; charset=UTF-8" /> Agile Scrum Consulting & Training - Part 2 Reflect early, Reflect Often, Almost Reflect Always; Don't be afraid to learn. Don't let your head work alone for long periods of time.

Doug Shimp – Agile Scrum Coach

I love the intersection of people, technology, culture and great products.

Can work be added during a sprint?

  1. You should never add work during a sprint
  2. If the Product Owner wants it then put it in
  3. As we understand the work we adjust our view of the work to reflect what it takes to do the job
  4. This is really a question of granularity. If the adjusted work is in small bits then yes, as the bits get larger we risk loosing rhythm and consistency.
  5. Our sprint plan should have nailed it. Changes during the sprint is a sign of sloppy planning.


Comment: Changes to work forms an interesting tension.  At a fine grained detailed level it changes all the time. Each person’s individual to-dos often change toreflect their understanding of what it takes to get the job done. As the level of granularity increases to task then it is a change to the team’s plan. If the number of changes is significant and adds up to more than one story’s worth of work then you better stop and adjust your plan, usually you want the product owner in on that discussion. And if there are several new  stories that were  suddenly found and are so important they must be done right now, then call a stop and reset your entire sprint with a sprint planning session. Generally, the commitment by the team to the sprint should not change. Note: definition of team makes this an interesting discussion. Bottom Line: The goal here is to help the team get better at  expressing work they can do and following through on a commitment.

Is it ok to change scrum?

  1. Sure, thats what agile/scrum is all about.
  2. Sure, you might wonder if you are making things harder to detect.
  3. No way !!!

change-scrumComment: The idea here is that there can be only one source for Scrum knowledge. I guess that depends on where you get your definition from and what you need. Should there be only one way to think about scrum? Probably not, although,  a rookie mistake is to modify without have deep applied practice and experience under your belt. The 1st common mistake we see people make is modifying scrum without understanding it. They often confuse themselves and their organization.

Wow! Thank you

Wow, thank you.

Below in purple is a post from a past attendee at a Hard Times Course I delivered.

I am not sure what to say or how to acknowledge this post. I am very grateful that someone choose to say these things and hope that others will be inspired to do similar things. The other pattern I hope to see more of and encourage others to do the same is to call attention to each others good work. This is social media at it’s best and encourages us all to be better.

Thank you Robert

The real America just stood up

Posted by Robert Merrill on August 29, 2009 under uFunctional Values

Doug Shimp of 3 Back LLC trained me as a Certified ScrumMaster early in 2009. It was some of the best training I’ve ever had.

He’s still training people to be Certified ScrumMasters. But that’s not news.

He’s training people in “Hard Times Detroit” to be Certified ScrumMasters at cost—$249 a pop. That’s news.

I choose to believe that Doug Shimp—not the selfish, short-sighted scoundrels who landed us in this mess, or the politicians who tell us what we want to hear and not the truth, or the journalists who inflame and incite instead of inspire (even when they’re not skewing the truth)—is the real America, and that there are about a half million more where he came from.

Because of that, and by God’s grace (that word gets tossed around a lot—it means “unmerited favor”), we may have a future after all; H1N1 flu, peak oil, eight-month’s-pay-worth-of-debt and climbing (how else do you put $10,000,000,000,000 or 75% of GDP in perspective), climate change, and all. (Sorry if I triggered a stab of fear, or left out the thing that scares you the most).

If you’re a Doug Shimp, please stand up. If you see a Doug Shimp standing, watch, listen, and act.

Two Things: Hard Times University and Scrum Book


This past weekend I delivered a Scrum training course to unemployed people in Detroit. The name if this course was “Hard Times ScrumMaster Detroit”. This course has given rise to a concept we are calling HTU “Hard Times University”

HTU’s purpose is to deliver high quality, low cost, open source knowledge, current training, in a community driven way. It has clear to me that large parts of our educational system are simply holding our learning hostage by high price, huge loans and organizational patterns that create barriers to doing it any other way. The people in this course were amazing and the energy to drastically reduce these barriers is there. Expect to hear much more on “Hard Times University” in the upcoming weeks.


It looks like we have a couple of publishers interested in our book “Advanced Topi cs in Scrum“. Chapter 4 is ready to read and waiting for anyone who wishes to comment on it. Find it here CHAPTER 4

Great Scrum Training In El Segundo – Watch

The Subtle Power of Facilitated Play

On June 24-25, 2009 I had the pleasure of attending a 2 day workshop session delivered by Luke Hohmann. My workshop was on Innovation Games® and I was being trained to become a facilitator for the games. The training was by far some of the best I have received in years!!!

innovationgames1Previously, I had seen Luke deliver a couple of games and read his book. And I have tried, with good success, to apply many of his techniques. However, like all busy people one thing after another had crowded Innovation Games® out of my head and I was no longer using them as actively. The reason for this is simple: too many things to do, a busy schedule, time for mastery and lack of a deep appreciation for the techniques. So, my current thought is, Innovation Games are subtle, powerful and really require hard work to master and apply well. Innovation Games now has my full attention and I am actively applying them.

Luke is a Grand Master Facilitator. I have facilitated many meetings and discussion around product development and consider myself a good facilitator. After the 1st morning of training on day one, my notebook was filled with quickly scribbled thoughts. Luke’s style, breadth and depth of applied experience as a facilitator were staggering. What could be learned by using the games became so much more apparent as the workshop progressed. When Innovation Games® are applied well many “hard to discover things” are teased to the surface through subtle artful facilitation and collaborative interaction. With trained observers these games can be used to capture powerful ideas for evolving products.

derek-wade-making-changesThe workshop was a double success because many of my peers where there from the Scrum Alliance. We were all being trained to become Innovation Games certified facilitators. Our days were filled with Luke artfully facilitating numerous games. Most people would not notice the facilitator’s presence; however, because all of my classmates are professional trainers, coaches, facilitators we paid close attention. After each game we ran a retrospect and review of the numerous techniques being demonstrated. All of us were able to personally relate to numerous experiences we have had and could immediately see applications to improve our work.


Master of the these games is aquired through application. I would encouarge anyone to try applying them and see what can be learned.

When the games are delivered by a skilled practioner they become a powerful set of techniques for figuring out product development needs. In Scrum the role of the Product Owner is well defined facing into the team. However, there is little to no help directly from Scrum for figuring out what to build. Generally, building the right thing is easy if we know what the right thing is. Innovation games are serious tools for determining what the right product should be.

It is not often that my head is left reeling from two days of intensive training. I am used to cramming information but, Luke’s training challenged my head in fundamental ways. These challenges caused me to reflect on how I was conceptualizing approaches to product development. My Big Thanks is too Luke and my classmates for making this possible. We make each other better through our collaborative interaction and Luke has raised the bar for me on what great facilitation can look like!


Attend IDSGE Great Products And The Power of Play



If you are in the San Francisco Area then check out this conference. This conference is being organized by experts in the field of product development. They will be using the power of serious game play to identify what will make for a great product that people will love.  Those familar with complex product development already know that “building the right thing” is the greatest risk to development. This  conference offers unique skills to help you reduce that risk.

1 day – June 26th,  2009

Innovation, Design & Serious Games Exchange

Organized by Enthiosys and Other Great Companies

I will not be there because of prior commitments but, would highly recomed for ScrumMasters and Product Owners who face the tough challenge of building world class products that people love.


Cost: $50-$90 (depending on options money well spent)

Difficulties Encountered With Large Agile Adoption

There are an increased number of posts about agile adoption not working out for some folks in larger companies. As the numbers of scrum / agile implementations sky rocket so too will the number of stories where agile is not succeeding.  The following story is not surprising and I expect to hear more of these types of responses as agile / scrum grows in applied practice. What interests me is not weather agile is good or bad (I’m sold on the concepts.) but, what we can learn through evaluation, in other words let’s be empirical and study the data we have.

eye-on-agile-scrum-adoptionA great recent blog post by Vikas Hazrati caught my eye.

The story starts like this …

You have been feeling great. Recently, you met a lot of people in \the software community who knew little about Agile and you felt good telling them on how you are practicing Agile on your new project. You tell them about the wonders it has done to the business value delivered to the client and how your work life balance has improved since you started following Agile methodologies religiously. How you have felt so committed to the project that you are working on a that you have a great team of professionals.

So far so good.

The climax in the story comes on that dreaded Friday evening when the less committed people of the organization, which includes all of your team, are give the pink slip, and of course you are one of them!

You wonder, Why us, Why me, How the hell am I not committed? I thought that after years of developing software the wrong way this is the first time that you have done the things right, then why? The reason is that somehow your organization believes that you are not committed. Neither to the organization nor your work.

This is not a surprising outcome and all to common. Agile has gone mainstream but it will be attacked from many angles.

My Observations

The current systems are thought models, essentially living thought models, changing them is slow and painful.  Like any living thing when it is attacked or challenged it will fight back and lash out in fear, anger, igonorance and for pure simple survival. The people defending the old tired models of thinking are simple acting reasonable from their frame of reference.

Additionally, for big companies to even recognize that they have an incredibly valuable asset in a well formed team is a huge step acknowledge that performing teams are capital assets. With a great team I can deploy it towards a challenging business problem and generate a myriad of ways to thrive. Knowledge is a commodity, it is the ability to do something useful with that knowledge that will distinguish these companies long term. Eliminating your good teams (capital assets) from the business is fiscally irresponsible and it will come back to haunt the organization.

Expect real change to take years. You can do things to dramatically accelerate this change but, you have to be very thoughtful about your approach. It will not rely solely on a rationalized conversation (i.e. 1+1 = 2) people just don’t care when it comes to habits and perceptions driven from an emotional bases. And like it or not we are most often dealing with emotional issues since our rationalizations are anchored by an emotional part of our brain. Intentionally changing behavior is a long haul propositioin and the scrum framework is an means to inspect and adapt a change state into existence.

- Doug


Scrum Out of the Nutshell – Video

I gave my first Livestream presentation today on Scrum. This will be talk that I run frequently over the next couple months. You can expect to see the slides posted soon and those will be available for use on general public license.

I hope you enjoy. Please leave a comment on your experience.

Look for more videos coming soon from a wide audience of practitioners, coaches and trainers.

Ottawa Scrum User Group


New Scrum User Group

I will be helping the  Ottawa Scrum User Group kick off its first Scrum User Group  meeting. User groups are something that are intreguging to me because they bring up issues of sustainable community structures. I will be curious to see what kinds of internal structure unfold , how they are put in place and how those structure lead to sustainability. I have helped and seen many local interest groups come and go. I have learned to appreciate just enough structure for a Scrum User Group. I am being sent by both 3Back and the Scrum Alliance at the request of Ottawa Scrum User Group. I will be delivering a short Scrum In A Nutshell talk

Why help?

scrum-user-group-logoSeveral reasons:  help local communities that are interested in Scrum, support the Scrum and the mission of the Scrum Alliance, work withlocally talented people to build a collaborative community, help my company 3Back and finally it is fun and helps me professionally. I am actively involed with the Scrum Alliance and have seen that growing  local Scrum User Groups, helps us all. 

Read the Scrum Alliance “Scrum User Group Guidelines“, getting started is easy and I can help.