Ken Schwaber Tech Talk

I’ve just finished watching a Google Tech Talk by Ken Schwaber: Scrum et al, through the ‘running agile blog.

This was the first time I’ve seen Schwaber talk, though I’ve been reading his blog. It was a good talk, with plenty of humour, and some very recognisable stories.

Some highlights (paraphrased from memory, I’m lazy):

“In Scrum there’s this role called the ‘ScrumMaster’. Otherwise often known as ’the prick’. This is the guy who needs to ensure that the team does not compromise on quality. He’s the one that has to say, when some item has not been finished to the agreed level of quality: ‘Sorry, this is not going to be demoed’ to the team, and ‘Sorry, this will not be delivered until the end of the next sprint’ to the Product Owner. You can imagine how popular this makes this guy. They usually burn out after 12 to 15 months.”;

Thanks for that last bit, Ken. And I was really liking my new career, so far…

Another very interesting bit was the part (starting at around the 35 minute mark) where he talks about how companies can be held back by the state of their ‘core functionality’, the wrong distribution between people working on new functionality, and those maintaining (and extending) the core, and how you can get there. Of course, the how you can get there is more familiar to most of us then we would like to admit…

He explains how you normally get to this state, using a very normal process of overcommitting (pressure…), quality declining, velocity declining… Rinse and repeat!

Very much worth watching.