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!

Lesson 3 : SCRUM, Sprint 0

For this third lesson with my 14 students, we kept the same groups as for the Aiplane Factory done the week before. (see last article)

So, 3 groups of young Scrum beginners :

  •  2 groups of 5 
  • 1 group of 4 people. 
Every group has a Product Owner and a Scrum Master, and of course a Dev. Team.
Being in a school environment, the PO and the SM are also developers since their Scrum roles aren’t enough to have a fulltime occupation.
So for this 5 period lesson, we decided to have a Sprint 0. The groups chose a project that they already developped in their Delphi course. I wanted them to choose something that they already did before, so that the “Functional specs” are clear enough. The aim being to recreate the same project using C#.Net and working with SCRUM.
For the Sprint 0, I gave the following instructions to the different groups and to the different roles :

Product Owners 

  • Write user stories / epics for their project and try to make them the smallest possible.
  • Give a priority to the stories by setting a Business Value from 100 to 2100 to them
  • Once the stories are ready, start the Sprint Planning. The PO is responsible to explain the stories to the team.

Scrum Masters 

  • Prepare an Excel Spreadsheet that will allow them to follow the project, know which story is asigned to which developer, prepare a working Burndown Chart and test their Excel Spreadsheet with some fake values
  • Prepare the physical board where the post-its corresponding to the sprint stories will be presented and where the stand up will take place

Developers

  • Learn what is GIT by following some tutorials on the web
  • Prepare a .NET solution for the future project
  • Prepare a GIT Repository for team work
  • Take a CSharp tutorial in order to get to know this programming language
Once everybody was ready, I explained that we will start the Sprint Planning. Every team had to do its own Scrum Poker.
In order to avoid buying Scrum Poker Cards, every student downloaded an App for their phones which allowed them to play the Scrum Poker and plan the sprint.

  • Android phones : Scrum Poker App
  • Apple phones : Scrum Time App
  • *No one had a Windows Phone, ouf! I didn’t even check if there is an app or not 😀
At the end of the afternoon every team engaged for a certain number of story points to realize during Sprint 1.
And here are the dashboards, ready for Sprint 1!!!!!

See you next week for Sprint 1!

Lesson 2 : SCRUM, let’s try it !

For this second lesson, I first started by reassessing what my students were supposed to learn the week before, meaning all the SCRUM terminology.In order to accomplish this, I re-used the flashcards created the week before, but this time, I made the students choose a card randomly and present it to their classmates. This exercice allowed everybody to get back on track.

After this small review, I explained that the aim of the afternoon will be to create paper planes, which created a total chaos in the classroom.

My objective for this lesson was to make them understand the way SCRUM works without starting to develop a real program yet. I remembered the first course I attended about Scrum and a game we played at that time. The game was something similar to the paper plane creation but we had to make boats and hats.

Anyway, I searched the Internet to try to remember how the game worked exactly, but instead I found the Paper Plane Factory Game, which I decided to use.

I split the students in 3 groups, 2 groups of 5 and one group of 4 and started the game by alternating 2 minute sprints and 1 minute retrospectives. Before each sprint students were asked to estimate the number of planes that they plan to produce. At the end of each sprint, I tested all the planes and decided if they were conform to the specifications or not.

Students simply loved the concept! Imagine 14 boys, well young men (18-22), learning that they will be devided into 3 groups in order to produce paper planes. 🙂

They definitly had fun! And more importantly, through the game, they learned :

  • what is a sprint,
  • what is a retrospective, 
  • what are the acceptance criteria 
  • what is quality. 

The learned how to re-adjust their estimation and their work-flow from one sprint to another. They also learned to deal with “technical” constraints, for example having only one pen for each group.

The game took us a bit more than an hour, and at the end, the different teams decided to stay together for the next step of the course : Developing a real project with SCRUM.

This exercice created a team spirit in every team, and even if in the begining they weren’t very happy with their groups, at the end they decided to keep the teams as is.

Next week, they will choose an existing exercice developed in Delphi and will have to write the backlog and start to plan a sprint to re-do the same exercice in C#.NET.

Lesson 1 : Discover Agile Methodologies and SCRUM Concepts

For this first lesson I prepared 15 flashcards with one Scrum concept written on each (sprint, planning poker, product owner, scrum master, user story, etc.).
During the course I made a brief introduction to SCRUM, then attributed one card to each student and let them one hour to search the concept written on their card on the Internet. The purpose of the research was to prepare a small presentation (5 min) for the classroom in order to discuss the concept all together with teacher’s support.
The students were eager to learn what was the meaning of their card, the terminology being very abstract for someone hearing about scrum for the first time. They spent 1 hour totally absorbed by their task.
Then, each student presented their findings and answered classroom questions. I defined the presentation order of each concept, which allowed them to add a jigsaw to their puzzle and get the big picture of the scrum methodology at the end.
This first lesson was a success. The students understood the SCRUM process, the SCRUM ceremonies, the SCRUM roles, and aquired the new terminology needed to start working in a new manner.
Next episode in one week !

Teaching SCRUM in schools

After a ten years experience as a Developer then Business Analyst and finally User Experience Designer, I experienced many project management methodologies. But the last 4 years, I mainely worked with
 as a Developer and later Product Owner (CSPO).
This is why, when I became a teacher I wanted to somehow integrate this methodology in my classroom.
The first occasion showed up this semester with students that are at the end of their studies, and I decided to give it a try.
In this blog, I will explain how we made it with my classroom. I have 16 courses of 5 periods(45min) each to complete the challenge.
Let’s see how it will work out !