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Scrum and the Cooperative Game

In many (IT) partnerships and implementations people seem to prefer to strangle each other rather than assure mutual benefits.

I’m applying Scrum (over 4 years already), in my projects and in my management. It continuously helps me to cross fences; between suppliers and customers, business and IT, analysts and developers, x-layer developers and y-layer developers, etc.

In my Scrum-based development process I use Pre-Game Staging to name the barely enough preparative phase for 1 stage of software development. The “Games” metaphor was described by Alistair Cockburn in his biblical work Agile Software Development. I strongly agree with him that software development should be a Cooperative Game.

  • Cooperative: a team of people works together towards a common goal, not to fight each other.
  • Non-zero sum: the players are not opposed and do not try to win by getting the other at zero. There are multiple winners.
  • Finite and goal-seeking: the game ends when the goal is achieved. The game is not meant for just staying in existence.

You will find this as well in the integrated prerequisite for supplier-customer relationships (possibly multi-tier), from Toyota’s Lean Production to Poppendieck’s Lean Software Development. It offers far more certainties than our commonly applied bidding processes. Think (read) about it!

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Scrum merciless exposes…

  • Old skool thinking of people as ‘replaceable pieces of machinery’.
  • Dead hierarchy (chop it of to make your tree breathe again).
  • The invaluable waste and trash piled up at the end of a sequential process.
  • The mighty power of teams to unhide, be responsible and deliver.
  • Ways to combine fun, satisfaction, discipline and results.

(maybe I should expose myself finally as being all about Scrum, Scrum as designed and intended, throw my tracking and other models into the wide, wide world and be known)

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scrum is so… simple

and therefore extremely effective.

  • Describe desired product ideas and options in a Product Backlog.
  • Find a motivated and committed Product Owner.
  • Find a motivated and committed Team.
  • Master the team in adopting and following the Scrum Process.

And start… delivering (month after month after…) real business value.

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The enterprise and Scrum

The enterprise and ScrumAfter reading Ken Schwaber’s last book ‘The enterprise and Scrum’ and my recent change of employer, I’ve put the emphasis of my approach, my presentations and my framework on the process of Scrum more. The previous 4 years I have been practicing and promoting Scrum mainly from the combination with eXtreme Programming because my professional context was custom software development (mainly JavaEE).

At the same time I have more stressed the idea of ‘Value Driven Development’ (both in my -excel based- framework as well as in my introduction to Scrum). Reminds me of the fact that I should now include ‘sustainable pace’ as essential in Scrum as well, and not merely as an adoption from XP.