Agile & Scrum lessons from meetup @Jenius

Jakarta Scrum Meetup

Thursday 8 December, Scrum user group Indonesia organized a meetup at the Jenius floor of BTPN bank. For those of you who don’t know what Jenius is about (although it seems 100% of the tech crowd knows), here are a couple of links:

Jenius website
Tech In Asia article
Scrum Master vacancy at Jenius

We had defined 5 topics for discussion during the meetup. For each topic we had a facilitator (as it was evening, some of them had to be forced :)). People could then add questions or challenges to each of the topics. Each person selected a topic and joined the facilitator of the group. We had discussions for about an hour and then each group presented their main findings. The topics and facilitators:

  1. Characteristics of a great scrum master, hosted by Ivan Darmawan
  2. Distributed scrum, hosted by Hugo Messer
  3. What is scrum? hosted by Krisman Oppusunggu
  4. Agile Bank & Jenius, hosted by Alfonso Tambunan
  5. How to be a good product owner? hosted by Wijayawati Yip

To share the insights of the meetup, some of the facilitators have created a summary, based on a ‘written interview’. You can read the summaries below. Our next meetup will be on 11 January @Happy Fresh.

What is scrum? hosted by Krisman Oppusunggu

Krisman Opposunggu

What were the topics or questions you discussed in your group?
As this group is for newbies, topics are around first knowledge of Scrum such as:
– What is Scrum?
– Why Scrum?
– How to be certified in Scrum?

Please share the main insights on each of the topics?
– What is Scrum?
According to Scrum.org, Scrum is a management and control process that cuts through complexity to focus on building software that meets business needs.
– Why Scrum?
Because the simple methodologies can solve the problem of:
– long product development cycle; and
– a mismatch between a product’s business requirement and the actual resulting implementation
– How to be certified in Scrum?
By taking Professional Scrum Master (PSM) certification from scrum.org or Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certification from scrumalliance.org

What went well in the session?
As most of our group members are newbies in Scrum, they are really engaged in the discussion and raised more than 16 major questions they would like to know about Scrum.

What would you do different next time?
We need to summarize our discussion result in a paper/diagram/drawing and take photo as evidences.

How to be a good product owner? hosted by Wijayawati Yip

Wijayawati Yip

What were the topics or questions you discussed in your group?

– What are the criteria of good product owners ?
– How to align the product owners’ priorities with the project timeline and roadmap?
– How to deal with undisciplined PO? Urgent story in the middle of a sprint

Please share the main insights on each of the topics?

– A good product owner has to have 3 foundations: UX, Business & Technical. PO should know how to prioritize the stories, and be able to say NO if backlog items are not really needed or are not urgently required

Presentation of ‘good product ownership’

– Has a good vision and mission which is in line with the Business strategies. And by working closely with the team, the PO will eventually know the team capacity and will be able to provide estimation of timeline or roadmap.

– PO, Scrum Master & Dev team have to work closely to each other, by proper process (backlog grooming) the team should minimize unpredicted urgent stories (except for production issues which the team has to decide together; could the story be taken up during the sprint and/or do we de-prioritize other stories in the sprint backlog)

What went well in the session?

– Good crowd, all team shared their experience & problems which made the conversation light & they even can provide advice to each others

What would you do different next time?

– Prepare for more suitable theme for me 🙂

 

Distributed scrum, hosted by Hugo Messer

What were the topics or questions you discussed in your group?

  • How to organize the different roles; what role on what ‘shore’ (specifically QA)?
  • What tools can be used to improve collaboration
  • How does communication work in distributed teams?
  • Team building in distributed teams
  • Is it going to work with distributed scrum?

Please share the main insights on each of the topics?

We had 2 angles for organizing distributed teams: SME setup and enterprise setup. All participants were using scrum for their development, so we used the scrum roles to discuss the setup. Hugo shared the below diagram:

 

The most effective setup is to have the team collocated with the scrum master. The product owner should be close to the customers/users/stakeholders. As the setup we discussed was within Indonesia, we assumed the product owner could travel regularly to sit with the team (e.g. for sprint planning and/or backlog grooming sessions). If it’s a long term project, it may be beneficial to have a ‘proxy product owner’ in the remote team. The proxy product owner can get authority for making decisions and clarifying user stories over time. The longer a product owner and proxy work together, the more trust evolves and the easier it becomes to delegate authority.

Arthur Purnama explained a setup for enterprises. In enterprises, there may be 10 or more teams working on the same product. In most cases, products get separated into sub-products or functional areas. Each functional area has a product owner. There is also an ‘area product owner’ who coordinates the product road-map with the product owners. Each team is in this case ideally collocated (or at least in the same city), in many cases even with the product owner. Product owners can be part of more than one scrum team. In such setup, less communication is required between the team and the chief product owner.

What tools can be used to improve collaboration? The summary of this discussion was ‘a fool with a tool is still a fool’. Some tools can help distributed teams collaborate better, but eventually it’s about having good people. Tools should follow communication processes and are not an end in itself.

Team building within a distributed team is always more challenging than in a collocated team. If the teams are within Indonesia, it seems easy to organize quarterly get togethers. One tool Hugo shared was the team canvas. This is a canvas which can be filled by a team to get ‘on the same page‘ regarding team vision, mission, goals, values, etc.

We also shortly looked at Hugo’s distributed team canvas. This is a tool for teams to identify the challenges they have in collaborating and come up with solutions to improve. This can be used to facilitate a longer retrospective and is ideally done with the full team collocated.

What went well in the session?

We had a small group with most people from 1 company, which gave an interesting discussion. They are planning to setup remote offices across Indonesia. Arthur and Hugo both have a lot of experience with distributed teams and could share some experiences on this. I think we reached some good insights and knowledge exchange.

What would you do different next time?

I had in mind creating some funny role play or presentation, but we ended up with a standard presentation in which we shared the main conclusions. Next time I would start with discussing the format of the presentation to make it more interactive and engaging.

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