Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"What is Technical Debt?"

THAT IS THE QUESTION... and you should know (!) the answer to this question in order TO BE AGILE. If not, now it is good moment to start finding more info on this subject.

Well... it is possible also to know the problem, but not with this formal name. 

Anyway, dealing with TD it is matter of TO BE OR NOT BE AGILE.  The full set of questions is:
  • What is TD?
  • How could be solved and/or managed?
  • Do you use as a criteria for work assessment to have a low(enough) level of TD?
Just a hint: Scrum has the concept of "Done". In fact you are not really Done, if there is too much TD left behind at the end of Sprint work. That mean TD it is a matter of  "To be or not to be" also for Scrum adoption.

More: TD it is an "Elephant in the Room" for Agile, but also for Software Development as domain of activity (no matter the used process approach).

"You can't just pick anyone for the Scrum Master "

Selecting a Scrum Master
Which should be the best way to select a Scrum Master? As usual ... You should pick someone that could match with the responsibilities and skills required by this role. 
Right... And how we will identify these responsibilities and skills? 
We can start with the description of these responsibilities from the Scrum Guide and from the official books and papers of the Scrum authors.


Suppose that we have this scenario: the criteria selection is to pick someone that have "Scrum Master" certification. A such candidate will know the Scrum rules, and there is an exam result to prove that (and possible also a Scrum course).
It is that a good criteria?
I think that is not enough. 
First - most of the certifications are CSM (from Scrum Alliance) and then PSM 1 (from The problem is that these certifications are "entry-level" certifications for both organizations. There are also more advanced certifications in both cases: CSP, CSC (from Scrum Alliance) and PSM 2 (from The highest level certifications are for the official trainers: CST and PST. The problem is that there are fewer people with these kind of certifications and it is more expensive to use such professionals.
Second - It is not enough to know only the Scrum rules. The SM must have Agile and process experience (per domain - such software development) in order to offer guidance for both PO and DT.

Jeff Sutherland says that it was inspired to create this role by the work of Taiichi Ono to set up the first Toyota Production System team "a facilitative leader" that could help "cross-functional team do their work.". Later the SM evolves more to the coaching dimension.
Jeff Sutherland conclusion: "..the Scrum Master is responsible for significantly improving performance of the team both in terms of output and happiness. So you can't just pick anyone for the Scrum Master and I have never seen a great team without a great Scrum Master."