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Scrum Patterns by Jim Coplien – Thinking, Caring, Becoming

Jim Coplien, co-author of Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development, describes the Scrum Patterns movement, the origins of Scrum, and the research that will lead to a future book on Scrum Patterns.

In his own inimitable style, Jim comments:

“Let’s be clear. Agile comes from Scrum. Scrum doesn’t come from Agile. And Agile is not the important part of Scrum. TPS is – the Toyota Production System. Agile is kind of the very modern, superficial, unproven set of cute things that keep people from having to take responsibility for stuff. Scrum is about accountability, responsibility, planning, disciple. It is not laid-back California guitar playing programming. So many people misunderstand this…”

You will be alternately outraged and amused. Check it out …

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Jeff Sutherland TEDx Talk

Jeff’s TEDx Talk is up. Watch it here. Watch it now.

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Scaling Scrum – What People Are Not Talking About!

Scaling Scrum – What People Are Not Talking About!
Dean Leffingwell and I with a copy of my new book
at the VersionOne event at Agile2014



There was a lot of talk about scaling Scrum at Agile 2014. Here’s a photo of Dean Leffingwell, creator of the Scaling Agile Framework aka SAFe, and me. People have a lot of opinions about scaling frameworks. Some love them. Some hate them. Alex Brown and I presented a way to think about scaling that would apply to any framework (or lack thereof).

The interest in scaling shows that Scrum is not just about pilot projects any more. It is implemented widely across companies and managers need to start dealing with it as their major responsibility – making their company agile. So they want to know all the details about what they need to do. And they keep on wanting to add things to Scrum to make it more agile. When I ask them “How is that working for you?” they tell me how hard it is to implement Scrum.

What is most interesting to me is what they don’t talk about. Scaling Scrum means getting rid of stuff because everything in Scrum is just in time and just enough. Here are a few things that companies are getting rid of.

1. Microsoft is getting rid of test teams

Scrum means you deliver working software in short intervals. That means all testing is completed as part of development so you have shippable code. If testing slides out of a sprint and is done later we have found in the U.S. and Europe that for complex products it takes 24 times as long to test outside a sprint as inside a sprint. And the best companies today are doing continuous deployment, something we started at PatientKeeper a decade ago. delivers 220 releases to production every two week sprint. Hubspot does 170 live production updates on a slow day. Google has 15,000 developers working on one code branch and runs 75 million automated tests a day. Even Microsoft has a 3000 person Scrum that delivers a production release of all development tool products at the end of every three-week sprint. Testing is core Scrum in these companies.

2. Spotify got rid of DevOps and dependencies between teams

Operations was slowing deployment so Spotify decided to have the teams do all deployment. All teams upgrade their component of the live system at the end of every sprint. And now they are moving to continuous deployment. They still have agile operations teams that provide tools and advice while staying out of the way.

In order to deploy faster, Spotify got rid of dependencies between teams so that they could be as autonomous as possible. Remaining dependencies they identify and manage carefully.

3. Systematic got rid of management meetings

A CMMI 5 company, Systematic delivers Scrum projects at half the cost of their waterfall projects. Customers have a choice. But Systematic is Scrum top to bottom with almost 2000 people, including the senior management team. At the beginning of last year, their senior management Scrum did a cost benefit analysis of all their meetings, which showed that only the standard Scrum meetings had a value which exceeded the cost. So they banned all meetings that were not Scrum meetings.

This is just the beginning of stuff to get rid of because any extra weight slows you down and increases cost. That’s why, as a former fighter pilot, I really like the Saab Gripen. Every six months they use Scrum to build a new release of the jet aircraft operating system with new hardware that makes it faster, cheaper, lighter, more efficient, more powerful, with better electronics and more sophisticated targeting. Aviation week calls it the best aircraft in the world and Janes Defense Weekly calls it the cheapest aircraft in the world.

Getting lean is always the hard part. To get there, the best book I’ve read for agile managers is Musashi’s Book of Five Rings – how the world’s best swordsman won every fight he ever fought. A close second is Certain to Win: The Strategy of John Boyd, Applied to Business. Boyd was the world’s greatest fighter pilot who won every battle in under 40 seconds. Scrum Inc.’s Alex Brown also has an in-depth workshop on Agile leadership.

Agile means faster, better, cheaper, cooler. So throw that old ballast off the boat when scaling and turn Scrum from slow, hard, and painful into fast, easy, and fun!

– Jeff Sutherland


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Agile Means Get Rid of Test Teams!

Agile Means Get Rid of Test Teams!
Microsoft got agile years ago in tools development. You can read about that in Agile Software Development with Visual Studio where they describe how 3000 developers cut their bugs from 30,000 down to 3,000. They now deliver a new release of all development tools every three week sprint and bugs are down 90% because they got rid of test teams. Testing becomes part of the development process. It is not something you do at the end with a separate team. Both Ken Schwaber and I were consultants on that project.

The next problem is Windows. At Agile 2013 last summer, Microsoft reported on a companywide initiative to get agile. 85% of every development dollar was spent on fixing bugs in the nonagile groups of over 20,000 developers. To fix that requires a major reorganization at Microsoft. And the Wall Street Journal is reporting on how it is going down.

Microsoft Plots ‘Agile’ Development Course as Talk on Job Cuts Loom

Reporter, Wall Street Journal

Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella is preaching a more nimble approach to building software as part of the company’s transformation to “reinvent productivity” in a “mobile-first and cloud-first world.” The effort, known as agile software development, is designed to lower costs and hone operations as the company focuses on building cloud and mobile software, say analysts. Microsoft’s new approach may also make redundant certain app development positions, a result that could prove beneficial should reports on upcoming job cuts, which could top 5,800 positions and be the largest in the software giant’s history, prove to be true.
Jin Lee/Bloomberg
Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp.
Following a July 10 memo in which he promised to “develop leaner business processes,” Mr. Nadella told Bloomberg Thursday that it makes more sense to have developers test and fix bugs instead of a separate team of testers to build cloud software. Such an approach, a departure from the company’s traditional practice of dividing engineering teams comprised of program managers, developers and testers, would make Microsoft more efficient, enabling it to cut costs while building software faster, experts say. Read more …
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