donderdag 30 december 2010

About transparent hearts and babies in Scrum?

Recently the CST (Tobias Mayer) which gave me my CSM training posted a nice blog about taskboards.
And the agile coach (Xavier Quesada) I'm currently working with did actually use his visual management skills for a "scrum beyond software" project : his baby.

check it out at :

donderdag 23 december 2010

Scrum makes EVM (earned value management) easy

Earned value management (EVM) is a very usefull method to assess the state of your project.
By calculating some basic values like Earned Value, Planned Value and actual cost over a timeframe, you can easily check whether you're on schedule or behind schedule and on budget or over budget.

I always found it extremely difficult to figure out what my 'earned value' was in software, when using a traditional phased approach. However since Scrum it has never been easier to it.

Interested in more, read my post on pmScrum blog:

woensdag 10 november 2010

Convince your CxO to use Scrum for your projects

I posted an article on the ScrumAlliance website that explains what strategies you can use to convince your management to use Scrum or agile processes.

Basically it's rather simple.
The first strategy is to compare the business value you deliver; when the project stops early.
Take an example project run using phased development and another run using Scrum.

In this article you'll find more details on how we convinced our management with this reasoning:

vrijdag 29 oktober 2010

‘Agile’ start-up for a Prince2 compliant project

Proof that Prince2 is not bureaucratic in itself.

Theoretically your executive/sponsor (or project board) decides how formal or bureaucratic you want your project to be. In practice, the PM drives the level of formality.

When you check the Prince2 methodology you indeed have to do a lot of reporting, informing, assessing …. But if you dig into it a bit deeper you’ll notice that it rarely uses terminology like ‘document’, ‘write’… (except for the logs; where I think you can’t do without actual files or notes).

While all the processes in the Prince2 methodology are very useful and all the reporting and checks can come in very handy; you can do all those things the way that fits you or your project best: orally, written documents, electronically filed, broadcasted via the intercom, saved on microfilm and registered in state archives….

If you don’t believe me; allow me to tell you a little story. I learned it from a colleague PM (Marc) He was waiting for his coffee at the coffee corner.The COO came along, and they started to chat.

Hey Marc, do you know we’re planning to move? [Could this be a project?]
Mmh, no I didn’t. What is the actual reason? [Finding out purpose of the project]
Well, there are a number of reasons: high rent, long distance between HQ and warehouses … [Reasons for doing the project]
I see. And who is going to do it? [PM, supplier…?]
Funny, you’d ask! I was thinking of assigning you this task [Assignment of PM (SU1)]
Great, you can count me in. And are you going to pay and approve the required budget? [Finding out executive]
Yep [assignment of executive (SU1)]
OK, Can we contract a moving company or will we use our own people and trucks [project approach (SU5)]
I want minimal impact on the business [project constraint € project brief (SU4)], so contracting a moving company is a good idea.
Anybody who can help me on this task? [Designing the project board (SU2)]
You need to talk to the call center manager, his requirements will be critical [senior user]; and the office manager because she needs to draft the floor plan and she normally contacts the movers [senior supplier]. I’ll ensure they get on board [appoint the project board (SU3)]
All right, any idea yet of the planning or specific issues or risks you already know [info for project brief (SU4)]
I want to be moved before Xmas; and we absolutely can’t miss that date; at any reasonable cost! [Content project brief (SU4)]
OK, give me 2 weeks to work out a plan, business case and get things going. [IP stage plan (SU6)]
Perfect. [SU phase completed]

The conversation took a couple minutes, no formal documents, and all major aspects of the start-up processes are tackled.
Prince2 is great, isn’t it! It’s all about how you implement it! 

zondag 17 oktober 2010

Experimenting with virtual taskboards

Our team combined our pmScrum virtual taskboard, a beamer and a Nintendo Wii to experiment usability of virtual taskboards. Nice!

maandag 6 september 2010

Einstein again

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

This quote stands for itself. If you can’t make your statement / issue / requirement clear to somebody outside your organization (or department); you probably don’t understand the basics or root cause of it.

Einstein is a Scrum Pioneer
(c) TenForce

Check if you can answer one of these questions adequately and precisely:
  • why is it needed,
  • why it needs to be fixed,
  • what is the desired behavior,
  • what purpose does it serve.

If not (or still wondering what the relation with Scrum is ;-)) ;  read the rest of the blog on:

vrijdag 27 augustus 2010

Einstein: the Scrum pioneer

Einstein was a Scrum pioneer; look at his quotes and see how they all included messages from the Agile Manifesto or Scrum process & philosophy

“I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”

This quote relates to self-managed teams and empowered individuals. People tend to learn more when they discover things themselves instead of being dictated on how to do or interpret something.
And a self managed team is one of the cornerstones of the Scrum framework.

If you want to know the score Scrum vs Management? check out the rest of this blogpost on

woensdag 18 augustus 2010

Experience Report: start Scrumming on a multi-million $ project

Start with Scrum / Agile on a big multi-million $ project
We have a new customer (+/- 10.000 employees) that wants to try-out Scrum in his company. We advised him to start with a pilot project to discover how this can be done and to find answers to organizational impediments potentially hindering the roll-out of Scrum.

Read how we started with this challenge on

vrijdag 13 augustus 2010

# scrum tip: a stand-up a day, keeps surprises away

Very basic scrum practice, but too often not followed.
For all projects in which I contributed, and for which we, at one point, decided not to do daily stand-ups anymore (but move to bi-weekly or weekly ones); we actually came back on that decision, because it didn't work or was less time efficient.

donderdag 12 augustus 2010

Scrum & off-shore development can still be beneficial for the project

This post is the third and final post in a series of three about Scrum in offshore projects.

In the first post, we explained some of our experiences in setting up a Scrum project with an off-shore team.
The second post detailed how to setup contractual agreements with suppliers in an off-shore Scrum project.

Now it's time to:
Show me the money! ;-))

Read how on:

woensdag 11 augustus 2010

Scrum & Fixed price contracts: my experience

This post is the second post in a series of three about Scrum in off-shore projects.

In the previous post, I explained some of my experiences in setting up a Scrum project with an off-shore team.

The next hurdle to take is to define the type of contract with off-shores. This is always a difficult exercise.

Here ( I posted the stuff I already tried out

Scrum & Off-shoring: how we made it work.

And actually earned some extra profit ;-)


We’ve all read the blogs, handbooks & whitepapers about Scrum. They state that working with off-shore people is difficult, not ideal and should be avoided...

In this series of posts I would like to make the opposite case - based upon my own experience. I find it actually a good thing to work with off-shore resources.

Why? First part is posted here:

The other parts will probably be posted next coming days

vrijdag 6 augustus 2010

The first one

Let's see how this blogging works. Starting with a short tip on Scrum / Agile maybe?

Avoid retrospectives to become boring; invite a ScrumMaster from another team to facilitate it.

In most the teams I worked in or coached, retrospectives become less interesting after a while. Try changing ScrumMaster / facilitator (preferably from another team). New people bring new ideas.