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Scrum Roles –  Agile Software Development

Who are you? The three Scrum Roles explained.

Introduction

scrum team has a slightly different composition than a traditional waterfall project, with three specific functions. To better understand the basics of Agile, it’s worth talking a little about roles and responsibilities within the Scrum team. I will also tell you a little about the problems that can happen in this structure.

The Scrum Team three roles include, The Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team, are sufficient to deliver high value-added software according to the framework. Let’s see, in common lines, how this works.

Product Owner, the owner of the backlog

The project begins with the Product Owner: he or she is the person who knows the business and the end user’s need. With this knowledge, the PO can prioritise the needs of the user and decide what else adds value to the company. That is, this is the person who orders the product.

The Product Owner can even decide the product developed is sufficient to meet the needs and finish the project. Incidentally, this is one of the hallmarks of Scrum. Since we opted for the essential features to the business first, it is not uncommon to finalise the project with fewer items than initially envisioned.

After all, some studies point out that most of the features are seldom or never used.

The Product Owner separates a wish list, called the Product Backlog, which contains everything he initially thinks he needs to serve the business and the end user. This list should be prioritised based on the value that each item can add to the business.

Once complete, it is up to the PO to write the user stories, which detail each item in the wish list a little more. It is also up to him to take care of the project budget, ensuring that the investment yields an expected return as soon as possible.

The Product Owner supports the Development Team by answering questions about business rules. It’s crucial to the success of the project. On the other hand, the Development Team has someone available and accessible to answer the product owners questions.

Scrum Master, the proactive coach

The next role to play is the Scrum Master. He or she acts as servant leader and coach, to both the Product Owner and the Development Team. When the organisation begins to adopt Scrum, it is common for either the Technical Leader or perhaps a Project Manager to assume this role.

Be cautious of old vices: the former technical leader will tend to give technical solutions to the development team, just as the former project manager will have a strong inclination to commit to deadlines that must be met at any cost and to direct the team members, telling who does what. A good Scrum Master is there to help the team practice self-organisation.

The Scrum Master knows the process; he can instruct the Product Owner concerning Scrum practices. It guides the PO throughout the project. In the same way, it should guide the Development Team to achieve that team sprint goal. It is up to the SM to eliminate any team of impediment that hinders the progress of the team, seeking to help the team to improve its productivity.

Mike Cohn once wrote about the six attributes of a good Scrum Master:

  • Responsible for the adoption of Scrum practices and not for the success of the project;
  • Humble to the point of putting the interests of the team above their own;
  • Collaborative because he or she helps to create a collaborative environment among team members;
  • Committed to the purpose of the project and to the resolution of impediments that prevent the team from reaching its objectives;
  • Influential, both inside and outside the team, to carry out their duties to build the team and to eliminate impediments;
  • Understand the knowledge necessary for the team to achieve its goals.
  • Knowledge in facilitation techniques and Team Growing are differential of any Scrum Master.

Development Team

The Development Team is composed of those who create the product increment. Scrum does not define titles, so all its members are mostly developers, regardless of their function within the framework. The concept of the multidisciplinary team: all members can perform any task that is necessary for the project. However, it is common to observe teams that have members with specific functions.

The size of the team varies according to the project. Some people defend the idea that a team has 5 to 9 members. In particular, I believe the team should be small enough to stay agile and big enough to deliver the expected value to the product. It is a somewhat subjective interpretation, but it gives more freedom to the organisation of the team.

Another exciting feature is that the team is self-organising, that is, who decides who does what, what the roles of each member are and what is not Sprint is the team! This is key to creating a collaborative environment within the team. Seeing sense and actively participating in decisions, team members become much more motivated to commit to the expected results.

To learn more about our Scrum Master Course view our in-class courses to help you develop your skills.

Facilitation Training in Dublin

No matter what type of facilitation training you do, preparation is the key.  How to prep for workshops, requirement refinement, meetings, retrospectives etc.

The best preparation is to come up with a vision for the workshop. I have a simple 5 step model for training, I call it AIDED. The model highlights preparation; it’s not about how to run the workshop. Good workshops run themselves, but a great seminar needs organisation.

The model ensures that as a facilitator you are prepared and have visualised the results. No big deal if it doesn’t work out as planned but you can get the ball rolling and keep it moving if things get stuck. It’s also about the journey to becoming a fantastic facilitator. There are many layers to AIDED that you need to build-on with experience.

So when you are dropped in it and asked to facilitate, we have the model to calm the nerves and get working on it.

A, Ask. The questions to ask

I, Interaction. The type of interaction you are looking for in the workshop.

D, Discussion. What kind of discussion format do you expect?

E, Evaluation. What type of evaluation are you expecting?

D,  Decision or outcome that you want to achieve.

INTRODUCTION TO AIDED

Ask

A list of question that you can ask at the workshop.  Later, I discuss how to formulate outstanding questions; there’s a bit of an art to this. Initially, you’ll probably need about 5 or six items to debate. Not sure where to start, ask the attendees or other stakeholders what topics they want to be explored or answered. Even if you know this already it’s a great idea to ask participants directly again. It involves them and perhaps gives them ownership in the workshop outcome.

Interaction

How do you want the interaction to go? There is a vast number of possible ways that you want the communication to go. You need to pick the way that works for the question, the audience and what you the facilitator can control. Brainstorm, go round, smaller groups, fish bowl, shout out, whiteboard, Pair Share. We have plenty more to explore and learn.

Discussion

or sometimes I say delivery. How do we create a forum to get to the bottom of the topic. You’re subsequently handing it over to the floor to work through it. Again the range of techniques here is vast.  You may need to try a few from the tried and trusted cause-effect diagrams, affinity or more sophisticated Liberating Structures.

Evaluation

The facilitator needs to ensure that the attended have worked through an evolution of the items discussed. What are the options, how do they compare, this can be contentious. However, as a facilitator, you’ve got them working through it.

Decision

We have wasted our time if we don’t get to a conclusion. As a facilitator, you should prepare for the decision and mobilise the authority to decide in the room. We are passionate about this learning outcome.

There are many layers to facilitation training; AIDED can help you build a roadmap to get it right. I’ll post a few more expansions of this in the coming weeks.

 Waterfall Vs Scrum – what is better?

Waterfall advocates that we do a significant amount of design upfront. But it’s not possible to do it all up upfront. That never happens in any traditional project.

Waterfall Vs Scrum - Althris Dublin Training for project management

Scrum Master Certification

Scrum advocated that we should not over design as the customers/user doesn’t know what they want. Therefore spending time investigating would be wasted. Let’s build it and as we develop, check with the customer to see if it’s what they want.

Importantly, Scrum is not a series of mini waterfalls where we design for a few days and then build then test the next few days. We should do the design, develop and test at the same time. Removing the upfront design effort and merging it with the build. Chances are, it will take the same amount of energy to design and build, but it will be what the customer wants – better quality. And we have maximised the amount of work not-done by not delivering what the customer did not need.

Project Management and Agile-Scrum

But what about the long-term planning, a lot of the longer term planning goes out the window. But Scrum does not account for the fact that there is still some longer-term planning required. For example, it may take the supplier three months to provide the interface design or organise the training days at least two months in advance. You are going to have to implement some traditional planning to get this right. Agilest might call this release planning; traditionalists might call it program management. I think they are more or less the same thing – both aim to link organisational strategy to tactics.

Both traditional project management and agile-scrum are trying to tackle the “getting it done” part of the business. A business needs to recognise the tactics for change. However, they approach it in a different way. Traditional Project Management suggests that we can deliver on the tactics by planning, setting the rules and measuring progress. The tactics for an agile-scrum help a team share the goals and empower them to get it done – now.

So what will work better, empowering the team or measuring the activity? You decide based on the complexity of the task and the engagement levels of staff.

Althris provide training in Scrum Master, Certified Product Owner, Agile and Iterative Project Management Methods.

Courses

Princ2 Foundation

Courses – Prince2 Foundation 

This online PRINCE2® 2017 Foundation training course makes learning enjoyable and at your pace. You will have a very good understanding of PRINCE2 and will be ready to sit the official PRINCE2 Foundation exam.

The first third of the course is free, in order for you to get an idea of the quality of course and you can start right now without registering.

 

The course is equivalent to a 2 days class training. The course is designed in a way that is easy to follow for a busy professional and it includes:

PRINCE2 2017 Foundation course specifications

  • Available for 12 months after the purchase date
  • Equal to a 3-day classroom course
  • 60 Lessons, covering all topics in PRINCE2 Foundation syllabus
  • Many quizzes along the course to help you evaluate yourself
  • More than 400 samples PRINCE2 Foundation Q&A
  • Hundreds of integrated flashcards
  • Multiple educational games
  • 70 Page (PDF) booklet that covers the Foundation syllabus
  • A complete overview in the beginning to ease in the learning
  • Provides Pass Guarantee (we offer a free exam retake)
  • Fully aligned with PRINCE2 2017 syllabus
  • Officially accredited by PeopleCert in behalf of AXELOS

Price €299 (inc VAT) 

Combined Price Exam and Course: €525 (inc VAT)

Combined Blended Learning with day exam prep and exam also available  €525

– PMI, the Registered Education Provider logo, PMBOK, PMP, CAPM, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, the PMI logo, and the PMP logo and PMBOK are marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Who Should Attend?

This course is suitable for anyone who is involved in project Management development or knowledge work. This includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Team Manager running multiple projects simultaneously
  • Product/project managers
  • Product/software developers and testers
  • Business analysts
  • High-level management positions.

PRINCE2® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited.

 


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Courses – Kanban Training in Dublin, Cork, Limerick  (1 Day) 

This course will introduce the Kanban method.  It will explain the lean background to Kanban, how you should implement Kanban.

A simple way to look at Kanban is to “stop starting and start finishing”. In other words take on less but get it done quicker. Its about focusing on getting work complete and not to have loads of unfinished work. Unfinished work is waste – of no use to anyone and going out of date or at least requiring a refresh to even understand what we did.

Kanban provides a pragmatic, actionable, evidence-based guidance for successful evolutionary change. It starts with what you do now and pursues evolutionary change while respecting current roles, responsibilities and job titles, and encouraging leadership at all levels.

You will learn how to apply the Kanban principles, how to visualise and self-share the workload to create a constant flow of DONE. The Kanban workshop is for anyone trying to create a cultural framework for continuous improvement.

This is a fast paced workshop, where attended lean to apply KanBan to their real jobs and see how to visualise the bottlenecks. 

Topics Covered 

• Personal Kanban – Simplest implementation of Kanban
• The Agile Dilemma
• What is KanBan Goals Behind the Kanban Approach to Change
• Kaizen Culture
• Kanban’s Five Core Properties
• The Kanban Concepts, Principles, and Terminology
• Kanban Team/ Kanban Roles
• Card Walls/ Workflow and Cadences
• Limiting work in progress
• Visualisation of the Work
• Class of Service
• Service Level Agreements
• Tracking Work-in-Process/ Cumulative Flow Diagram

Who Should Attend?

This course is suitable for anyone who is involved in product development or knowledge work. This includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Team Manager running multiple projects simultaneously
  • Product/project managers
  • Product/software developers and testers
  • Business analysts
  • High-level management positions.

FAQ about Kanban

Differences between Scrum and Kanban

Scrum and Kanban are two terms used interchangeably.  In reality, there are significant differences between these two Agile methodologies. Understanding these differences is key to choosing the path that will work best for your environment. In a nutshell, what is Scrum? Without getting too detailed, Scrum is a form of project management training used to organize work into small, manageable pieces that can be completed by a cross-functional team within a prescribed time period (called a sprint, generally 2-4 weeks long). To plan, organize, administer, and optimize this process, Scrum relies on at least three prescribed roles: the Product Owner , the Scrum Master and the Team Members. Another common tool used by scrum teams is the Scrum Board – a visual representation of the work flow, broken down into manageable chunks called “stories”, with each story moved along the board from the “backlog” (the to-do list), into work-in-progress (WIP), and on to completion.

In a nutshell, what is Kanban?

Kanban is also a tool used to organize work for the sake of efficiency. Like Scrum, Kanban encourages work to be broken down into manageable chunks and uses a Kanban Board (very similar to the Scrum Board) to visualize that work as it progresses through the work flow. Kanban limits the amount of work allowed in any one condition (only so many tasks can be ongoing, only so many can be on the to-do list.)

How are Scrum and Kanban the same?

Both Scrum and Kanban allow for large and complex tasks to be broken down and completed efficiently. Both place a high value on continual improvement, optimization of the work and the process. And both share the very similar focus on a highly visible work flow that keeps all team members in the loop on WIP and what’s to come.

Roles and responsibilities in Kanban

On scrum teams, there are at least three roles that must be assigned in order to effectively process the work: the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Team Members. Each role has its own set of responsibilities, and they must work together to achieve an orderly and efficient balance. The scrum team itself also must be cross-functional, which is to say that one team must have all the resources necessary to complete the entire sprint’s work. Under Kanban, no set roles are prescribed. Practically speaking, it makes sense for someone to serve as a project manager or supervisor, especially for larger more complex Kanban projects, but the roles should theoretically evolve with the needs of the project and the organization. A Kanban team is not required to be cross-functional since the Kanban work flow is intended to be used by any and all teams involved in the project. Therefore, a team of specialists and a separate team of generalists may be working on different aspects of the same Kanban project from the same board, and that’s ok.

 


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Courses – Scrum Master Training in Dublin 

Scrum Master Training provides a framework for leading and developing your team. As we know, the goal of any organisation is to have high-performing, cross-functional teams. Agile has transformed how projects operate and how innovation is applied. Scrum Master Training is a highly effective framework to apply agile. 

The Scrum Master is responsible for making sure that the team lives by the values and practices. They help the organisation to empower the team to deliver on the vision for the product. They are the organisation change agents and remove obstacles to improve as a process owner for the team and to do anything possible to help the team perform at their highest level. He/she is a genuine mentor, visionary and process champion for the team and not a mere manager, guru or a project administrator. This Scrum Master certification session is a 2-day course that covers the principles and (empirical) process theory underpinning the Scrum framework, and the role of the Scrum Master in it.

In this course, students work on real-life cases with other classmates together as a team. This course is made up of discussions and hands-on exercises based on real-life situations. Scrum Master Training courses take place in Dublin and Cork, and you can arrange in-house training. In addition to this, the course covers all the topics related to Scrum Master including practice exams.

Topics Covered 

  • Scrum Master theory and principles
  • The Scrum Master Framework
  • The Definition of Done
  • Running a Scrum Master project
  • Working with people and teams
  • Scrum Master in your organisation
  • The role of the Scrum Master
  • Scrum Master sample exam with work through and discussions on responses
Scrum Master

 

FAQ’s

What are the benefits of a Scrum Master Certification?

A Scrum Master Certification will allow you to stay ahead of the curb when it comes to project management which will allow you to manage your team and resources more effectively. Through the Scrum Master training it will allow you to change your agile mindset and view projects in a completely different light. Not only will it increase your efficiency and mindset but it will also open a host of new potential career prospects. These are just a few benefits that come with having a Scrum Master Certification.

What does a Scrum Master actually do?

The Scrum Master isn’t necessarily responsible for the success of the over project nor I they sitting in on daily review meeting. A project could go on without them or it could fall apart without them too. It really depends on the organisation. A Scrum Master is the glue behind the project. They are what holds everything together and ensure that the teams are meeting goals and setup retrospectives, sprint reviews and sprint planning sessions.

How to become a Scrum Master?

To become a Scrum Master you must complete the Scrum Master training and also achieve a certification. Training can either be in house classroom style training or online. A Scrum Master certification provide all the need to know principles and theory to ensure that you can take a role as a Scrum Master within any organisation.

Will a Scrum Master Certification help me get a job?

A Scrum Master Certification will certainly increase your chance of landing a job in a project management role. It’s a globally recognized certification and make individual who hold it very desirable to organisations.

How Long Your Training Last?

This Scrum Master certification session is a 2-day course that covers the principles and (empirical) process theory underpinning the Scrum framework, and the role of the Scrum Master in it.

About Althris

Althris is an established Scrum Master Certified training business who take an interactive approach to all our training sessions. With years of experience in training Scrum Master classes we are delighted to be able to offer our training services to Ireland and the UK. We offer a range of different project management training sessions including PRINCE2, Scrum MasterPMI-ACP and Kanban. We offer both in-class training for Scrum Master with a certification and online training for PRINCE2 also with a certification. When you choose to work with us, we take you beyond the traditional training methods you become accustom too. Just like the business world, training methods are ever changing and developing. We’ll work with you to adopt new approaches and techniques, helping you to achieve measurable and sustainable results through our certified training.

Who Should Attend?

Project manager, Program Manager,  Technical project manager, Team lead, Project lead, Technical lead, Release manager, Test manager, Test engineer, Quality engineer, Quality analyst, Test analyst, Business analyst, Software Engineer, System Engineer, Developer, Programmer, Account manager, Service Manager, Manager, Product Manager, Software coder, Software tester, Manager – software development, Architect – software development, Product management