Wednesday, December 18, 2013

An Agile Holiday

Merry Christmas(Or Happy Holidays, depending on your preference). There is a little Christmas treat for you in today's post. A look at Mike Cohn's Christmas list for Scrum Masters and our first look at one of my favorite agile/life blogs - The Hacker Chick Blog. Also, Wall-Skills, a peppy single page pamphlet-style image collection. Have a jolly time reading my friends.

Playing The Scrum Master Role
http://www.scrumalliance.org/community/articles/2013/december/playing-the-scrummaster-role
Summary -
Francesco Attanasio from Ericcson write about the Scrum Master role over at scrum alliance. He lays out the key expectations of the role and how it is a full time job on the team. There is an interesting picture that outlines typical scrummaster tasks for a two week sprint. It feels a little forced to come up with 80+ hrs of work for the scrummaster. I dont agree with the resulting distribution of hours as a scrum master(or the two other incarnations of the same role under other agile methodologies that I have played) does a lot more and does not usually spend his/her time on the same set of tasks every sprint. Francesco stresses the importance of the scrum master as a coach and why it is important for this not to be a rotating responsibility.
Favorite Snippet - 
 "I know that if we, as a family, need to eat good food, my wife, the best cook, is the one for that role. Yes, it is possible to rotate the job of ScrumMaster, but, like Mike Cohn, I would recommend doing it only rarely and temporarily."

Top Ten Gifts For The ScrumMaster In Your Life
http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/blog/top-ten-gifts-for-the-scrummaster-in-your-life
Summary -
Mike Cohn kicks off the Holiday season with a funny, yet interesting(and slightly self promotional) post about gifts for ScrumMasters. These include a Bullhorn, an Atomic Clock and my favorite - "We'll try anything for two sprints" certificate. It is a funny post but the three out of four links leading to Cohn's book or the MountainGoat website do act as dampeners.
Favorite Snippet -
" I guarantee your ScrumMaster would love a handmade note from the whole team saying, "We'll try whatever you want for two sprints." What a wonderful way to demonstrate your commitment."

Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You
http://www.hackerchick.com/2013/11/do-one-thing-every-day-that-scares-you.html
Summary - 
The Hacker Chick Blog is one of the most enjoyable reads of Agile-related blogs every time there is a post. Abby Fichtner, who also works with the Havard Innovation Lab, puts out some very fun and interesting material. Her latest post is about her experience at the 99U conference. Fichtner talks about how success affects creativity and even more about how fear holds you back. It is a very relevant topic for any of us who are adopting Agile or new agile practices. On the face of it things might look absurd, but then there is that famous Einstein quote.
Favorite Snippet -
"And so each day we decide. Do we do that which calls to us or that which the world seems to “want” from us? Albert Einstein once said that “if at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” But first, we must have the courage to trust in ourselves."

Agile Laws
http://wall-skills.com/2013/agile-laws/
Summary - 
Wall-Skills specializes in one page leaflet style pages that highlight details on specific topics. They have an Agile & Lean section that contains some pretty cool leaflets. The latest one summarizes the laws most quoted in and most pertinent to agile development. Whether you agree with broad agile premises or not, you would mast likely agree with these. They form the basis of a lot of the recommended practices and for most developers give more context to why a certain practice might work, or what was the reasoning behind the recommendation.

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