Posts Tagged ‘Scrum’

Scrum by definition and design is meant to provide an alternative project management framework to traditional waterfall method. As one of the most used Agile methods, Scrum is non prescriptive but rather focusing on fostering team collaborative effort to achieve short term objectives following a relentless steady rhythmic work style.

Sprint after sprint team keeps shoving User Stories from the backlog to the development mill rotated by the collective effort of the team.

However, in the rush to finish the current tasks, quality can be easily overlooked and irreversible technical dept may accumulate unless consistently and actively monitored and controlled using a defined process such as the one I suggest here.

Again, four and three, four meetings types and three artifacts are the only rituals the Scrum Guide offers!

In practice, it is necessary to build on the framework offered by Scrum in order to avoid low quality deliverables that may occur by the mechanical application of the basic method.

Engineering practices that focus on quality borrowed from Kent Beck’s Extreme Programming (XP) is a good option here!

From those, Test Driven Development (TDD) , and Continues Integration (CI) are among my favorite recommendation to add to your Scrum practice.

Another example of an aspect of Scrum where the framework provides only a skeleton to be fleshed, is Architecture!

Unlike a method such as Rational Unified Process (RUP) whose “Elaboration” phase focus on realizing architecturally significant use cases producing what is called an “Executable Architecture”, Scrum doesn’t say much about how to Architect for a team that develops using Scrum? All what it says is that the team should decompose the system into shippable pieces, and deliver a piece per sprint.

In the last workshop I attended and organized by Egypt Scrum community, I started a discussion with a colleague about shipping a usable product every sprint and if that is really possible? My colleague insisted that time to market mandates shipping every sprint. I asked what type of projects she was working on, she replied that it is an upgrade for a layer of an existing software.

Oh yes, for such a project where you upgrade parts of the system while you can keep the rest working with old libraries, you can in fact deliver a working product every sprint.

But if you will develop an enterprise application that relies on a thick layer of relational databases and a complex business logic, it is rather difficult to vertically dissect the solution into shippable across-layer pieces that can be delivered incrementally.

In order for that to be possible, a good architecture effort is required in advance and possibly new architecture styles need to be used such as the one described in this white paper.

Microservices and Single Page Application

Keyhole Consultants (www.keyholesoftware.com) suggest that an architecture style based on Microservices-SPA shorten time-to-market for Scrum teams and enables agility and incremental delivery of working software.

So, in my opinion, Scurm alone is not enough for complex software intensive projects, it could be even dangerous! Among other things, you need to make good use of XP engineering practices to deliver quality products, and you need to build good architecture capability into your team to facilitate shipping every sprint which is very important for the success of Scrum practice as a whole.


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Last weekend I read two interesting papers by Jeff Sutherland and others the Shock Therapy and the Scrum: An Extension pattern language for hyper-productivity software development.
In these two papers Dr. Sutherland describes how that although scrum is designed to increase the productivity, team’s success in achieving this goal varies! He refers to some teams that have an increase in their productivity by 400% and describes them as Hyper Productivity Teams. He also enumerates a number of patterns that were evolved by scrum community and are common among Hyper-Productive teams. Couple of other interesting articles about this topic are Group Coherence for Project Teams – A Search for Hyper-Productivity and Scrum Metrics for Hyperproductive Teams

In my opinion, and probably I am not saying anything new here, productivity is dependent on two main aspects of the team, one is organizational and social and that is the human dynamics of the team, the other is technical and methodical and that is related to the process and practices applied by the team. Consequently productivity level is proportional to how good is the communication and collaboration between the team members and how fluent they are in Scrum and Agile practices!

Having said that, and from experience I think maintaining the same high momentum all the time is quite difficult, productivity level would rather fluctuate reaching hyper-productivity state one time and falls back to average or below average productivity before it bounces back and so on.
The most difficult task in my opinion is how to maintain the hyper-productivity state once the team reached it? and how the team can bounce back quickly if it falls to normal productivity?

I am sending this question to Dr. Sutherland and to the community, and I will share with you the responses I receive.


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Scrum Guide in Arabic


Folks at scrum.org kindly accepted my Arabic translation for latest Scrum Guide and published it today!
While I tried to be faithful to original script as much as possible I made some choices when I thought necessary to make the Arabic text less obscure. For example I chose to arabize “sprint” to “سبرنت” instead of translating it to “الرَكْضَة” or similar.

Please check it and let me know what you think, I will be glad to receive your comments or if you see any section of the translation that needs an improvement.

Have a nice day,

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I spent last week traveling daily between Quesna, my home town, 60 KM north to Cairo and Holiday Inn Hotel in Nasr City…the reason was to attend the first training to be held in Cairo for Scrum Masters…so with the noise of June 30th in the background, I sat for the training.

And in the course of the three training days lit by the humour spirit of our instructor Hubert Smits I took every possible chance to ask the questions that are puzzling me about Agile and Scrum.

In the training also I managed to perform an “Affinity Prioritization” exercise with over 20 other trainees where we silently as a good wise group of monks kept moving the post-it notes untill settled on the final group of questions that we want to address in last day of the training and

guess what? 3 of them were mine 🙂

In short, I enjoyed the training experience which rarely happens!  it is a class “A” training in my evaluation, hat off to DigitalMinds for the organization.

Check Egypt Scrum community on


and on



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