This past week, we held a customized Scrum training session for fifteen of our software craftsmen from the various Ambientia offices. The point of the training was to recognize and address the fact that we have slipped into the Scrumbutt process in a couple of larger projects and we needed a refresher course about the principles and ideas of Scrum to get back on track with the Scrum approach to software development.
The training was provided by Pentti from Tieturi. Pentti is a seasoned professional with a lot of fine stories to tell about his experiences during his working life. It seems that he has also led Scrum training workshops so many times that he can teach most of the lessons by heart and can modify the training material on the fly based on the needs of the team. We chose the ubiquitous FifaTix case example, and endured a great deal of stress while trying to reach our sprint goal, armed with pen, Post-it note and A3 paper. Here are Tuuli, Laura and Pentti presenting the results of the sprint:
A rather important practical finding was that we have committed to sprints with user stories that needed to be more finely groomed. It is key to a successful Scrum implementation to insist that user stories should be more effectively expressed because of the distributed nature of our company and our clients. It is really a matter of communication between the client and Ambientia. Of course, it would be handy to have the client available at all times, but such wishful thinking does not apply to our real life projects.
I was a bit startled when Pentti presented Dan Pink’s TED-talk to us. Dan Pink had been a major source of inspiration for us when we originally launched the practice of FedEx Days at Ambientia. So, seeing his video in a Scrum training session was quite eye-opening, to say the least. There is indeed, though, a linkage between ideas about intrinsic motivation and Scrum; on the principle level, both ideas are conceptually well aligned. Therefore, the juxtaposition was a well thought- out one and an excellent, unifying strategy. Again, both notions are in play at Ambientia – an indication that we are steering the company on the right course.
Another indication that we are navigating well is our successful implementation of Kanban and Lean development. The work the teams are now doing is arguably more suited to a Kanban framework, rather than a Scrum-based one. But, I predict that both the Kanban and the Scrum methods will gain a lot more following in our company in the future depending on the project and the team size.
I must still emphasize that the craftsmen who attended the training now have a serious responsibility to implement the ideas immediately in connection with their currently running projects. We are not fundamentally changing the way we do our work at Ambientia: but rather we are refreshing ourselves, our skills and our approaches to our work as software developers. And, the time to refresh is now!