Second Day at Jazoon

Ken Schwaber, co-developer of the scrum process, was introduced to give Wednesday's keynote talk. Reiner Grau led by asking him what is more important, technology or process? Ken replied jokingly, "You dare ask me this in front of a crowd of technologists? Well it is process for sure!"

Ken's talk, titled "Total Cost of Ownership and Return on Investment", focused on the benefits of adopting the scrum process and the importance of getting critical parts of it right. One of the sources of problems is that scrum intentionally leaves out implementation details of particular concepts, such as risk management or testing. One critical concept is defining what it means to be "done", since you are obliged to be "done" at the end of every iteration. If your definition leaves out critical pieces such as test plans or integration of all other "done" pieces, for example, then with each iteration you very quickly accumulate a huge amount of "undone" work that leads to the final stabilization phase being huge instead of being on the scale of a regular sprint.

In particular, it is exactly this situation that causes 5-6 year old projects to have scrum teams of low "velocity" (low efficiency) as compared with greenfield project team velocity. There are no tests, no original developers still around, and a great amount of uncertainty in moving forward or even refactoring. And this is all in the name of "we don't have time." Ken described many consulting experiences where he asked, "why doesn't your definition of done include X?" and the answer was almost always "we don't have time." Yet he gave an example where it was implied that the time needed to solve these problems later was compounded. Since the specific definitions of many components of scrum were intentionally left undefined - to be best implemented in whatever local way is most fit - this apparently led many (or according to Martin Fowler, "most") people to feel everything about the process is open for interpretation.

After Martin's criticism, Ken's scrum partner Jeff Sutherland conducted a survey that indeed showed more than 50% of scrum practitioners weren't doing iterative development! Ken argues that it should have been obvious that it is not possible to claim you are following a scrum process if one drops this central tenet. So the question was: what can be done about it? He suggested specific steps how developers and managers can both take responsibility for improving the results of scrum. What Ken and Jeff are doing is working on a rigorous definition of scrum, defining recommended modern practices, defining modern tool stacks, and suggesting good definitions of "done". They are working with partners worldwide for offering training, coaches, and proficiency testing. Ken has been disappointed by certification programs that present certificates for simply sitting through presentations, so it was intended to produce workshops where real projects were worked on, with real definitions of "done". Early results of certification tests showed that fewer people than expected were passing these tests with proficiency. This was troubling since it was assumed most of the multiple choice questions asked, such as when does it make sense to institute gated check-ins, seemed to be even in the realm of common sense. They feel that this validates the need to ensure that coaching, training, and "deliberate practice" are important for the successful deployment of scrum processes. He closed by saying that now is the time we can take this opportunity to return to integrity - a return to having pleasure going to work.

Benjamin Muskalla from Germany, was named "Jazoon Rookie 2010". The talk titled "Analyze Heapdumps in a Web Browser - Single Sourcing in Practice" and its presentation convinced the jury and the audience. Coming in a close second and third were Bastian Hofmann from Germany and Iulia Ion from Switzerland.

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