Touch Down

The first semester at the Beuth Hochschule für Technik is coming to an end. Today, one of my teams had their first release (after seven 2-week-sprints). They create an online collaboration tool called [lao] "look ahead online", which went open-soruce on github this night. You can try out a running demo here.

To get an better idea of my cource, watch this short project video (german version) created by André Bauscher and Julian Moser:

Be happy!


Professional Scrum Training is essential!

Some weeks of our Scrum@University adventure are over, and it feels like a good point to share some experiences with you. Since my last Post we built up the teams, get in touch with our Product Owners, and got an excellent Scurm training by Ralf, one of the coaches at agile42.

Our initial setup was 7 companies offering 7 projects. The students had a first and a second vote for a project. Based on these votes, I formed 5 groups (attention, groups, not teams!). 80% of the students got their first vote accepted, and 20% their second vote. That was a nice result. However, it took about a week to come to this result, and I think I can do better in future. For example, I could present the projects and say: "Hey, I will leave the room for 30 minutes. When I come back, you've found 5 groups with a minimum of 5 members". I am sure there are thousands of possibilities to form groups. Do you have additional ideas for me?

OK, so we had our groups. The next thing was to bring the 5 groups together with their 5 Product Owners. BUT WAIT, what is a Product Owner? Yes, before I could present the groups, I need to tell them what Scrum is. Nothing easier than that, because I was aware of Mike's Reusable Scrum Presentation. So I picked the slides, put my name on the first slide, and gave an enthusiastic talk about Scrum to my students.
And guess what, after that talk I had room full of 30 students with BIG question marks over their head.
What went wrong? Well, I told them what Scrum is (roles, artifacts, meetings), but I didn't told them why I told them! The question was, how can I do better? And now I was ready to understand the need for a professional Scrum training by Scrum experts. I invited Ralf from agile42 and he told us (no, he let us live) what Scum is. And he did a fantastic job! Here are some selected photos taken during the training:

The Ball Point Game
The Ball Point Game simulates the whole Scrum Iterations (including estimation, planning, sprinting, reviewing, and restrospecting)

One goes inside a circle and tells what he/she thinks is the reason for student projects fail in the past. Everyone who agrees goes inside the circle.
Metaphor for Scrum: Round Table

Metaphor for Scrum: Curricle
Metaphor for Scrum: Soccer

Metaphor for Scrum: Hill Climbing
Mataphor for Scum: Voltage Delta


Building Software Projects Using Scrum At University

As some of you know, I started to teach at the University of Applied Sciences Berlin this semester. One of my courses is called Softwareproject I (and will be continued by Softwareproject II with the same students), in which the students should work in groups and do what they are expected to do later in the in the IT industry: Build Software.
In the next months, I will try to write down my experiences with this course, because I think that we do something special, since we will try to create large teams of six to nine students (yes, that's a fairly large number at the university) and do Scum, a popular candidate of the agile methodologies. Applying Scrum in an university context exposes many challenges, and I will try to address some of them in future posts. One of that challenges is the lack of real projects. For me, a real project is a project with a real customer. And a real customer is someone who is driven by the market. So in a perfect world, I would have enough real projects for all of my students (~30) to work in. And guess what, sometimes the world is perfect. I started to search for companies with these characteristics:
  • have the courage to work with (potentially unexperienced) students
  • propose a project which fits to the experience level of the students
  • agree to apply Scrum and provide a Project Owner 
 I found an overwhelming number of seven(!) companies with seven projects who want to work with us:
 And if this wasn't anough, I also found sponsors and supporters:
  • agile42 will give us free Scrum lessons, which is really great because of their experiences with introducing Scrum in many companies
  • ScrumDo, providing a web-based Scrum tool, supports us with business accounts
  • github, a hosting service for git repositories, supports us with business accounts for private repositories
  • a friend of mine, Olivera Janackovic, desgined the banner you can see at the top of this posting especially for that course
For the start, the world seems perfect. My students can decide which project they want to work in, an after that we will start to build the teams. Next week, I we will try to have the Project Owners of the chosen projects to come to our lessons, so that the teams can start to work on a detailed vision for the project and its architecture.