Professional Scrum Developer Questions asked at TechEd 2011

Q. We are implementing Product Life Cycle Management (PLCM) as part of our ISO certification. How does Scrum fit into the ISO world? We are also adopting 3M’s (our parent company) Lean Six Sigma process. Same question, how does Scrum fit into Lean Six Sigma?
A. PLCM (or just PLM as some refer to it) describe the life of a product in the market. The lifecycle has stages: introduction, growth, maturity, and saturation/decline. Scrum only deals with the development of the product. Where the two management ideas intersect would be in release planning. The product owner, and other stakeholders, decide what features (PBIs) need to be in each of those releases. This is manifested through the product backlog. Smart planning and prioritization can help the product grow to maturity and hit (and stay in) the sweet spot of the PLCM. As for how the larger discussion of ISO and Scrum fit together, I recommend reading this IEEE paper on the subject which concludes that ISO does not equate to quality but only helps ensure the Agile (Scrum) practices are being followed. While Lean Six Sigma and Scrum have similar goals, the integration of the two strategies must be done carefully to ensure success. Here are are a couple of articles on the subject: Integrating LSS and Scrum and Can Scrum Support Six Sigma?
Q. In Team Foundation Server, using hours (for baseline, remaining, and completed) how best to move an uncompleted task over to the next Sprint?
A. From a Scrum point of view, you wouldn’t want to move a task to the next Sprint unless the PBI or Bug that it was associated with was selected and committed-to by the Scrum Team. Assuming that is the case, then the developer who owns the task would re-estimate the remaining work. Tracking baseline and completed hours are considered waste because they don’t produce meaningful metrics in Scrum. Personally, I would just create a new task work item so that the old task would maintain its history and state according to the previous sprint.
Q. We have 5 .NET developers and 5 AS/400 developers. I know Team Foundation Server makes sense for .NET but can it store the RPG code?
A. Absolutely. Team Foundation Server is more than capable to store any development related artifact, such as RPG source code files. As the team matures in its understanding of ALM and usage of Team Foundation Server they can create and use work items to plan and track their work and associate to the checked-in code for maximum traceability. The question comes down to ease-of-use and how to allow the RPG developers to access source control with the least amount of friction. Ideas include using the TF.exe command line utility, the Team Foundation Power Tools Windows shell extension, or the Eclipse plug-in or cross-platform support found in Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere 2010.
Q. In getting started, would it be better to get Team Foundation Server or go get ScrumMaster certification?
A. To get started with Scrum, download and read the Scrum guide from If you require training on the basics of Scrum then consider attending a Professional Scrum Foundations class, otherwise attend a Professional Scrum Master class. Passing the assessment to achieve the certification is optional. Once your team starts maturing in their game of Scrum, then consider implementing it using Visual Studio Team Foundation Server – unless of course you are already using TFS, then start using Visual Studio Scrum as soon as possible.
Q. Where do I store the D.O.D. (Definition of Done) in Team Foundation Server?
A. Unfortunately there is no first class (read: auditable) way of storing a team’s definition of done in Team Foundation Server. Your choices are to store the list in a document or on a wiki page on the (SharePoint) project portal. You might also consider using Thomas Schissler’s work item control.
Q. Moving from Team Foundation Server 2008, importing work items from various sources (e.g. using Excel), can the Agile Excel templates be used?
A. Yes, Excel is an extremely flexible way of importing work items from many data sources (not just Excel).
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