And, as I hope you are learning from reading this blog, this is OK and you should accept the fact.
Going religious-zealot on anyone will not help.
Trust me on this one (smile).
So. Am I going to cross a chasm today by saying something that people may disagree with? Maybe.
It is reality.
Now. Remember, Scrum is an agile technique that focuses on the team and its delivery of working software at regular increments. It does not deal with what I will call “engineering practices.”
Well, there is an Agile practice that works well WITH Scrum, and it is called extreme programming — or “XP” for short. The topics that are focused on while using XP are those that engineering teams normally wind up requesting at some point when working on an agile project.
And this is OK.
Read up on XP. It is a good tool to know and understand and to have in your agile toolbox.
And here is something else you may want to use with your teams when it — and you will know when it is time.
A lot of times I go into teams that really do think they understand solid engineering practices.
And, sad to say, most of the times, they suck. OK. Maybe that is a bit harsh. How about, they are kidding themselves to think they could not use improvement.
Want a cool exercise to run with your team? It is something I have used successfully in the past, and you are free to modify and use it at will (although I can claim this is something I came up with in the past, it is derivative work off other exercises that may seem similar).
Get a few big sheets butcher paper and have lots of different little sticky notes.
Draw a line across the paper.
On the left side write, “Hacking.”
On the right side write, “Solid Engineering Practices.”
Now, have the team talk about what makes up solid engineering practices versus hacking away at code.
This can be a great facilitated discussion oh ScrumMaster.
Now, have the team members individually write what they think are hacking versus solid engineering practices.
One per yellow sticky.
And post it along the continuum drawn on the wall with the butcher paper.
What do you see?
It may amaze you.
Have the team identify three or four things they can start working on *today* to start improving their engineering practices.
Scrum does not talk about engineering practices.
But guess what?
Your Scrum Team needs to develop working software.
And solid engineering practices are needed.
In the real world.
Let’s chat more if you have questions on the technique or let me know how it goes with your team. I can write more about this if you are interested.
It is pretty enlightening each time I work with a team on this exercise.
What they do with it is up to the team.
July 16, 2007