Next Group – SCRUM Session I

This week we started SCRUM sessions for another group of 8 employees. The group comprised two project managers [one of whom was the CTO of the organization] and one project lead, 3 were senior developers and 2 others were considered highly for their experience and skills. However, the exercise got to a wrong start with the project lead opting out of the sessions at the last minute. However, we had seen lots of hiccups in the past and understood that its take time to get a group going. We went ahead with the training session. Unlike the last group, this group presented lots of contrast. The last group was comprised of employees of excited individuals on one hand and on the other hand there were those who either not interested or did not understand the purpose of the exercise. This group had only two-three eager participants while the others were quite obviously bored or could not care less.

The session content was almost the same as the one we had used in the first group. However, I did add couple of other interesting facts like communication channels, failure of formal requirements gathering phases and critique of control and direct method of management. After a brief introduction to Agile – the group was a bit more responsive. I had also cut down some slides which I found were show stoppers last time around. This allowed the session to go along a crisp pattern. I introduced to the team key principles, values and practices of SCRUM. We also did a small exercise to construct a backlog for a “Blog Website”. The group asked me that can we do an exercise to start the next session? This was encouraging. Although this means that the original session would need to revised a bit – this does mean that we have a bit more responsive a group and we can perhaps the session to another level. However, despite all the excitement in the session – the group did not seem to participate so well in the feedback ratings. There seem to be mixed signals. Overall, it does seem that the session went well. However, we might need to extend the number of sessions for the group so that the group has the necessary time to debate, discuss and understand the SCRUM framework.

For some reason [could be inhibition on our part or just the vibe we got from the group], I did not insist on assignments for the group. Now we think that it was wrong. We did not stretch the SCRUM axiom of “art of possible” far. The group might not understand doing session assignments which are not directly related to their work but we could have thought of something that allows the group to mould their assigments around their current projects. Lets try and see what can be done in the next session regarding this. We also need to gather the session feedback/ rating from the group.

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