Friday, September 17, 2010

More on Scrum

It is one thing to learn something like Scrum, and to go back to the organization to apply it. I was in such situation and it is really a fabulous learning experience for me and the organization I work with.

To summarize the learning,  here is my side of the story. We are attempting very much to apply scrum within the team and within a management environment that base on the waterfall model. It is a difficult part trying to convince the management of what to expect. The 2nd part that differs greatly that the management had a harder time embracing is that: The work that developer commits is based on their estimation. This does not help at all really if you focus very much into the benefits of it.

The solution to the above 2 is that, while internal to the team we practice Scrum, externally, we generate reasonable data and information records for reporting purpose. As for the second issue, the developer commitment will be detailed out as well as time management system continue to be used and required to be filled by all staff.

In addition we had some tools us in the form of VSTS 2008 which has a Scrum template build for those who work on Scrum. We started without, but eventually start to populate the required records such as sprint, start date, target hours of work, planned hours to work and working hours available. The result was using this, we were able to churn out reports much faster and we are able to trace our progress like never before. Though the drawback is that there is a lot of stuff to key in for every sprint.

In the quarterly forum I was also able to meet up with an exert who helped in imparting to me some great ideas if implementation. Mike Sutton from was the man who gave us the insights.

In a nutshell to move from a waterfall to scrum model, follow the following steps:
1. find a pm, developer, sponsor who is interested
2. find a pilot project
3. do it

~~ Show me the data.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Process Improvement Tool - 8D

Recently I came across this tool, which one of my client is using. It does not have that much of a publicity but a size-able number of organization actually follows it. Check it out.

8D is a problem-solving methodology for product and process improvement. It is structured into eight disciplines, emphasizing team synergy. The team as whole is better and smarter than the quality sum of the individuals. Each discipline is supported by a checklist of assessment questions, such as "what is wrong with what", "what, when, where, how much".

The Eight Disciplines

1. Use Team Approach
    Establish a small group of people with the knowledge, time, authority and skill to solve the problem and implement corrective actions. The group must select a team leader.

2. Describe the Problem
    Describe the problem in measurable terms. Specify the internal or external customer problem by describing it in specific terms.

3. Implement and Verify Short-Term Corrective Actions
    Define and implement those intermediate actions that will protect the customer from the problem until permanent corrective action is implemented. Verify with data the effectiveness of these actions.

4. Define and Verify Root Causes
    Identify all potential causes which could explain why the problem occurred. Test each potential cause against the problem description and data. Identify alternative corrective actions to eliminate root cause.

5. Verify Corrective Actions
    Confirm that the selected corrective actions will resolve the problem for the customer and will not cause undesirable side effects. Define other actions, if necessary, based on potential severity of problem.

6. Implement Permanent Corrective Actions
    Define and implement the permanent corrective actions needed. Choose on-going controls to insure the root cause is eliminated. Once in production, monitor the long-term effects and implement additional controls as necessary.

7. Prevent Recurrence
    Modify specifications, update training, review work flow, improve practices and procedures to prevent recurrence of this and all similar problems.

8. Congratulate Your Team
    Recognize the collective efforts of your team. Publicize your achievement. Share your knowledge and learning.

~~ Show me the data.