Book Notes: Scrum and XP from the Trenches - Henrik Kniberg

Book Notes: Scrum and XP from the Trenches - Henrik Kniberg
Scrum and XP from the Trenches presents an overview of a real-life implementation and key lessons learned.

Summary

Title: Scrum and XP from the Trenches
Author: Henrik Kniberg
Themes: Technology, Management, Business, Agile, Kanban, Scrum
Year: 2015
Publisher: Lulu.com
ISBN: 1329224272, 9781329224278
Pages: 184

As an overview of how one Swedish company implemented Scrum and XP for over a year, this book provides a down-to-earth account of how they continuously improved their process. 

It was under Henrik Kniberg's leadership that they experimented with a variety of teams, sprint lengths, definitions of done, formats for product backlogs, sprint backlogs, testing strategies, demo methods, and ways to synchronize multiple Scrum teams.

They also experimented with XP practices, including continuous build, pair programming, test-driven development, and how to combine these with Scrum. 

Book Notes: Scrum and XP from the Trenches - Henrik Kniberg

For teams seeking investment funding, good Scrum execution is increasingly important.

"... This is the first time I’ve seen a development methodology (sorry Ken, a framework) work right off the book. Plug'n play. All of us are happy with it – developers, testers, and managers. It helped us get out of a tough situation and has enabled us to maintain focus and momentum despite severe market turbulence and staff reductions. I shouldn’t say I was surprised but, well, I was. After initially digesting a few books on the topic Scrum seemed good but almost too good to be true (and we all know the saying “when something seems too good to be true...”). So I was justifiably a bit skeptical. But after doing Scrum for a year I’m sufficiently impressed (and most people in my teams as well) that I will probably continue using Scrum by default in new projects whenever there isn’t a strong reason not to..." - Preface of the Book

Kniberg's book provides an overview of how his company implements Agile in its software development process.

There are many great ideas and details that can only be found in a book written by someone who has actually practiced.

Chapters of the Book:

INTRO
   Disclaimer
   Why I wrote this
   But what is Scrum?

HOW WE DO PRODUCT BACKLOGS
   Additional story fields
   How we keep the product backlog at a business level

HOW WE PREPARE FOR SPRINT PLANNING

HOW WE DO SPRINT PLANNING
   Why the product owner has to attend
   Why quality is not negotiable
   Sprint planning meetings that drag on and on... 
   Sprint planning meeting agenda
   Defining the sprint length
   Defining the sprint goal
   Deciding which stories to include in the sprint
   How can the product owner affect which stories make it to the sprint?
   How does the team decide which stories to include in the sprint?
   Why we use index cards
   Definition of “done” 
   Time estimating using planning poker
   Clarifying stories 
   Breaking down stories into smaller stories 
   Breaking down stories into tasks
   Defining time and place for the daily scrum
   Where to draw the line
   Tech Stories
   Bug tracking system vs product backlog
   A sprint planning meeting is finally over!

HOW WE COMMUNICATE SPRINTS

HOW WE DO SPRINT BACKLOGS
   Sprint backlog format
   How the taskboard works
   Example 1 – after the first daily scrum
   Example 2 – after a few more days
   How the burndown chart works
   Taskboard warning signs
   Hey, what about traceability?!
   Estimating days vs. hours

HOW WE ARRANGE THE TEAM ROOM
   The Design Corner
   Seat the team together!
   Keep the product owner at bay
   Keep the managers and coaches at bay

HOW WE DO DAILY SCRUMS
   How we update the taskboard
   Dealing with latecomers
   Dealing with “I don’t know what to do today”

HOW WE DO SPRINT DEMOS
   Why do we insist that all sprints end with a demo 
   Checklist for sprint demos
   Dealing with “undemonstrable” stuff

HOW WE DO SPRINT RETROSPECTIVES
   Why do we insist that all teams do retrospectives
   How we organize retrospectives 
   Spreading lessons learned between teams
   To change or not to change
   Examples of things that may come up during retrospectives

SLACK TIME BETWEEN SPRINTS

HOW WE DO RELEASE PLANNING AND FIXED PRICE CONTRACTS
   Define your acceptance thresholds
   Time estimate the most important items
   Estimate velocity
   Put it together into a release plan
   Adapting the release plan

HOW WE COMBINE SCRUM WITH XP
   Pair programming
   Test-driven development (TDD)
   Incremental design
   Continuous integration
   Collective code ownership
   Informative workspace
   Coding standard
   Sustainable pace / energized work

HOW WE DO TESTING
   You probably can’t get rid of the acceptance test phase
   Minimize the acceptance test phase
   Increase quality by putting testers in the Scrum team
   Increase quality by doing less per sprint
   Should acceptance testing be part of the sprint?
   Sprint cycles vs acceptance test cycles
   Don’t outrun the slowest link in your chain
   Back to reality

HOW WE HANDLE MULTIPLE SCRUM TEAMS
   How many teams to create
   Synchronized sprints – or not?
   Why we introduced a “team lead” role
   How we allocate people to teams
   Specialized teams – or not?
   Rearrange teams between sprints - or not?
   Part-time team members
   How we do Scrum-of-Scrums
   Interleaving the daily scrums
   Firefighting teams
   Splitting the product backlog – or not?
   Code branching
   Multi-team retrospectives

HOW WE HANDLE GEOGRAPHICALLY DISTRIBUTED TEAMS
   Offshoring
   Team members working from home

SCRUM MASTER CHECKLIST
   Beginning of sprint
   Every day
   End of sprint

PARTING WORDS

RECOMMENDED READING


Henrik Kniberg is a coach and consultant at Crisp. Henrik's background is a mix of development and management, and his passion is applying Lean and Agile principles to help debug, optimize, and refactor companies. Henrik is the author of Scrum and XP from the Trenches and Kanban & Scrum, making the most of both and a popular keynote speaker at conferences worldwide. Henrik lives in Stockholm with his wife and four kids, and in his "spare time" plays bass and keyboard with two local bands.

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