success is by asking how Scrum can fail in a project. But it is also quite common that people are asking failure stories to learn from others instead of for validation purposes. Nobody wants to fail, because we have been raised in a society who viewed failure as a negative thing.

    “Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” — J.K. Rowling

    The Standish Group reported that 86% of the time, waterfall projects are either failed or challenged. While on the other hand 58% of the time, agile projects are either failed or challenged. So can Scrum fail? Yes it can fail. But despite there are more Waterfall failure stories, people are more worried about how Scrum can fail them. And perhaps Waterfall have failed people who want to prove that Scrum can fail their project. No matter how many organisations have become so successful with Scrum, many people will continue researching for Scrum failure stories. And many people out there would probably prefer spending (or wasting) their time doing research how Scrum can fail their project and prove that Scrum is a bad thing for their project rather than doing something more productive for their project.

    Scrum is quite different to other methodologies that provide a long-listed project success criteria checklist. Scrum is designed to fail early and often. But for organisations that view failure as something that is forbidden, failing early and often is probably going to scare them even further from Scrum. Failing is a normal thing in Scrum, it is not viewed as a scary thing because failing means an opportunity to learn and improve. In fact failure happens a lot in IT Projects whether you deny it or not. The whole purpose of timeboxing in Scrum is to limit project’s failures to only the length of that timebox. A very good Scrum team are those who don’t let those failures get carries forward to the next Sprint and let it becomes a bigger failure. A very good Scrum team are those who learn from their experience every Sprint and adapt when they have to.

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” —Thomas A. Edison

    Scrum is designed for continuous learning. Unlike other project management methodologies which use the Project post-mortem at the end of the project to learn from the past experience, every event in Scrum - from Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review to Retrospectives - are opportunities to inspect and adapt something. Scrum teams should have an attitude of continuously learning something from these events and not merely attending it just for the sake of satisfying the Scrum framework. Every Scrum teams should see each of these events as a valuable opportunity to learn something new and improve themselves and the product they are developing.

    " The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” ― Henry Ford

    Two common reasons how Scrum fails is because Product Backlog is not ready for Sprint Planning and software is not Done (according to the Definition of Done) at every end of the Sprint. A good Scrum team invest 10% of their Sprint timebox to refine the Product Backlog so that it is always ready for Sprint Planning. A good Scrum team also implement modern engineering practices so they can deliver a “Done” software at the end of the Sprint. But how many Scrum teams out there are doing Product Backlog refinement and implement modern engineering practices?

    Scrum should not be viewed as just another methodology. Scrum should be not only be viewed as a sets of mechanics to run and manage a project. Scrum should be viewed as an attitude and culture of learning because Scrum is designed for continuous learning. Learning should be a necessity when doing Scrum and failure should not be viewed as something that is scary. If teams are not learning anything, not improving the way they work, not pivoting to the right direction when things did not go according to plan and not removing every impediments that caused them to fail in one Sprint, they’re probably going to end up with big pile of failures. One failure in one Sprint is probably going to lead to another failure in the next Sprint. And you’ll just have to wait at one point when the project is going to fail. Failing to learn every Sprint is the major factor that will make Scrum fails. Now what have you learnt since your last Sprint?

    Other Resources

    author portrait Posted by jpartogi on 2014-01-08(7 months ago)
  • Professional Scrum Master certification course in Dubai, UAE

    This was the last Professional Scrum Master certification course in Dubai, UAE we ran in December 22nd 2013. It was a very lively course. Some people flew from Qatar and Jordan.

    author portrait Posted by jpartogi on 2013-12-22(8 months ago)
  • The house of Scrum. Excerpt from Gunther Verheyen’s latest book: "Scrum - A Pocket Guide".
    author portrait Posted by jpartogi on 2013-12-15(8 months ago)
  • Microsoft is once again the leader in Application Development Life Cycle Management

    As of November 2013, Microsoft once again has proven to be the leader in Application Development Life Cycle Management according to Gartner. Detailed review is taken from here: http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1N99LF3&ct=131120&st=sb

    author portrait Posted by jpartogi on 2013-11-27(9 months ago)
  • Increasing your level of transparency

    Transparency is a sensitive topic to be discussed especially in a large organisations. Out of the three legs of Scrum, being transparent is the hardest thing to do. Yet it is an important thing in Scrum as it relies heavily on transparency. The level of success of Scrum implementation and product development in an organisation will depend on the level of transparency in that organisation. According to Scrum Guide, transparency means:

    Significant aspects of the process must be visible to those responsible for the outcome. Transparency requires those aspects be defined by a common standard so observers share a common understanding of what is being seen.

    One form in making significant aspects visible to those responsible for the outcome is by creating the Definition of Done and making it visible. Everyone, including the Product Owner and stakeholders, should understand what is in the Definition of Done. The Definition of Done will reflect the quality of the product that is being developed. Definition of Done enhances transparency. The better the Definition of Done, the more transparent that organisation will be. Definition of Done will expose the actual cost to build high-quality product, which is actually expensive. Besides the Definition of Done, Scrum also expects the artifacts, that is the Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog and the Increment, to be transparent.

    As organisation is moving to Scrum, many things needs to be adjusted. Putting significant aspects to be visible to those who are responsible for the outcome of the product can be a lot of work and it can be painful along the way, as any changes are. Scrum Master is responsible to teach and coach organisations to increase the transparency of the artifacts.

    Recently I was engaged with one of the largest mobile application development company in Asia. One of the thing that the organisation is struggling with is in fact transparency. Quality of the product was deteriorating. Development was chaotic. Dependency between related layers was not transparent. Backlog management was poor. Until we finally make all of the significant aspect transparent.

    One of the most interesting thing that I have found is, they started to create the “Definition of …” for everything that would affect the development process. One example is they created the “Definition of urgent issues”, because people outside of the development team starts interrupting the development team with urgent issues. And people from outside of the development team are abusing the term by calling everything with urgent when they want something fast. But this has proven to disrupt the Sprint goal and most of the times the team could not deliver the Sprint goal. So their “Definition of urgent issues” looks something like this:

    • If user can not continue working because the system becomes unusable
    • User has to wait more than 10 minutes for the system to process the data
    • Data inserted or displayed on the system is not correct
    • The manual workaround is takes more than 15 minutes to do
    • If we wait until next Sprint to fix it, business will lose more than 1 million dollars

    Besides the “Definition of urgent issues”, they also created the “Definition of Sprint cancellation and termination”. And I do not know what other “Definition of …” they will come up with in the future but I can see that they are taking transparency seriously. All this is not part of Scrum but it is still aligned with Scrum principles.

    From here we have learnt that transparency is value neutral. The more transparent you are, the less room there are for playing politics. Like what Scrum Guides says: Transparency doesn’t occur overnight, but is a path. How transparent is your organisation today? What will you do to increase the level of transparency in your organisation so that everybody in the organisation understand what it takes to develop a software?

    Photo by Mike Johnson - TheBusyBrain.com

    author portrait Posted by jpartogi on 2013-11-19(9 months ago)
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