Certified ScrumMaster – A Look Back

I funny thing happened since my last post…. I became a Certified ScrumMaster!

Some basic points before I ramble:  For the uninitiated, a ScrumMaster is one of the three roles that make up a Scrum team.   For the further uninitiated, Scrum is a software development process that attempts to fulfill Agile software development principles.

For the even further uninitiated, Agile is a set of principles that seeks to produce faster and better solutions via software by engaging customers early and often.  These principles have been distilled into the Agile Manifesto, which is generally one’s first introduction to Agile.  I’ve also recently been introduced to the Manifesto for Software Craftsmanship, which uses the cadence of the Agile Manifesto to add a focus on quality and professionalism to our work.

The main idea of Agile is that customer needs and value opportunities can and do change frequently, often several times a day.  Therefore, the process by which software solutions intended to meet those needs are built must be just as flexible, if not more.  This means that software developers and the customers they serve should not be held prisoner by yesterday’s expectations, but should be ready and able to respond to changes over the course of their projects.

One of the more popular frameworks used to help a development shop become more Agile is called Scrum.  Scrum consists mainly of static teams that focus on a cadence of time-boxed ‘sprints,’ each with their own concise and explicit goal.  At the end of a sprint, the team presents (and usually deploys) the finished software and gathers feedback on their work.  Additionally, the team self-evaluates and adopts changes necessary to improve their own performance.  They are then ready to proceed with the next sprint.

For our two day class, we were first presented with the history and framework of Agile. Then we were formed into teams and tasked with working through a simulation of Scrum.  This included planning our goals for the overall product, organizing sprints that would result in a production-ready result and presenting that result for evaluation.

I’ve been working on Agile teams for a couple of years now and am a fan of the approach.  One of the most valuable takeaways that I had from the class was knowing to observe the Agile principles before any process.  Scrum (or even Agile) is not a magic bullet that’s appropriate to all projects.  Therefore, you need to remember whether or not your approach is in keeping with the value you’re intending to realize, rather than just blindly following a process.  Some other explicit warnings were, “If you’re not automating you regression testing, you can’t be Agile.”  The same premise goes for controlling your inputs.  Meaning, you need to have that concise and explicit goal, rather than trying to ‘boil the ocean’ and do everything at once.

I’d love to hear any feedback on this post and invite you to share your own experiences with Agile or Scrum.  As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

Thanks for looking in!

Blogs I Follow

And now for something completely different…
I’m assuming most people have a set of sites that they check or frequent on a daily basis.   This post is a list of favorites that I have on my feedly app.  I generally sift through these and save some interesting articles to Instapaper for easy access wherever I happen to be.
Coding Horror – Probably THE blog that motivated me to switch to software development full time.  Funny and insightful.
Scott Hanselman makes the short list of any Who’s Who when it comes to Microsoft solutions.  Posts frequently with either interesting ‘What’s New?’ or other content.
Trisha Gee – I had first heard of Trisha during the inaugural HackSummit() conference and her presentation was one of my favorites.  A Java expert and advocate.
John Sonmez – I’d first heard about John after taking a few of his courses on Pluralsight.  After following his blog for a while, I took his Create A Blog course and the result is this site.  Daily new content.
Humor and Personal
Drew Magary – Drew is a writer for several publications including Deadspin and GQ.  We’re about the same age so his posts about parenting and cooking are very relatable.
Wait But Why – I ran across this blog a while back.  Posts feature length articles on cool futurist topics like space exploration and AI.  If you read anything on the site, make time for the four part series on Elon Musk.
The Art of Manliness – I’ve been reading AoM for a few years now.  Very interesting articles on hobbies, fitness, fashion, traditions and more!  This is the site that got me to drop my cartridge razor in favor of a safety razor.  (Highly recommended)
Mr. Money Mustache – Personal finance advice and a must read for anyone considering early (or at least earlier) retirement.
The Daily Stoic – A Ryan Holiday blog.  Stoicism has been enjoying some recent popularity and reference.  This is a good resource for anyone interested in the basics or a deeper dive.
I’d love to hear any feedback on this list and invite you to share your own reviews or recommendations.  As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.
Thanks for looking in!