Scrum Master

Last week I attended the ‘Certified Scrum Master’ course and I am now a certified Scrum Master! I will have to take up an exam within 90 days to retain it though. While the course is still fresh in my mind, I wanted to write down some reflections on what I have learnt.

Scrum is maybe the most used of all Agile Methodologies. We had used Agile methods before. But now I wanted to really learn how to use Scrum.

Many of the participants, mainly from product development companies, raised concerns about Corporate Processes hindering a transition to agile processes. We were a consulting company do not have those constraints, but instead, we are often bound by customer expectations and demands. I raised questions about this and the replies I got was that we should continue doing things like business analysis and delivery processes and not change things which really worked well (Alex Cockburn a known authority in this area also suggests the same).

During the course, I listed a few things I strongly agree with:

  • The concept of team involvement
  • The concept of continuous integration (more agile concept than Scrum)
  • Active involvement of the product owners
  • Making a lot of small releases (in the form sprint releases) than to show the product at the end
  • Including testers as part of the team right from day one

I also listed things I am not yet confident about (I will need to apply and find out)

  • Velocity measurement
  • Accuracy of the effectiveness of estimation points and poker estimation exercise
  • Effectiveness of Scrum for the work we do – more consulting where we don’t have a product backlog ready in sprint 0 (for example)
  • Without automated tests, regression testing would be very time consuming and costly in Scrum esp. when the number of sprints is high
  • Unless we have a well-defined backlog and a clear vision, shorter sprints like 2-3 weeks may not work

I have been using some aspects of Scrum before, but I want us to become more Agile. Following are things that I would like us to apply immediately are:

  • Active involvement of team and product owners
  • Including testers as part of the team

Looking forward to reaping the benefits!

Vanitha Venugopal
Manager – Projects

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