What are you defining as „Done“?

Agility is why most organizations adopt Scrum.

The actual agility an organization achieves is rooted in how sophisticated Scrum is being employed. Beyond the mere adoption of Scrum, enterprise agility is much accelerated if the organization re-emerges its structures around Scrum. With re-vers-ify I remind people that structures need to be re-imagined, rather than predicted or copied, often upon re-imagining Scrum.

Through Scrum, teams and organizations create, deliver, maintain and evolve great products and services. Through Scrum, teams and organizations create the opportunity of potentially releasing a version of product no later than by the end of each Sprint, where a Sprint takes no more than 4 weeks, and often less. This provides an organization with foundational agility, the potential to thrive on its market, while creating a motivating working environment.

The state of an Increment of product by the end of a Sprint is named “Done” in Scrum.

In order for everyone to understand what “Done” means, teams have a definition of Done in place. The definition of Done holds the shared understanding of what it means for work to be complete, and ensures transparency over the completeness of the work.

At several points in time this provides crucial clarity:

  • When forecasting work deemed feasible for a Sprint.
  • When assessing whether work on Product Backlog items and the product Increment is complete.
  • Progress of development throughout a Sprint.
  • When considering the opportunistic value of the product functionality offered in the Increment (not having to turn the inspection into a quality interrogation).

Without a definition of Done, Scrum cannot be applied effectively.

Ideally, a professional organization defines quality requirements to be incorporated into a product. Regardless, Scrum professionals adhere to an appropriate definition of Done. Always. No undone work is part of the Increment. No undone work is put into production. Ever. Meanwhile committed professional teams keep looking for ways to improve product quality as reflected in the definition of Done.

Many teams across the world seem to be unable to create actually releasable Increments of product. Code is entered, and potentially tested, within a team. But the actual Increment remains scattered and hidden in long-lived branches. Or the work delivered at the end of a Sprint still needs to be integrated with fellow product teams. Or -even worse- it is to be shipped to different departments for that purpose. In those cases Scrum reveals important information over critical organisational impediments that prevent the teams from creating actually releasable versions of product. There is a substantial amount of “Undone Time”, the time it takes to go from an undone piece of work to a Done Increment. This time impedes the agility that the organisation desperately needs. It kills the option of opportunistic releases.

The purpose of a Sprint in Scrum is not to just result in a piece of work that can be shipped to another team, functional group or department. An Increment is expected to be in a useable condition, ready for production. When released, nothing breaks. No unpredictable amounts of open work accumulate in the system, waiting to be handled at some unknown point in time, meanwhile corrupting everybody’s understanding of the progress and quality. The actual release decision depends on how useful the product is, a decision that lies with the Product Owner, the sole representative of users and stakeholders to the Development Team(s).

At least an Increment is integrated across teams and systems to have it in a production-deployable state. Most often teams define as “Done” all the development activities (of which in general a lot of testing) to be performed to consider an Increment as “Releasable”.

Imagine however any non-software industry. Can you imagine ‘quality’ being expressed in terms of the machines, tools and practices to be used? Is this not ‘how’ to create quality, but not a definition of quality?

Quality is defined through the characteristics of a product.

Quality is in the qualities that a product should exhibit. A “Done” product in Scrum is not just a product on which rigorously proper development standards were applied, and therefore can be released. A “Done” product is a product that exhibits your organization’s definition of product qualities.

Valuable Increments are at the heart of Scrum, as I already indicated in my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” (2013).

Shifting the balance toward creating Valuable Increments is truly enacting Scrum, and living by the highest Agile principle:

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software (bold-indication by me).

A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value (bold-indication by me).

So, do you have a definition of Done? If so, what are you defining as “Done”? Is it ‘Releasable’, or ‘Valuable’? Is every Increment you create valuable? Why not? Does your Scrum Master know? Your management? And what are you doing about it?

 

Introducing re-vers-ify to the PMI Poland

wywiad z ekspertem od Scruma, Guntherem Verheyenem, który opowie o podejściu organizacji do wprowadzania zwinnych metod pracy

I was invited for the 4th Annual PMI event in Wroclaw (Poland) on 19 May 2017 to do the opening keynote. I introduced the narrative of “re-vers-ify” (re-imagining your Scrum to re-vers-ify your organisation).

During the day I was interviewed by Paulina Szczepaniak about “re-vers-ify” for the international PMI magazine.

If you want to read more about re-vers-ify, download the full magazine at the Strefa PMI website, or here on my blog. Find my article on page 32.

A daily Scrum Master BONUS podcast on re-vers-ify

The conversations I had with Vasco Duarte about Scrum, Scrum Masters and Scrum Master challenges were broadcasted in the week of 17-21 April 2017.

As an extension Vasco asked me to clarify the ideas I had expressed as “re.vers.ify“. Our conversation has been broadcasted on 21 May 2017 and is NOW AVAILABLE at the Scrum Master Toolbox website.

In “re.vers.ify“ I have consolidated over a decade of experience, ideas, beliefs and observations of Scrum and organisational transformation through Scrum (or the lack thereof). Re.vers.ify is an act, an act of simplicity, rhythm and focus. Re.vers.ify is a way for people to re.imagine their Scrum, and deliberately re-emerge the structures of their organisation. Re.vers.ify helps people and organisations shape the third Scrum wave.

 

Conversations with Vasco Duarte (available as daily Scrum Master podcasts)

I recently had some great conversations with Vasco Duarte about Scrum, Scrum Masters and Scrum Master challenges. In the week of 17-21 April 2017 they were broadcasted as daily Scrum Master podcasts.

Click the links below to listen to them again.

Vasco also recorded a bonus session, in which he invited me to share the ideas consolidated in “re-vers-ify”, or how re-imagining your Scrum can re-vers-ify your organisation. This bonus session has been broadcasted on 21 May 2017.

Find all Scrum Master Toolbox podcasts at http://scrum-master-toolbox.org or subscribe via iTunes.

Promoting Professional Scrum (in Ukraine)

In March 2017 I enjoyed being in Kyiv (Ukraine) to open the first Scrum Day Ukraine, introducing “re-vers-ify“.

I am continuing to support my local friends of Scrum, Slava Moskalenko and Bogdan Misyura (Brain Rain UA) in promoting Professional Scrum in their region. On 27-28 April we organise a Professional Scrum Product Owner class in Kyiv. Join if you want to explore the diverse aspects of product ownership in Scrum!

With ‘Professional Scrum‘ we promote the use of Scrum beyond the mere following of the formal ceremonies (‘mechanical Scrum’), but employing Scrum from an understanding of the underlying values and principles. In our Professional Scrum workshops we follow the difficult path of helping people explore how to build on the empiricism of Scrum, the intelligence of people and the Scrum Values, to tackle difficult and complex challenges. The easy path would be to be instructors, treat attendants as mindless robots and give people easy black/white solutions. 

Attending Scrum Days Poland (and opening the second day)

Soulmates and keynote speakers Scrum Days Poland 2017On 5 and 6 June the 3rd Scrum Days Poland take place, check out http://www.scrumdays.pl.

The people’s rebel Tobias Mayer opens the first day, about #trueScrumMaster. I am honoured to open the second day of the event. I will introduce “re-vers-ify“, an act of re-imagining Scrum to re-vers-ify your organisation. Both Tobias and I have workshops on the second day.

Check out https://guntherverheyen.com/events/ to know at what other events I am sharing ideas.