Scrum anti-patterns

When working on a software development project while adhering to the agile framework, it is important to have a clear understanding about Scrum anti-patterns. An anti-pattern is following a process that doesn’t adhere to the guidelines of agile methodology. When such a method is followed, it will not be possible to achieve positive results as a scrum team. The scrum team will be making the life harder when moving forward with the software development project. Due to the same reason, it is important to have a clear understanding about the Scrum anti-patterns and take appropriate measures to get rid of them.

Here are some of the most prominent Scrum anti-patterns that you can find in agile teams. When you are aware of these Scrum anti-patterns, you will be able to take appropriate measures to overcome them.

Absence of a product owner is one of the most common Scrum anti-patterns that you can find. Even if a product owner is present, he might be absent during most of the sprint. Then it will not be possible to answer the questions that the development team will come up in a timely manner. As a result, a micro-waterfall approach will be created. The development teams will never be able to release their developments in a timely manner. Due to the same reason, it is important to make sure that the product owner is present during the entire development phase.

Lack of flexibility shown by the product owner is another example for Scrum anti-patterns. In here, the product owner should be flexible to adjust the acceptance criteria, especially when the initial requirement cannot be achieved due to technical limitations. If there is no impact on the business, product owner shouldn’t worry too much about it and the product owner should change acceptance criteria.

— Slimane Zouggari

Visualizing Nexus spring backlog

Nexus spring backlog will be created at the time of Nexus sprint planning. This is a visualization of the work that has to be done throughout the Nexus, which contains all dependencies. Primary objective of Nexus sprint planning is to properly coordinate the activities of the scrum team within a single sprint.

Implementation of Nexus model within the agile scrum team to scale it properly will make Nexus spring backlog possible. It will help the scrum team to get to know about the dependencies and volume of work that has to be done.

When it comes to Nexus spring backlog, the entire product development roadmap will be visualized. Then it is possible to get a clear understanding on what kind of developments will come up in the future and how to prepare accordingly. Along with that, it is possible to visualize all the dependencies as well.

We tend to go ahead with Nexus spring backlog in order to make sure that all the upcoming developments are properly aligned with planning. This will also help us to manage the dependencies effectively. Along with this understanding, proper scaling of teams can be done.

In order to get the most out of Nexus spring backlog, you need to make sure that you are getting the most out of Nexus sprint planning. That’s because Nexus sprint planning will determine how the backlog items are properly utilized for the developments.

Nexus spring backlog is used when the development team, or the product owner has a clear understanding about the development roadmap available in front, but needs to properly scale the development team, so that developments can be completed timely.

— Slimane Zouggari

Nexus

Nexus is a scaling framework that you can find in agile. If you want to scale the agile teams within your company, this is the right approach available to move forward with. This framework focuses on how to organize teams to deliver a project that has a large scope.

Scrum model has bottlenecks when delivering large projects within a short time period. That’s where Nexus comes into play. This framework can help a company to get two or more teams involved to complete a project. Along with that, it is possible to deliver the large scale project within a short time period.

If a large project has to be completed, one team will not be able to work on it and deliver it within a short time period. This is where the help of more than one team is required. Nexus comes into play in such a situation. You can easily scale two or more teams through this framework and get them to work collaboratively ensure timely delivery of the project.

Scaling teams is important to get most work done within the limited time. Therefore, it is important to go ahead with the Nexus framework and properly scale the teams to complete a large project with tight deadlines.

When two or more teams are working to achieve one common objective, misunderstandings can happen. Hence, it is important to understand how to overcome them.

If a development has to be completed within a short time period, it is important to overcome overheads. Overcoming such overheads will become an easy thing to do with the help of Nexus model. That’s because it has got the ability to eliminate the bottlenecks and deliver positive results.

— Slimane Zouggari

Nexus Integration Team

Nexus Integration Team (NIT) is a new role that you can find within the Nexus framework. This role will be performed by a group of individuals. As mentioned in the Nexus guide, this team will be able to coach, coordinate and supervise the application of Nexus framework within the Scrum team. Along with that, it is possible to get the best outcomes of the Nexus framework implementation as well.

Primary responsibility of the Nexus integration team is to make sure that Nexus framework is properly maintained and adhered to by the team. It is important to scale the agile scrum teams. The team will supervise and see whether it is taking place properly. If not, appropriate actions will be taken for it.

The Nexus integration team has a clear understanding about Nexus framework and the role played by it within the agile scrum teams. They will closely monitor the process and introduce changes as needed.

Nexus framework is important to properly scale the agile scrum teams. Once it is implemented in the team, the team should be able to follow it and get the most out of it. If that doesn’t happen, a series of issues can take place. That’s where the Nexus integration team will monitor the process and make sure that everything happens properly as planned.

It is important to highlight the importance of Nexus framework for the agile teams, so that they also make an effort to move forward with the changes and stick to it at all times.

If an agile team is not adhering to the Nexus framework, a Nexus Integration Team can analyze the situation and provide appropriate feedback.

— Slimane Zouggari

The new new product development game

Those who are working in agile community they have had come across this new new product development game a lot of times. This white paper was published in 1986 and it is still valid and it does helps the businesses. Having a look, we see that there are six key principles of this paper which are connected to each other.

When we see the traditional approach while developing a product then it will move like a relay- race as the baton is passed from group to group. Now, when we see the new new product development game then it will be like rugby, where the team is having the ball and they pass it to each other and take it to the desired place. The most used framework scrum is also inspired by it.

Six key Principles

Let us take a look on the key principles of new new product development game:

  1. People are quite possessive about the business or work plan in the traditional approach, and they control and monitor day to day activities for others. But, this new new product development approach themselves. While talking about scrum, the race is an agreement between the development team and management. Product owner and the others will decide how to work and where the flexibility is needed.
  2. Project teams which are self-organizing if exhibit these three conditions will be ideal. The conditions are autonomy, self-transcendence and cross fertilization.
  3. Overlapping the development phases, that will enable the team to absorb the noise or vibration generated throughout the development process.
  4. Multi-learning, now this is said that it is a two-dimensional learning i.e. 1) Multi-learning across multiple functions. 2) across multiple levels. Are we clear with the vision? Is the right product selected or being built? In scrum there is a learning opportunity as the team working on the product interacts with each other and learn from the market trends.
  5. If we say that a person has both “control through peer pressure” and “self-control” then we can say that he is having subtle control. The sprint goal should be inspected by the development team so that they can adapt the sprint backlog in accordance.
  6. The transfer of learning should be done on organizational level, spring and scrum should make it sure that the team members share knowledge with each other.

— Slimane Zouggari

Spike

Spike

A task particularly aimed at collecting information or answering a query instead of delivering shippable outcome. Sometimes user story that is generated and cannot be properly estimated until a development team executes some actual works geared towards resolving design problems or technical questions. The solution is to actually make a “spike” wherein some work have the purpose of providing a solution or answer. The word “spike” comes from Extreme Programming or XP wherein this means “A Spike Solution is an ultimately simple program for exploring potential solutions”.

Spike in Agile Software Development

In the agile software development, architecture actually evolves in order to address the needs of Product Backlog Item or PBI’s forecasted on the given Sprint. This is lean. Unlike a skyscraper or a bridge, establishing business software does not really require defining the entire architecture upfront. Remember that spikes are invention of XP and are considered as special types of stories that are used in driving out risks and uncertainties on project facets or user story. It might be necessary to spike on the perfect persistence option however, implementation of spike must be wrapped to a PBI.

Spikes by definition got maximum time box sprint size. That tends to be your upper bound. At the sprint’s end, spike is either done or not really done same as other stories. Spike is the technical investigation to produce answers with regards to certain criteria on PBI prioritized on upcoming sprints. This is an excellent way of mitigating risks earlier and promoting fluid iterations later on projects. This also allows team to ensure feedback and develop clearer understanding on upcoming complexity of PBI.

Why Doing It?

Spikes are done for the following reasons:

  • The group might not know about another area, and spikes might be utilized for fundamental research to acclimate the group with another domain or technology.
  • The story might be too huge to be estimated accurately, and the group may utilize a spike to analyze suggested conduct, so they can part the story into respectable pieces.
  • The story might contain essential technical risk, and the group may need to do some examination or prototyping to pick up trust in a mechanical approach that will permit them to commit the client story to some future timebox.
  • The story might contain noteworthy functional risk, in that while the purpose of the story might be comprehended, it’s not clear how the framework needs to communicate with the client to accomplish the implied benefit.

Just like other common stories, spike is actually put on backlog, sized and estimable to fit perfectly in iteration. The spike results vary depending on the type of the story as this generally produce information instead of working code. Spike can be used and can result to decision, proof of concept, prototype and other partial solution which tends to help in driving final results.  In an instance, spike must be developing just the sufficient information to be able to identify and size stories concealed beneath the spike.

— Slimane Zouggari

Backlog Grooming

A company always makes sure that the product they are selling would have a great demand among consumers. Apart from the product making a great first impression to consumer, the company should also hold a good reputation. In this case, a sprint planning meeting is required in order to ensure that the product backlog is on the right track. This prevents hassles and problems in the future transactions of a company.
The sprint planning meeting would take much time if not done with an excellent backlog grooming session. The product owner has the first say on what the agenda will be about and what are the possible ways on how to make the product successful. If you are the product owner, it is necessary to hold the right grooming sessions in order to meet the following:
• Be able to write user stories that are essential in making the product successful in terms of scrum planning and the like.
• Be able to effectively break down long user stories in order to make these easy to use and understand.
• Be able to rewrite user stories that are poorly written. This ensures a right approach to the flow of the sprint planning meeting and the success of the product.
• Be able to efficiently estimate many backlog terms possible.
• Add an exceptional acceptance criteria to the product.
• Be able to go deeper into the backlog do more wide range technical planning strategies.
A backlog doesn’t only make a Sprint Planning Meeting successful but it also contributes proper ideas or deliberation that will happen within the meeting. The ideas or concepts shared by the product owner and the company team would result to a good impact not only to the status of the company’s performance but also to the backlog grooming itself.
Here are few guidelines to able to conduct an excellent backlog grooming session:
• An excellent goal would be good
The product owner must set a goal in order to make the session more interesting and so that would not result to a waste of time. Having a goal would lead to a smooth flow of the meeting.
• Have a proper schedule
Planning a schedule in advance would be result to an effective sprint planning meeting and the company would be able to set adjustments and refining the product is needed.
• Limit employee participation
Limiting the participation of members of the meeting, particularly stake holders is necessary in order not to produce delays or problems in the backlog session. Stakeholders have a few knowledge about the product as compared to the product owner and the team.
The right backlog grooming even in scrum meetings brings no problem or a waste of time on the part of the company members and the product owner. This ensures a most authentic and successful agile approach in deciding what possible user stories can be used or what certain business product plans needs to be made or adjusted in order to achieve on the goal the company wants to achieve.

— Slimane Zouggari

Scrumbut

Teams cannot maximize Scrum and use it to solve their problems due to a Scrumbut. Organizations that are looking into implementing Agile may turn to Scrum. However, implementing Scrum will not let you attain the success that Agile is recognized for if you don’t make the shift. Organizations that don’t make that shift are called Scrumbuts as they are putting Scrum into action, but with changes for their unique situation. Here are signs that you may be a Scrumbut.
Your developers keep getting ahead of the testers
Scrum team aims to complete the task by the end of the race and members of team do what it takes to achieve this. Team members who get ahead of the others will hold back the team in due course. Every member of the team has to do something to help the group such as writing a test framework or running a test. If the entire team falls behind, all members also fall behind, regardless of what they are accomplishing as a person.
You fail to comply with regulatory documents
The Scrum team provides working code. Building the most amazing user experience won’t matter at all if your software cannot be used and you don’t comply with the required documentation. Ensure all tasks are done during the sprint.
Members of the team are scared to try new ideas as they’re afraid of failure
Scrum team members always do their best and feel comfortable about it as they know they won’t be blamed for trying to achieve the best. You should not allow your team members to become afraid of failure.
Retrospectives focus on “who” instead of “what”
You should focus on how you work together. It’s also important to focus on the tools you use to complete your tasks. There may be members who cannot meet the team’s demands. Those team members will be will be uncovered without the retrospectives revolving around them. You should allow the team to focus on the skills of its members and eliminate those that prevent the team from achieving success.
You want all of the stories described in detail before you start the first sprint
Traditional organizations don’t start until they have discussed every detail. On the other hand, Agile organizations put the stories into the backlog once they have enough information to estimate them and allocate business value. The information gets discussed later by determining implementation activities during the sprint planning assemblies. By waiting to define the information until everyone is ready to work, the team can avoid unnecessary waste.
You focus on metrics than on outstanding results
There are plenty of metrics that can be considered by a Scrum team and ScrumMaster. These metrics help the Scrum team determine blockers. However, these metrics can become a goal that the team may only focus on it and forget about the results. The team can only be considered effective if the software is launched and the client is satisfied. Metrics should only be used to determine problems and during the retrospective.

Slimane Zouggari

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master ensures that a Scrum team follows the practices and values of Scrum. They help the team do the best work they can. The role of the Scrum Master is often assumed by a technical team leader or former project manager, but anyone can become a Scrum Master.
The Scrum Master is not only considered a coach, but also a process owner as they establish a balance with the main stakeholder (often called the product owner) of the project. He does anything possible to ensure the team’s highest level of performance.
This includes working with the main stakeholder, facilitating meetings and eliminating hindrances to the project’s progress to ensure the product backlog is in great condition and well-prepared for the ensuing sprint. The Scrum Master is also seen as the team’s protector. He ensures that the team doesn’t overcommit themselves to what they can do during a sprint because of pressure from a very aggressive product owner.
While the Scrum Master may not have authority over members of the Scrum team, he does have power over the process. He can say what needs to be done during the duration of the project. The Scrum Master helps the team use Scrum. Their assistance is similar to a personal fitness trainer who helps you perform the right exercises and stick to your program. He will not only motivate you, but also ensure that you don’t cheap by not doing a particularly hard exercise. The authority of the fitness trainer is limited as he cannot force you to do an exercise you hate. The fitness trainer will remind you of your objectives and how you have decided to achieve them. That is the authority of the fitness trainer that was given by you. For a Scrum Master, he has authority. However, his authority is given to him by the team.
He can say that the team is supposed to deliver fully functional software at the end of every sprint. If the team failed, the Scrum Master can ask about what can be done to make sure that they’ll perform well next time. This is the Scrum Master using power over the process. If the team failed to provide potentially shippable software, something has gone wrong. Since the authority of the Scrum Master doesn’t go beyond process, he should not ask a member of the team to review all codes because they failed to provide something possibly shippable. While it might be a good idea to ask a team member to review the code, the Scrum Master cannot really make that decision. It is not in the scope of his authority. In other words, the authority of the Scrum Master is limited to ensuring the team adheres to the process. It’s safe to say that his role can be harder than that of a normal project manager. The project manager can tell the team to do something because it’s his decision. The Scrum Master, on the other hand, is limited to ensuring that the team follows Scrum.

Slimane Zouggari

Scrum: Burndown Chart

Velocity and burndown charts are used to monitor the development of an Agile project. The velocity report monitors the story points accomplished in a certain timeframe and allows team members to know how well they’re following the schedule. A burndown chart, on the other hand, is a graphical illustration of the remaining work and time. Time is often located on the horizontal axis and backlog or outstanding work on the vertical axis. A burndown chart can be used to determine when the work will be finalized. It’s often used in Scrum and other agile software development procedures.
Benefits of Burndown Charts
One tracking and planning tool
The team can break down the tasks and update estimated and remaining effort. This allows them to own the plan. They can plan and track their progress using the burndown chart.
Daily visibility reduces risks
Cost overrun and schedule overrun are significant metrics that are monitored in traditional project management on a weekly basis. The burndown chart provides feedback on schedule and effort on a daily basis, reducing the risks and increasing alarms once something goes wrong. For instance, if the progress line hovers above the ideal line, the team knows that there’s a problem. They can plan the right course of action and mitigate risks before they become large problems.
Schedule management
The team can plan what needs to be accomplished in a sprint and update the list of tasks. Since the updates are done on a daily basis, the team knows whether it’s on the right track to meet their objectives or not.
Communicate with stakeholders and clients
A burndown chart is a great tool for communicating with stakeholders and clients. It can be printed and put in an Agile room or even shared with stakeholders on a daily basis. A burndown chart provides visibility on the progress of a project. If there is no online tool, a burndown chart can be physically displayed using a chart paper or whiteboard and place in the area where the team works.
How to Make a Burndown chart
Break down the tasks. Every task must have associated hours that the team agrees on during the planning meeting. The burndown chart is then plotted. A lot of Agile tools such as Mingle, RTC and Rally have an in-built capability for burndown charts. A burndown chart, however, can still be maintained in a spreadsheet if you don’t have Agile tools. Remaining efforts are put on the Y axis, while dates are placed on the X axis.
Burndown charts can be plotted at the release level or sprint level. Sprint burndown charts are usually monitored using effort remaining, but it is also common for some to use story points to monitor release burndown.
Different variants of burndown charts have appeared since their inception. Some find it useful to make burnup charts at the release or sprint level. While the Cumulative Flow Diagram is becoming more common, burndown charts are still the most prevalent tracking tool among Agile practitioners because of their simplicity and effectiveness.

Slimane Zouggari