Definition of done: the Swiss army knife of Scrum

Most of the concepts in Scrum are easy to understand but extremely difficult to master. This is due to the fact that Scrum is designed for perfect, and reality never is. The same principle applies to the Definition of Done.

When we start up teams, we help them to set a Definition of Done (DoD). Teams are taught the DoD is an instrument that will provide them transparency in two ways:

  • understanding what the effort of work is, considering all the tasks that need to be undertaken by the team before work can be marked as “done”.
  • understanding what “done” means when an item is inspected at the end of the sprint.
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From Sheep Dog to Lap Dog

Back in the early days of Scrum, the Scrum Master role was exciting. The days of the pigs & chickens, the days when being a Scrum Master was considered dangerous.

In those times there was the saying

a dead Scrum Master is a useless Scrum Master 

And even today I still use that when selecting a Scrum Master to work with. 

If you never got fired as a Scrum Master then you probably did not show enough courage to achieve breakthrough improvements.

Scrum Master as a Sheep Dog

As a Scrum Master you would work with the Product Owner on value; coach management on organizational design; and work with the Development Team on self-organization and technical excellence. The Scrum Master would strive for the team to put the product into the hands of the customer every Sprint. It was natural to work on test automation, code quality and deployment. If the Scrum Master would catch a project manager sneaking in from the back, breaking the rules and disturbing the teams, the Scrum Master would go for a frontal confrontation, or as Brian Marick once said:

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The LeSS Dynamics Game

The LeSS Dynamics Game

( a.k.a. The Waterfall Game)

 

Goal of the Game

The goal of this game is to understand how organisational design using component teams leads to the waterfall and unnecessary complexity. In this game, you experience how a typical scaling approach I call “Copy Paste Scaling” results in not so good things in organisations. 

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The meetup with Craig Larman report

On 13th July we had our meet up with Craig Larman in a very nice auditorium at Delta Lloyd in Amsterdam. 

Craig Larman surprise talk was about the history and (de)scaling of agile. 

Scaling?

One of the directors of SAGE was discussing why the programming had gotten out of hand. He was then asked, “ if you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?”

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How To Scale Scrum? ...is The Wrong Question To Ask

Some companies develop 1 product with 10s to 100s of people using Scrum. And they do that without adding any roles, events or processes to Scrum. They can do this because they use an organisational design that optimises for the right goals.

Design Goals

An organisation has a design, just like a truck or a Formula-1 car have a design too. A big truck is designed in such a way that it can efficiently move cargo from point A to point B. The efficiency usually comes at the price of long maintenance times. Changing the tyres e.g. is pretty hard work; it is usually done with a couple of people, requires lifting equipment and takes hours to complete.

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