How did we benefit from Contract-First REST API Design Approach?

To recall, the fundamental purpose of this blog is to share openly the best practices we had as the Scrum team from a Product Owner Perspective. That’s why it makes sense to share a typical approach we follow while developing new features by cooperating with client development teams with a strict deadline or  time pressure. It’s Contract-First REST API Design. A recent example of this was a back-end development of a new Payment channel to sell recurring TV packages to end users through the TV Web portal.

To launch this commercially, the in-house Web portal development team was relying on us to progress further and actively developing the brand-new web pages. Besides, the launch date was fixed and committed to the top-management.

Even though the deadline was approaching, since the earlier Sprint has failed, as the PO, I had to prioritize the relatively small work that was left over at the Sprint Planning event. My perspective was as the whole team had focused to ship the Sprint goal of the previous Sprint and we are pretty close to bring it to Done state, I set a Sprint Goal that dictates to continue to work on the earlier goal and only to take small baby steps regarding the payment solution. My rationale was freezing the work we already had started and progressed a lot and focusing on something totally new wouldn’t be an effective way of utilizing team’s efforts.

Okumaya devam et “How did we benefit from Contract-First REST API Design Approach?”

How does the Burndown Chart help us to meet Sprint Goals?

From my perspective, the beauty of Scrum framework is running Sprints for a short period of time (typically 2-3 weeks) and at the end of it being able to judge the team’s overall performance  objectively.  Setting a goal for a few weeks timeframe and going for it enables the team to get disciplined and stay focused. Historically, we had 6-9 months long projects with potential delays. This leads the teams easily jump into the comfort zone and adapt a relaxed and ‘take it easy’ type of attitude due to the long time for the project completion. Generally speaking, the human nature has a tendency to delay most of the work to be done towards the deadline. ( Remember your university finales :)) Therefore, setting digestible, S.M.A.R.T Sprint goals developing iteratively and incrementaly is an effective way to accomplish significant achievements within a certain timeframe.

Well, how does the team monitor if bringing the Sprint Goal to DONE status is something already secured or it is at risk ? Even though, it’s not mentioned in the Scrum guide at all, best practices propose “Burndown Chart” for that purpose.  As the Scrum Institute put it precisely:

The Scrum Burndown Chart is a visual measurement tool that shows the completed work per day against the projected rate of completion for the current project release. Its purpose is to enable that the project is on the track to deliver the expected solution within the desired schedule.

Okumaya devam et “How does the Burndown Chart help us to meet Sprint Goals?”

How to handle a failed Sprint and how to avoid it ?

Let’s imagine a typical Sprint of 2 weeks duration. If the team is delivering software continuously since more than a year it means that the team had run around 26 Sprints past year. Do you think it is feasible that each and every Sprint has been finalized with success? Obviously, it is not surprising that a number of Sprints fail to accomplish the Sprint Goal. Well, even though it’s not the best scenario, a mature Scrum team is supposed to manage mentally and emotionally the consequences of a failed Sprint.

Every professional aims to be successful at personal level. Similarly, everybody enjoys  being part of a winning, successful team. Nevertheless, it is very likely that a Sprint could not achieve the targeted Sprint goal and fails due to several reasons such as bad planning, dependencies, challenging Sprint goals, changing scope etc.

Okumaya devam et “How to handle a failed Sprint and how to avoid it ?”

Why is Refinement key for effective Sprint Planning ?

As a best practice, I organize Refinement meetings every second week of our 2 weeks long Sprints. This is really key in order to run an effective Sprint Planning event.

I prefer to use Refinement but not Grooming as the latter has a recent negative meaning.

At the invitation I send to the team for Refinement event, I briefly mention about the PBI that we will talk about. These are mostly the items those have the highest priority  and have not been yet estimated.  Refinement sessions could potentially get postponed if the team is working intensely to accomplish the Sprint Goal and short in time. That’s why it’s a good practise to schedule it to the very beginning of the second week in order not to jeopardize achieving the Sprint Goal.

Okumaya devam et “Why is Refinement key for effective Sprint Planning ?”

How do you feel about your Scrum Board?

Every single day, like any other Scrum team in the world, we spend 15 minutes (max) in front of our Scrum board for the Daily Stand-up event. On behalf of the team, I’m confident to share that we really like and enjoy our Scrum board! Here is why;

  • We designed it ourselves. More precisely,  Projera, the company who is coaching Turkcell during the agile transformation process, proposed a few draft layouts to give us an insight. Following that, we, as a team, gave the team a funny name (Maraba Televole)  then designed the logo and the board as well as the layout indicating the various stages of a typical Sprint (PBL, SBL, In Progress, Done, Live, Performance etc. )

Okumaya devam et “How do you feel about your Scrum Board?”

Who should be your product owner?

Who should be your product owner ? Let’s assume that your organisation didn’t build Scrum teams yet. Should be the ideal product owner the legacy Business Product Manager or Technical Product Manager ?

I think I’ve hit to the million dollar question, right? In many organisations which are going through an agile transformation and building brand-new Scrum teams, this might be a question causing long discussions. At least, this is my feeling based on my experience in my company, Turkcell. Don’t get me wrong, I really think that this is a healthy discussion and the right decision changes according to the organization’s culture, industry the company is competing in, the size of the company, the management structure and even to the potential PO candidates, among many others.

Okumaya devam et “Who should be your product owner?”

10 Selection from the book “101 Inspring Quotes about Agile”

I don’t if you’ve heart Mike Cohn before. He is one of the contributors to the invention of the Scrum software development methodology. He is one of the founders of the Scrum Alliance and the owner of Mountain Goat Software, a company that provides training on Scrum and Agile software development techniques. If you sign up for weekly email tips on his website https://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/ you’ll receive a link to the book “101 Inspring Quotes about Agile“.                                                                                                

In this book, there are a total of 101 inspring quotes about Agile from mostly renowned people. I really recommend you first to sign up to weeklu email tips and then donwload the mentioned book. I’ve really enjoyed to go through this valuable consolidated study. Here below you can find my top 10 selection.

Okumaya devam et “10 Selection from the book “101 Inspring Quotes about Agile””

My favourite Scrum event: Sprint Retrospective

This week, 6th of February Tuesday was World Retrospective Day. I’m quoting from the website:

World Retrospective Day is a volunteer-based, globally coordinated effort to share in the power of retrospectives.

People from different countries around the globe organized and participacted in order to celebrate it.

That’s why I thought that it would be a good idea to write a down a blog post about how our team performs it, perhaps the most fruitful event of Scrum framework.

First of all, this is an entirely internal event lead by the Scrum Master closed to any stakeholders . Typically, we organize it just after the Sprint review scheduled for 2 hours (we run 2 weeks long Sprints). At the very beginning, we have a quick chat about the past Sprint followed by the D.A.K.I. session. DAKI is the abbreviation for:

  • Drop
  • Add
  • Keep
  • Improve

Here below you can see the output of our last Retro session.                                                            

Okumaya devam et “My favourite Scrum event: Sprint Retrospective”