Scrumdog Millionaire: The quest to maximise value produced by our IT team
As part of my ongoing quest for knowledge in the world of agile software development, I recently attended a two-day course in Manchester, provided by the Scrum Alliance (the inventors of Scrum - one of the most popular agile frameworks).
This CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner) course was focused on one of the three roles in Scrum, the Product Owner; this is the person closest to the “business side” of things, and the one responsible for maximising the value of the product and the work of the Development Team.
It was a very enjoyable and informative course ran by Certified Scrum Trainer, Sallyann Freudenberg, who clearly knows her Scrum! We were taught via various methods, ranging from a lecture on the core concept of Scrum and the ideas behind its birth and development, to an interactive session whereby we created a large "Scrum jigsaw". This involved spanning one of the walls, which showed us at which point each of the Scrum events (sprint planning, sprint retrospective etc) happen, and their purpose.
We were also shown the importance of measuring the velocity of cards across the board, to ensure that you commit to the right amount of work in future sprints. This also helps with estimating work items and using sprint burndown charts, as a way of tracking progress to predict whether you are on target to finish all the work committed to by the end of the sprint.
In groups we then had to come up with an idea for a new mobile app to have a live example of being a Product Owner and learned the lessons of writing a user story. My app was voted the winner in our group, the details of which I will keep to myself as it may yet make me a (scrumdog) millionaire one day! In doing this exercise, we learned the importance of writing user stories so that rather than the development team just understanding "what" needs doing, they understand "who" for, and "why" it needs doing. This means they are more likely to deliver what the Product Owner - and therefore the business - actually wants!
Overall, it was a very enjoyable and worthwhile two days with lots to take away and bring back to the team.