Dr. Mitchell's Scrum Shack

Ian Mitchell, BSc Hons, PhD, FRGS
Agile Alliance Member
DZone Most Valuable Blogger
IBM Certified Enterprise Developer
Certified Scrum Master

Upcoming classes

I'll be teaching the official Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master class (PSM) in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on November 21-22 2019. Click here for more information and to register.

Latest post: 8 March 2019

It's critically important to understand that measurement is strategic in nature. Senior executives are accountable for the value an organization provides and for corporate reputation. If the measurement of value is poor, then the outlook is grim. However, if the understanding of value is challenged and curated in an empirical way, with a timely focus on quality outcomes rather than circumstantial outputs, then it becomes possible to survive and thrive. Continuous improvement is enabled. Management, in other words, has to be evidence-based. This is of essential concern where an agile organization with an innovation capability is to be cultivated.

What actually should executives measure then? Evidence Based Management, or EBM, proposes four key value areas which organizations can focus on, irrespective of business context. These are Current Value, Unrealized Value, Time to Market, and Ability to Innovate. In this post we take a look at each of these areas, and at the nature of the measurements which lie beneath them.

Read More..."Becoming Agile: Evidence Based Management"

Earlier posts

  1. When Done is Too Hard
  2. Expedite! Handling Unplanned Work in Scrum
  3. A Digital Service Canvas for Government and Enterprise
  4. Flow Optimization at the Sprint Boundary
  5. Monte Carlo Forecasting in Scrum
  6. Projects and Products in Scrum
  7. Agile Patterns DZone Refcard (PDF)
  8. Scrum Events: Who sends out the meeting invitations?
  9. Scrubbing Sprint Zero
  10. Twenty Top Fails in Executive Agile Leadership
  11. Faking It: Estimates and Metrics in Scrum
  12. Agile Metrics: Lessons from your Headbone
  13. 20 Unagile Things to Avoid Saying and Some Better Alternatives
  14. Scrum Guide change: Planning Retrospective items into a Sprint Backlog
  15. What is a Product Backlog for, anyway?
  16. Zombie Stories: Conversations from Beyond the Grave
  17. Scrum Roles from a Lean Perspective
  18. Walking Through a Definition of Ready
  19. Three Sporting Fails for your Agile Interview
  20. Walking Through a Definition of Done
  21. Type III Scrumban: A Journey
  22. Managing Technical Debt
  23. The Empirical Product Owner: Innovation Accounting in Scrum
  24. The Product Backlog and Technical Debt
  25. Type II Scrumban: Going Straight
  26. Using a 'Technical Debt Register' in Scrum
  27. Gross Definitions: 144 Agile Terms You Simply Have To Know
  28. Why the Agile Enterprise must be an Innovation Network
  29. The Agile PMO
  30. Type I Scrumban: A Forensic Approach
  31. A Typical Sprint, Play-By-Play
  32. The Agile Crime Scene
  33. Risk Burn-up: Daring Deeds in DevOps
  34. Running Scrum Sprints in DevOps
  35. The DevOps Studio (PDF)
  36. Technical Spikes in DevOps
  37. Innovation Wars: Trump, Lean Startup, and Zero to One (PDF)
  38. By Bell, Book, and Candle
  39. Agile Scaling Frameworks: An Executive Summary
  40. DZone Scrum Refcard Update
  41. Sprint Goals in Practice
  42. Ordering a Product Backlog to Minimize Development Team Dependencies
  43. Counting Chickens: Undone Work in Scrum
  44. Is agile transformation at risk?
  45. Pull in Practice
  46. Choosing Metrics for Agile Practice
  47. Choosing Columns for Agile Team Boards
  48. Stabilizing Teams for Agile Practice
 Posts before 2014 are held in The Scrum Shack Archive

Agile Development in Practice
"Agile Development in Practice"

I was asked to pull the In Practice series together into a book, so I have. Here's the blurb:

The development of complex systems is fraught with difficulty. Many organizations have taken the vocabulary and outward form of agile practice, but without sponsoring the deep change that agile adoption genuinely requires. The benefits they hope for escape them...and their projects continue to fail. All too often, nothing really changes at all.

This book tells you what agile practice is really about, and how to achieve it. The essential components of an agile way of working are laid out chapter by chapter. The book concludes with a concise treatment of the agile transformation problem, and shows how to leverage agile patterns and practices in order to resolve it.

You can buy it at amazon.com. ISBN 978-1-908552-49-5, 260 pages.

Becoming Agile: Evidence Based Management

Recent video

  1. Becoming Agile: Evidence Based Management
  2. Servant Leadership Defined (on Scrum.org)
  3. Scrum in an Hour (on scruminanhour.com)
  4. The Agile Transformation Pattern (on agilepatterns.org)

DZone Refcardz

In collaboration with DZone, I've put together an Agile Patterns Reference Card which is available for free download from their site. Use it to take an empirical, evidence-based approach to the agile transformation problem.

Read More..."Agile Patterns DZone Refcard" (PDF)

The Doctor Is In...
Ian in Dev Shed

Have a question about Scrum or agile practice in general? I hang out in the Scrum Forum and I'm a certified trainer. Post a query there and I'll help if I can:

If you're after an overview of Scrum and what it's about, you can have a look at my presentation Scrum in an Hour. There is also a companion text, The Agile Buddy Guide.

For the low-down on many topical issues, you can see Agile Tom, the Scrum Shack's resident cat.

A little information about me

I'm Chief Scientist at proAgile Ltd. Agile transformation is my bag. I tweet and blog quite actively about this.
I'm also the curator at agilepatterns.org. I teach the official Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master class quite regularly.

Too much information about me

Hobbywise, I'm into Extreme Ironing. I've ironed underneath the ice-sheet of a frozen lake, and I've also gifted the world with the "fusion" sport of bog snorkelling + extreme ironing.

I do quite a bit of scuba diving in lakes and rivers, mainly in pursuit of antique bottles.

Cave diving is another interest, and I have traversed White Lady sump in the Dan-yr-Ogof system while training under the redoubtable Martyn Farr.

Of course, I have plumbed even murkier depths on public sector IT projects. This latter experience once lead to an outburst of Vogon Poetry; you can commiserate by reading it here.

Contact info

twitter: https://twitter.com/dr_ian_mitchell
linked in: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/docmitchell
mob: +44 (0) 7849694162

More than a Scrum Master

2019 Conferences and Events

: Aginext.io conference, London, 21-22 March 2019.
Subject: More than a Scrum Master.
Summary: It is often heard in agile job interviews: ‘This role is more than just being a Scrum Master,’ yet the experience of those recruited into Agile Development or Delivery Manager roles is that the position may be rather less than a Scrum Master. In this talk we will consider why “blended” roles are less sustainable and scalable. We will also consider the extent to which such roles are common because “broken” Scrum implementations are common.

Venue: Agile Northants, Northampton, 30 April 2019.
Subject: Innovation Accounting in Scrum.
Summary: In Scrum a Product Owner can be described as a "value maximizer"...but how is value calculated? In this presentation we consider how empiricism ought to underpin any assessment, and at how the discipline of "Innovation Accounting" can challenge predictive value assumptions.

Venue: Scrum Day London, 10 May 2019.
Subject: Twenty Top Fails in Executive Agile Leadership
Summary: Responsibility for enterprise change cannot be delegated away to subordinates and hirelings. Senior executives are accountable for what happens, and they must be careful and keen to engage with any party who would help revise the model through which the organization delivers value. Yet often they are conspicuous only by their absence, and by an unmet need for clear executive authority which only they can provide. The supposed scale, importance, and urgency of the challenge is passed onto the coach. The agile transformation initiative is handled like any other – through delegation. Ultimately though, it is senior managers, and not the coach, who will be accountable for the success of the endeavour. In this panel discussion, we will explore some of the more common failure modes which executives demonstrate when abdicating their agile leadership responsibilities.

Small gargoyle on Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland
Gargoyle of the Month

This month’s gargoyle is on Rosslyn Chapel, a 15th-century chapel founded on a small hill above Roslin Glen, in Scotland, by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness. Its highly ornate gothic architecture is considered to be among the finest in the country. Construction of the chapel began on 20 September 1456 and the decorative carving was executed over a forty-year period. The chapel stands on fourteen pillars, which form an arcade of twelve pointed arches on three sides of the nave. The three pillars at the east end of the chapel are named, from north to south: the Master Pillar, the Journeyman Pillar and, most famously, the Apprentice Pillar. Among Rosslyn's many intricate carvings are a sequence of 213 cubes or "boxes" protruding from pillars and arches with various patterns on them, and there are more than 110 carvings of "Green Men" in and around the building. The chapel has been a burial place for several generations of the Sinclairs; a crypt being accessible from a descending stair. Rosslyn Chapel has become the subject of speculation regarding its supposed connection with the Knights Templar, especially since the publication of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code in 2003.

For previously featured gargoyles, go down to The Vault.