Scrum Puzzle #2
Wow, I’m overwhelmed by the great response to the first Scrum Puzzle. I loved some of your responses. I especially liked Matthew’s example of moving the boulders. That’s a great way to teach the principle.
Here is my solution:
There are 2 key learning points in this puzzle. Number one is the value of small batch sizes. There are numerous exercises to demonstrate this. Check out the penny game as an example. Most of you got that the stories really need to be broken down smaller. This is often difficult for new teams, but there are techniques you can use to do this. See my previous post on breaking down user stories. If we don’t have small batch sizes, then it takes longer to complete work, progress is less transparent, feedback cycles are longer. All of these are things we are trying to avoid in Scrum, so any solution which makes the batch size larger is generally not a good idea.
The second problem in this puzzle is the statement that only 2 developers can work on a large story at a time. While I accept that this might be true. This is an impediment as it slows down the speed at which the team can deliver the most important features. Instead of taking on additional stories, or being idle, they other developers in the team should be looking at how to refactor the code, or their development practices so that more people are able to work concurrently.
In summary, I believe the ScrumMaster should switch to mentoring mode, explain the value of small batch sizes, and question what prevents them from having more people work on the story. Ask the team how they might solve this problem differently, keeping that in mind. Hopefully the team will realise that a better solution is to split the story, and address the reasons why only 2 people can code at a time.
And now for this week’s Scrum puzzle….
Scrum Puzzle #2
Your team has an established velocity of 30 points per 2 week sprint. A client has an urgent regulatory requirement which was previously missed. The client is due to launch in 3 weeks time, but will be prevented from launching if the regulatory requirement is not included. In backlog grooming the team have sized the work as 45 points. The product owner is thrilled because if he runs a 3 week sprint he should get 30 x 1.5 = 45 points, so the team can deliver in time for the client’s deadline. You are the Scrum Master. Do you allow the Product Owner to change the sprint length this one time to assist the customer?