Lesson 5-6 : SCRUM, Sprint 2-3 – and a first release

After a first catastrophic Sprint, the Sprint 2 and 3 went better :).

I installed Git Extensions on every computer and the students understood better how to use GIT with this interface. We also decided to work with the “Rebase” system rather than branches which seems easier to understand for beginners.
The teams became more and more independant and managed their sprint plannings, retrospectives and stand-ups by themselves during sprint 2 and sprint 3.
I still spent time with a few people trying to correct wrong commits and trying to find workarounds for some C# issues.
Sprint 3 went pretty well for every team. And then, during the last lesson, we realized that nobody had done a Sprint Review.
Since they were working on quite small projects we decided to organize a Release Review which covered the 3 missed sprint reviews.
Before the Release Review, I decided to organize a Test session. Every team was responsible for testing applications of the other teams. The students were happy to do this, and very eager to find mistakes in the other projects.
Then, the teams had time to discuss the bugs and decide which ones to correct before the final review.

In the middle of the afternoon, each group presented their project. They had the following instructions :

  • No PowerPoint
  • Business oriented presentation(not technical)
  • Some quantitative information (how many sprints, how many story points and business value was burned)
  • And since I couldn’t attend their retrospectives, I asked them to briefly explain what they improved in their process for each sprint
The presentations went well and what was most interesting is that all the teams had one main problem during the sprints : Lack of communication!
Strange, we are all in the same classroom during the whole afternoon, and yet, they did not communicate. It’s the exact same problem in a real Scrum Project. I was confronted to this kind of things in my work before as well. But the students learned fast and started asking the PO about everything every time they had a doubt. If only, the adults with whom I used to work had the same state of mind 🙂
At the end of all the “Release Reviews”, we did a “Global Retrospective”. It was aimed to discuss the course and the way we worked during the past weeks.
Students had a lot of positive things to mention :
  • Paper Plane Game (of course :))
  • Git Extensions (in the end they like it)
  • Discovering of Scrum
  • The fact that they had different Roles in the teams
  • The team work and spirit
  • Big teams (for them 4 or 5 is a big team, they mostly work in groups of 2 at school)
Among negative points they expressed their lack of knowledge of GIT and also the fact that they learned less C# than expected because they “lost” time with GIT and Scrum.
This was the end of MY “Sprint 0” for this experience with Scrum. The aim was to make them discover the main concepts and try to work on a very small project for a start.
Now they have a small idea on how it works and they have a 6 weeks practice.
As a next step, we are going to start working on a bigger project. Every team will have the same project, but they will plan their own stories and sprints.
More details coming soon!

Lesson 4 : SCRUM, Sprint 1 – a hard beginning

After a few successfull lessons, we finally initialized the first sprint, starting with our first standup for the 3 teams.
First stand-ups
The stand up went pretty well, but once the sprint started, I totally lost control of the groups.
  • Some groups had problems with their GIT project, merges went wrong, they lost some work, couldn’t cherry pick it.
  • Some groups didn’t understand that the whole point of scrum is to do things as defined in stories. So they continued working as “before” : first we create the whole interface, then we will do the code behind the buttons, even if there is no story in our sprint for the whole interface.
While I was repairing the GIT issues of one of the groups, the third group finished the sprint, had a retrospective, planned a new sprint, and then I realized that they didn’t even do a sprint review.
In short, everything went kind of wrong! I couldn’t follow the 3 groups at the same time and I couldn’t help them with everything they needed.
When we started, we already knew that the 3 projects were too small to work have many sprints, but we wanted to experiment SCRUM anyway and maybe then start a more complex project in order to really have a chance to implement the Scrum Framework.
But I didn’t really realize at which point I was suppose to help them and support them in their work, which created a big mess in the last lesson.
Next week, I hope I will find a solution to manage the 3 teams and their respective issues!