Scrum Log Jeff Sutherland

Scrum is an Agile development framework that Jeff Sutherland invented at Easel Corporation in 1993. Jeff worked with Ken Schwaber to formalize Scrum at OOPSLA'95. Together, they extended and enhanced Scrum at many software companies and helped write the Agile Manifesto.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Give Thanks for Scrum Day

Ken Schwaber and I had a spirited discussion answering questions from the audience at the Agile Boston conference on 25 November.

I started off the day with  "Practical Roadmap to Great Scrum: Systematically Achieving Hyperproductivity." Several people have asked for data on story process efficiency which typically is about 20%, i.e. if a story takes one ideal day to implement it takes five calendar days to deliver on average. When you raise your story process efficiency to over 50% you will double your velocity. Systematic Software Engineering in Denmark, a CMMI Maturity Level 5 company, has provided extensive data in this presentation which will be useful to anyone interested in high performing Scrum teams.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Enabling Specifications: The Key to Building Agile Systems

Previously, I discussed the notion of "Agile Requirements" and this concept is embedded in the Nokia Test. There is not a definition of Agile Requirements that is commonly agreed upon. However, I have found a standard concept that is better terminology for what is needed.

A couple of years ago, I visited PatientKeepers patent attorneys as our CEO wanted to get a patent on a discovery of a reporting strategy for analyzing physician fee payments that would raise hospital revenue by 30% during the first month of use. I asked the Product Owner to bring along what documentation she had for review by the lawyers. There was a three page Agile Specification. This is a document that Product Owners at PatientKeeper use to describe the global concept of a feature. User stories are developed from this document.

Our goal was to work with the lawyers to understand how much documentation was needed for a patent application. The lawyers pointed out that a patent application is an "enabling specification." This is a legal term that describes a document that allows the average person knowledgeable in the domain to create the feature without having any discussion with the originators of the enabling specification.

The lawyers determined that our Agile Specification of three pages was not an enabling specification. To produce a document that would be approved by the U.S. patent office we would need five pages.

It turns out that an enabling specification is exactly what is needed to maximize the process efficiency of executing a user story. The average process efficiency of teams executing user stories is about 20%. This means a story that takes one ideal day of work takes five calendar days to delivery. Systematic Software Engineering, a CMMI Maturity Level 5 company, has extensive data showing that teams that drive story process efficiency to over 50% will double their velocity systematically for every team.

The definition of an "enabling specification" is part of U.S. patent law which has been adjudicated extensive by the courts so it is not only a commonly agreed upon concept, you can take your requirements to court and the judge will tell you whether or not they are enabling specifications.

In general, requirements are NOT enabling specifications. On a recent project at a large global company we discovered that hundreds of pages of requirements were not enabling specifications. On the average 60% of what was in the documents was useless to developers. It caused estimates to double in size. Even worse, 10% of what was needed by developers to implement the software was not in the requirements.

A user story must be an enabling specification for agile teams to operate at peak performance. If it is not, there will be the need for continued dialogue with the Product Owner during the sprint to figure out what the story means. This will reduce story process efficiency and cripple velocity.

A user story contains a template, notes, acceptance tests, and implies a conversation with the Product Owner. So the conversation may be part of the enabling specification if the conversation is clear before the beginning of a sprint. As the lawyers pointed out, an enabling specification for a major feature needs to be no more than five pages. So all of the documentation needed, including transcribing all the conversations, should be on the order of 3-5 pages for a moderately large feature. This is what I mean by "Agile Specification." I now think "Enabling Specification" is better terminology.

2-231 Obtaining Patent Rights  § 2.07[6]
"A patent specification is enabling if it allows a person of ordinary skill in the art to practice the invention without undue experimentation."

See Jay Dratler. Intellectual Property Law: Commerical, Creative, and Industrial Property, Volume 1 for citations.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Le Phénomène Chabal

Sebastien Chabal sacks the All Black ...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Agile Boston User Group Event: Give Thanks for Scrum 25 Nov

Join the Agile Boston user group as we GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM on the day before Thanksgiving, 11/25, at the Microsoft facility in Waltham Massachusetts from 12:30 - 5:30 pm.

This is your fun, informative, convenient, content-rich, no-empty-calories, 100% Scrum-centric Boston agile community event. We put it together for your enjoyment, in one great afternoon.
This festive event includes great speakers, great food, great socializing, and great Scrum authorities-- including Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, Amr Esslamadisy, Sanjiv Augustine, Dan Mezick and more.
Turkey from Georgetown Texas Public Library

Our Sessions and Speakers: Click here to view all sessions
JEFF SUTHERLAND on Scrum applied (session details)
KEN SCHWABER (confirmed!) on: Outrageous Assessments (*NEW* session details)
SANJIV AUGUSTINE on: Working towards true mastery of Scrum (session details)
AMR ELSSAMADISY on successfully adopting Scrum in YOUR organization. (session details)
DAN MEZICK on deconstructing Scrum via BART (Boundary, Authority, Role and Task) analysis (session details)
SCRUM AUTHORITY PANEL: JEFF and KEN SCHWABER (confirmed!) (session details)

LIVE MUSIC with DAN HERMES (biography and links)

Register and directions here ...

Friday, November 13, 2009

AgilePalooza Slides and Papers, Charlotte, NC, 13-14 Aug 2009

The presentations below make a good introductory workshop on Scrum. All slides and reference papers are provided.
AgilePalooza, Charlotte, NC, 13-14 Aug 2009

Day 1 – Wells Fargo KEYNOTE 8:45 – 9:45 am
Agile Software Development in the Enterprise
Jeff Sutherland, Ph.D.

Scrum started in small companies and achieved dramatic results with hyperperforming teams. This presentation will show how several companies have used hyperproductivity to generate extraordinary financial returns. It will also describe how Scrum scales up for large companies and outsourced, distributed teams and how venture capitalists are using Scrum to improve returns in their investiment portfolios. Scrum is used in large financial organizations like Vanguard, Wachovia, Fidelity, Standard and Poors, and many others. Some strategies for getting started with Scrum are described.

Beginner Track 10:00-11:15 am
Jeff Sutherland, Ph.D.

Scrum Training Institute co-founders deployed 250 Scrum teams at Yahoo during 2005-2008. Teams that were well coached achieved 300-400% gains in productivity. Teams not properly coached were audited at 35% improvement. The overview of the basic training for new Yahoo teams will be covered in this session by the Chairman of the Scrum Training Institute. IEEE paper on Yahoo Scrum implementation can be found in "The Scrum Papers."

Advanced Track 1:15 – 2:30 pm
The ACM Agile chapter in Boston was sold out at the Microsoft Research and Development Lab in Cambridge last week for a presentation on how to systematically take Scrum development teams to a hyperproductive state based on extensive data collected on hundreds of teams at Systematic Software Engineering in Denmark during 2006-2009. As a CMMI Level 5 company, Systematic institutionalizes standard processes across their entire organization and does large fixed-price defense, healthcare, and financial systems under contract. In 2006, they systematically doubled the productivity of every team in the company through Scrum with a lean approach to Acceptance Test Driven Development. In 2009, they began the second doubling of productivity by focusing on the Product Owner and process efficiency of stories. Their lean, systematic, and well documented approach to deploying Scrum will help everyone achieve similar levels of performance. Click here for latest IEEE paper on Systematic Scrum implementation.

Fishbowl Panel 4-5:30 pm

Day 2 – Public Day at Crowne Plaza Hotel

Learning Agility Track 11-12:15
How new teams in California and Sweden systematically achieve hyperproductivity in a few sprints
Jeff Sutherland, Scott Downey, Björn Granvik

New teams need to learn how to do Scrum well starting the first day. This talk will describe how expert coaches at MySpace in California and Jayway in Sweden bootstrap new teams in a few short sprints into a hyperproductive state. This requires new teams to do eight things well in a systematic way. Good ScrumMasters with make sure their teams understand these basics for high performance and great ScrumMasters will make sure the teams execute all of them well. This session will review the critical success factors for new Scrum team formation. Click here for Shock Therapy IEEE paper.

Advancing Agility with Non-Software Scrum – Open Space 12:15-1pm
Discussion of:

Scrum in Church: Saving the World One Team at a Time
Rev. Arline Conan Sutherland, Jeff Sutherland, Christine Hegarty