Scrum 1:2:2 (Month One:Week Two:Day Two)

This is my second day of the second week of my first month at my new job.  The differences between me and the other Scrum Master are really style at this point so it doesn’t make sense for me to sit in on all of their meetings anymore.  I’ve been focusing on the Business and the process they go through today to get work done.  Boy, it’s a mess!  There are, by title alone, about 3 Project Managers for just about every area of the business and they don’t seem to talk to each other much.  The PM at the outer most realm of the actual delivery team doesn’t really know when or who works on their request and they appear to communicate solely via email with questions like “What’s the status of x?” and “Is anyone working on Y?”  The most important thing for our teams right now is to find out WHO is doing WHAT and WHEN are they going to be done.  There is work being done already but it’s unclear who has been assigned or what their schedules are.
Using my connections through LinkedIn, I was able to find out more than the Product Owner candidates resumes told me.  Our interviews for the new Product Owner are coming along but they won’t start by the time we kick off our first sprint.  In the meantime, I’ve created a draft backlog with Business Owners, Resource names, Roles and requested launch dates so we can begin collecting every project known to the team.  We’ll need to discuss what work must continue, what work should be transitioned.  As busy as it seems and chaotic as it is, this is when I get excited because bringing clarity to chaos is my specialty.  Bring it on! My goal of getting the Scrum Teams trained and in their first Sprint Planning session by the 18th of August is too aggressive considering we don’t have a clean backlog and we are still missing the Product Owner and a Dev Engineer.  I met with the team today to formally introduce myself as their Scrum Master and to share everything I know about our teams, our workload and began our first exercise of team building by voting on simple things as a team. I made sure to include everyone when asking for their input on the team make up (even the one UI guy that had to call into the meeting), and made a point to use words that were team friendly – the “we”, “our”, “us” and “this team” so that everyone begins to hear and feel how being part of a Scrum team will be. We agreed on staggering the sprint start and end dates from the other two team in case we ever need to be at their sprint planning sessions for cross-team impacting stories.  We agreed that our team’s core working hours will be between 10:30am and 3pm to accommodate everyone’s individual schedules.  Two other decisions that will be decided during our Scrum training in two weeks are the team name, the sprint length and the inclusion or exclusion of the User Experience designers as part of the team.  Our resource plan looked like this for our initial discussion:

  • 1 Scrum Master
  • 1 Product Owner
  • 2 Dev (Sys Eng)
  • 2 UI Designer
  • 2 QA Tester
  • 1 CMS Eng
  • 1 DBA
  • UX (Need to confirm if this role will be in the team or not)

We have enough people to start with two teams but we’re thinking of starting out as one team, focus the first few sprints on Knowledge Transfer between team mates in the same role and then split out to two teams once we can function as two independent fully functional teams.  The team seems to be open to that so we may end up there by the end of our next team meeting.
One of our partner teams is not sold on Scrum so he’s asking many of the standard questions about how Scrum works with UX, what are the processes and procedures for how team members work together and where are the data flow diagrams and detailed documentation which is usually not dictated but rather organically grown as the team or teams mature.  This is an area where I need a successful Scrum engineer to share their successes and failures with different Scrum team make ups.  I want to know what they started with and what they ended up with and what scenarios they went through to get to success. Anyone know someone who’s done it? I’m reaching out to some of my Scrum forum groups to see who I can connect with.
Here are some links I found searching the web:


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