Oct 4, 2019
For this week’s episode, your host Dan Neumann is shaking things up! He’ll be answering some of the frequently asked questions that often come up in his work as well as some miscellaneous questions on Quora on the themes of Agile and Scrum.
In his coaching, Dan often finds that there are a lot of misconceptions, questions, or themes that continuously come up. Throughout this podcast, he’s hoping that the selected questions today will add some value to your own practice! Some of the questions include: “What resources would be good reading for an Agile Scrum Master,” “What is a road map in Agile,” “In practice, does waterfall planning ever accurately predict (or guarantee) completion dates for tasks and projects,” and more!
What resources would be good reading for an Agile Scrum Master?
Agile Project Management with Scrum, by Ken Schwaber (Very approachable for those even brand new Agile and Scrum)
Anything by Mike Cohn, including his blog on Mountain Goat Software
Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process, by Kenneth S. Rubin
Listen to this podcast, of course! You can tweet or email in your own questions to have them answered in a future episode
Always be sure to ask others in-person what they suggest and also to just simply pick up books and resources in whatever current challenges you may be facing
For team dysfunction, check out the book: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, by Patrick Lencioni, as well as his follow-up book: Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers, and Facilitators
If you’re interested in building your skills as a coach, read: Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition, by Lyssa Adkins
One of the opportunities for Scrum Masters to really help their teams is in facilitating effective retrospectives — in Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great, by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen, they lay out a five-step framework for an effective retrospective *Dan considers this a must-read!
Dan’s final tip: always keep learning
Can a product owner change a sprint backlog any day?
The product owner’s role is to optimize the product backlog for value
Hopefully, the product owner is participating during the sprint, but really the sprint backlog is the domain of the development team, and one would not expect to see them changing the sprint backlog day-in and day-out
The product owner’s role is in the product backlog and to accept items as they are being delivered in the sprint, to clarify questions, and to make sure that sprint goal is achieved
The sprint backlog will usually change throughout the sprint but it would be done in collaboration with the scrum team always keeping the sprint goal in mind
What is a road map in Agile?
A road map is simply a plan on how to get from one point to another
Part of the mindset and approach to Agile road maps is really realizing that we’re not able to predict the future to a high degree of certainty or very specifically and that we need to be able to respond to change
In practice, does waterfall planning ever accurately predict (or guarantee) completion dates for tasks and projects?
Does it ever? Yes, there are times when waterfall or highly predictive planning can accurately predict completion dates for tasks and projects
The scenarios or conditions under which it happens tend to be those that have a high degree of certainty about the capabilities that are needed
If you have a team that’s done a particular type of development before with technology that they’re using again and really well-understood requirements, waterfall planning can accurately predict dates for tasks and projects
The less certainty there is, that’s where waterfall planning breaks down
Mentioned in this Episode:
Dan Neumann’s Book Picks:
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