Scrum

Has Your Team Become Agile Zombies?

zombies

By now, Agile is synonymous with change and improvement. Teams are practicing it to be better, create according to customer needs and to deliver faster. However, is taking on the methodology of improvement enough? Or are you still facing a risk of failing?

Christiaan Verwijs has a definite answer to this question and that is Zombie Scrum. Extensively discussed in this article it talks about teams that adopt the technology and seem to successfully practice it, but in reality are all but Scrum zombies failing to unleash the full power of Scrum and hurting themselves in the process.

Does your team fall into this category? Here are the symptoms to check!

#1 No Beating Heart

On the surface all Scrum teams work to the same beat of Sprints – each one is planned, executed and finished delivering value at the end. As such it is the beating heart of the operation that drives the team forward and makes improvements happen. But what if this is only the facade?

If you have a Zombie Scrum team on your hands, the Sprint effectiveness only seems real. Once you look a little deeper, the differences are obvious – there is no value delivered after each iteration, product is often nonfunctional and Sprint review is not an actual demo, but rather screenshots and PowerPoint presentations on what should/has been done. Instead of a beating heart, these teams just go through the motions without any effect.

#2 No Contact With The Outside World

Ideally the Scrum team works to deliver value and to get feedback from their environment. It helps the team grow and improve the product in order to get the desired effect. Zombies are quite different.

Still stuck in the linear way of project management, they focus on their part of the job and while imagining themselves as only a small part of a big process, avoid responsibility at all costs. This means that a team with zombie fever is much more likely to avoid interactions with other teams in the company, shift blame and organize sprint reviews without any stakeholders present.

#3 No Emotional Response To Sprint Outcome

Stemming from the isolation comes another important part of Agile – reacting to the results. A healthy team will celebrate wins and analyze losses in order to see what can and should be done differently in the future. Contrary to that Zombies actually do not care about the Sprint outcome.

Whether it is a success or a failure they face, they simply move onto the next Sprint without any reaction. Whichever outcome it is they face, makes little to no difference to the team. This is often due to a never there Product Owner and isolation from other people in the project. Zombies simply do their job and don’t even bother with results.

#4 No Drive To Improve

Lastly, all of Agile is based on improving and adding value. It is the end goal and the main reason why people practice the method.

However, a team that is just going through the motions and is stuck with a hardly present product owner and Scrum master, often fall into the cycle of not caring. There is no joy, no motive and it seems no need to improve or change anything, rather than just completing tasks and not not giving it an extra thought. Is is a path that not only doesn’t yield results, but also creates a false image of Agile not being effective at what it is created to do.

Recognize your team in any of these traits? There is still time to change the way you practice Scrum and improve for the better!

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Scrumban User Cheat Sheet

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The last of my cheat sheets (so far) comes in the form of Scrumban. A mixed Agile approach that aims to merge the two most popular practices Scrum and Kanban. While some say that this is the most unstable and changing approaches of the three, there are still some things that stay the same no matter the application.

So dig in, enjoy and let me know if you think anything else should be added!

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Scrum User Cheat Sheet

Cheat-Sheet-bannerJust started applying Scrum and still find it difficult to understand all of the different terms and rules? The two different backlogs, roles, meetings and everything else is quite confusing at first. However, there is no need to worry as I am here to help!

Grab this handy cheat sheet and enjoy quick Scrum facts for your convenience.

Scrum-Cheat-Sheet

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Top 10 Questions About Scrum and Their Answers

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Undoubtedly, there is no lack of information about Scrum and how it should be used. Articles, to do lists, mistakes, user cases and anything else you might think of can be reached in minutes. However, when you are just coming into a new approach and learning its ways, you will most likely have certain questions and struggle to find the answers.

To help you out in this situation, here are the most common questions new users have about Scrum and their answers.

Is Scrum Agile?

This is one of the most frequent questions from new practitioners and one that cannot be answered with a single yes or no. Scrum is part of the Agile family, as it is one of the frameworks used to realize Agile rules and principles in real life projects. Other Agile applications, such as Kanban, XP and others are simply other frameworks used to bring Agile values to life. So yes, Scrum is Agile but Agile is not just Scrum, it is much more.

Should I choose Scrum?

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All You Need To Know About: Scrum

Agile process

This week I continue with our article roundup – an effort to provide you with all our knowledge in one convenient place. After the two previous posts on project management and agile, I thought it would be time to go a little deeper and this time we are talking about Scrum. Yup, the basics, roles, estimations and anything else you might be looking for, I’ve got it right here.

Basics

No Scrum project can be started without knowing what you are doing and while you may have already read all that goes into the practice, actually doing it is different. Check out Getting Started With Scrum Task Board to set up your first board, read Frequent dilemma: what sprint duration is best for your team to figure out what sort of a sprint duration to choose and pick out the scrum cards for you with The 4 Scrum Cards To Consider.

Once you are all set up and the actual work begins, learn how to write your first user stories with the help of Writing Effective User Stories for Scrum and choose the best way to estimate work by Estimating in story points compared to hours.

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Building Your Next Sprint With Eylean Board

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Building a sprint is not only a difficult but also a very important task. You need to identify the priorities and set realistic goals for the whole team at the same time providing a meaningful result in the end. So there is no surprise many struggle in the beginning and even the most experienced Scrum Masters sometimes run into trouble.

While there are no definite guarantees against anything in this world it is always better to face uncertainty prepared and sure in your processes. This is exactly what Eylean Board goal is and here are 5 ways planning your next sprint with our tool will make you not only more sure of your process, but also happier.

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Agile vs. Hybrid Approaches – Which Will Stay On Top

Agile-vs-hybridLast week I introduced you to the hybrid WaterScrumFall model that merges the Waterfall and Scrum practices in order to create a happy medium of both worlds. While it is not the likeliest of merges, many companies out there find it to be a viable option for their situation and happily use it. However, there are also those that claim this model is ineffective and faulty therefore this week I want to dive into their side of the story.

According to a recent study by TechBeacon, Agile projects are more successful than hybrid ones. This is a bold statement to be made, especially when keeping in mind that most companies deal with different processes, situations and in general are very diverse. However, the study focused on development and IT professionals show substantial results in favor of Agile.

Amongst the interviewed companies, both Agile and hybrid approaches are widely used as project management practices. The difference between their numbers is not really significant Agile taking the first and Hybrid approaches the second place. Where a difference does come in though is the satisfaction level. Agile users are generally happy with the project outcomes all around, while the hybrid users seem to have issues with six important metrics – Quality and performance, Time to market, Speed of delivery, Scope, Security & Cost and use of resources.

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WaterScrumFall – What Lies Beneath A Complicated Name

waterThere is no question that Agile is one of the top project management approaches these days and even littler question of it going away anytime soon. However, as more and more people start adopting the iterative practices, more innovations and modifications of them start to appear. Agile methods are being mixed together, redefined, scaled and in this particular case joined together with a completely different school of thought.

WaterScrumFall aims to breach the gap between two worlds, but does it succeed?

To put it simply, the hybrid approach joins together the linear Waterfall and the circular Agile methods to find a happy medium and the best of both approaches called the WaterScrumFall. The name looks a little heavy at the first glance, but it absolutely makes sense with the way the method is set up. Waterfall approach is used at the beginning and ending stages of the project, while the Agile (usually Scrum) approach is sprang into action right in the middle. Therefore we have it Water – Scrum – Fall, depicting the way hybrid projects are run.

The division

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What Makes A Scrum Master

trainerComing into the Agile world, we not only encounter new rules and practices, but also gain new roles to enforce them. Some of them are quite clear, like being a team member and completing tasks to add incremental value to the process. Others are a little less self-explanatory and require a deeper understanding and training in Agile. One of the most misunderstood roles is the one of a Scrum Master. While this is one of the most important ones for the Scrum team, it often gets neglected or reduced due to the lack of knowledge and experience. So what should a Scrum master be? Let’s see.

Scrum Master is defined as a person who is accountable for removing impediments to the ability of the team to deliver the product goals and deliverables. In other words, it is not about being a traditional team leader, but more about being a guide for the team to navigate difficulties and achieve success. It is in fact because the Scrum Masters role is hardly found within any other project management approaches rather than Agile, that it makes it difficult to understand and easy to misinterpret by those new to the approach.

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Tips & Tricks On Using Agile

tips-tricksTaking on Agile can be a tough challenge, especially if you have no previous experience with it and have no one to coach you. The good news, however, are that all it takes is time and determination to take over and understand. To make that process more smooth for both you and your team, we came up 17 tips and tricks. Use them to reach your goals sooner and more easily.

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