Category Archives: Scrum

26th – 30th July 2010 – London – Professional Scrum Developer (.NET) – 50% discount

On the 26th – 30th July in Microsoft’s offices in London Adam Cogan from SSW will be presenting the first Professional Scrum Developer course in the UK. Martin Hinshelwood will be teaching this course along side Adam and it is a fantastic experience. You are split into teams and go head-to-head to deliver units of potentially shippable work in four two hour sprints.

Update 18th June 2010SSW is offering a massive 50% discount to make this 5 day course only £1,168…I have been told that this depends on availability so it may go back up.


The Professional Scrum Developer course is the only course endorsed by both Microsoft and Ken Schwaber and they have worked together very effectively in brining this course to fruition. This course is the brain child of Richard Hundhausen, a Microsoft Regional Director, and both Adam and I attending the Trainer Prep in Sydney when he was there earlier this year. He is a fantastic trainer and no matter where you do this course you can be safe in the knowledge that he has trained and vetted all of the teachers. A tools version of Ken if you will Wink

If you are outside the UK you can find out where this course is being run near you. Make sure you have a look at the scrum guide from and the syllabus from Accentient.

What is the Professional Scrum Developer course all about?

imageProfessional Scrum Developer course is a unique and intensive five-day experience for software developers. The course guides teams on how to turn product requirements into potentially shippable increments of software using the Scrum framework, Visual Studio 2010, and modern software engineering practices. Attendees will work in self-organizing, self-managing teams using a common instance of Team Foundation Server 2010.

Figure: Sam and Ken discuss the PSD Course

Who should attend this course?

This course is suitable for any member of a software development team – architect, programmer, database developer, tester, etc. Entire teams are encouraged to attend and experience the course together, but individuals are welcome too.

Attendees will self-organize to form cross-functional Scrum teams. These teams require an aggregate of skills specific to the selected case study. Please see the last page of this document for specific details.

Product Owners, ScrumMasters, and other stakeholders are welcome too, but keep in mind that everyone who attends will be expected to commit to work and pull their weight on a Scrum team.

What should you know by the end of the course?

Scrum will be experienced through a combination of lecture, demonstration, discussion, and hands-on exercises. Attendees will learn how to do Scrum correctly while being coached and critiqued by the instructor, in the following topic areas:

  • Form effective teams
  • Explore and understand legacy “Brownfield” architecture
  • Define quality attributes, acceptance criteria, and “done”
  • Create automated builds
  • How to handle software hotfixes
  • Verify that bugs are identified and eliminated
  • Plan releases and sprints
  • Estimate product backlog items
  • Create and manage a sprint backlog
  • Hold an effective sprint review
  • Improve your process by using retrospectives
  • Use emergent architecture to avoid technical debt
  • Use Test Driven Development as a design tool
  • Setup and leverage continuous integration
  • Use Test Impact Analysis to decrease testing times
  • Manage SQL Server development in an Agile way
  • Use .NET and T-SQL refactoring effectively
  • Build, deploy, and test SQL Server databases
  • Create and manage test plans and cases
  • Create, run, record, and play back manual tests
  • Setup a branching strategy and branch code
  • Write more maintainable code
  • Identify and eliminate people and process dysfunctions
  • Inspect and improve your team’s software development process

What does the week look like?

This course is a mix of lecture, demonstration, group discussion, simulation, and hands-on software development. The bulk of the course will be spent working as a team on a case study application delivering increments of new functionality in mini-sprints. Here is the week at a glance:


Monday morning and most of the day Friday will be spent with the computers powered off, so you can focus on sharpening your game of Scrum and avoiding the common pitfalls when implementing it.

The Sprints

Timeboxing is a critical concept in Scrum as well as in this course. We expect each team and student to understand and obey all of the timeboxes. The timebox duration will always be clearly displayed during each activity. Expect the instructor to enforce it.

Each of the ½ day sprints will roughly follow this schedule:

Component Description Minutes
Instruction Presentation and demonstration of new and relevant tools & practices 60
Sprint planning meeting Product owner presents backlog; each team commits to delivering functionality 10
Sprint planning meeting Each team determines how to build the functionality 10
The Sprint The team self-organizes and self-manages to complete their tasks 120
Sprint Review meeting Each team will present their increment of functionality to the other teams ≤ 30
Sprint Retrospective A group retrospective meeting will be held to inspect and adapt 10

Each team is expected to self-organize and manage their own work during the sprint. Pairing is highly encouraged. The instructor/product owner will be available if there are questions or impediments, but will be hands-off by default. You should be prepared to communicate and work with your team members in order to achieve your sprint goal. If you have development-related questions or get stuck, your partner or team should be your first level of support.


This module provides a chance for the attendees to get to know the instructors as well as each other. The Professional Scrum Developer program, as well as the day by day agenda, will be explained. Finally, the Scrum team will be selected and assembled so that the forming, storming, norming, and performing can begin.

  • Trainer and student introductions
  • Professional Scrum Developer program
  • Agenda
  • Logistics
  • Team formation
  • Retrospective


This module provides a level-setting understanding of the Scrum framework including the roles, timeboxes, and artifacts. The team will then experience Scrum firsthand by simulating a multi-day sprint of product development, including planning, review, and retrospective meetings.

  • Scrum overview
  • Scrum roles
  • Scrum timeboxes (ceremonies)
  • Scrum artifacts
  • Simulation
  • Retrospective

It’s required that you read Ken Schwaber’s Scrum Guide in preparation for this module and course.


This module demonstrates how to implement Scrum in Visual Studio 2010 using a Scrum process template*. The team will learn the mapping between the Scrum concepts and how they are implemented in the tool. After connecting to the shared Team Foundation Server, the team members will then return to the simulation – this time using Visual Studio to manage their product development.

  • Mapping Scrum to Visual Studio 2010
  • User Story work items
  • Task work items
  • Bug work items
  • Demonstration
  • Simulation
  • Retrospective


In this module the team is introduced to their problem domain for the week. A kickoff meeting by the Product Owner (the instructor) will set the stage for the why and what that will take during the upcoming sprints. The team will then define the quality attributes of the project and their definition of “done.” The legacy application code will be downloaded, built, and explored, so that any bugs can be discovered and reported.

  • Introduction to the case study
  • Download the source code, build, and explore the application
  • Define the quality attributes for the project
  • Define “done”
  • How to file effective bugs in Visual Studio 2010
  • Retrospective

Module 5: HOTFIX

This module drops the team directly into a Brownfield (legacy) experience by forcing them to analyze the existing application’s architecture and code in order to locate and fix the Product Owner’s high-priority bug(s). The team will learn best practices around finding, testing, fixing, validating, and closing a bug.

  • How to use Architecture Explorer to visualize and explore
  • Create a unit test to validate the existence of a bug
  • Find and fix the bug
  • Validate and close the bug
  • Retrospective

Module 6: PLANNING

This short module introduces the team to release and sprint planning within Visual Studio 2010. The team will define and capture their goals as well as other important planning information.

  • Release vs. Sprint planning
  • Release planning and the Product Backlog
  • Product Backlog prioritization
  • Acceptance criteria and tests
  • Sprint planning and the Sprint Backlog
  • Creating and linking Sprint tasks
  • Retrospective

At this point the team will have the knowledge of Scrum, Visual Studio 2010, and the case study application to begin developing increments of potentially shippable functionality that meet their definition of done.


This module introduces the architectural practices and tools a team can use to develop a valid design on which to develop new functionality. The teams will learn how Scrum supports good architecture and design practices. After the discussion, the teams will be presented with the product owner’s prioritized backlog so that they may select and commit to the functionality they can deliver in this sprint.

  • Architecture and Scrum
  • Emergent architecture
  • Principles, patterns, and practices
  • Visual Studio 2010 modeling tools
  • UML and layer diagrams
  • SPRINT 1
  • Retrospective


This module introduces Test Driven Development as a design tool and how to implement it using Visual Studio 2010. To maximize productivity and quality, a Scrum team should setup Continuous Integration to regularly build every team member’s code changes and run regression tests. Refactoring will also be defined and demonstrated in combination with Visual Studio’s Test Impact Analysis to efficiently re-run just those tests which were impacted by refactoring.

  • Continuous integration
  • Team Foundation Build
  • Test Driven Development (TDD)
  • Refactoring
  • Test Impact Analysis
  • SPRINT 2
  • Retrospective


This module lets the SQL Server database developers in on a little secret – they can be agile too. By using the database projects in Visual Studio 2010, the database developers can join the rest of the team. The students will see how to apply Agile database techniques within Visual Studio to support the SQL Server 2005/2008/2008R2 development lifecycle.

  • Agile database development
  • Visual Studio database projects
  • Importing schema and scripts
  • Building and deploying
  • Generating data
  • Unit testing
  • SPRINT 3
  • Retrospective

Module 10: SHIP IT

Teams need to know that just because they like the functionality doesn’t mean the Product Owner will. This module revisits acceptance criteria as it pertains to acceptance testing. By refining acceptance criteria into manual test steps, team members can execute the tests, recording the results and reporting bugs in a number of ways. Manual tests will be defined and executed using the Microsoft Test Manager tool. As the Sprint completes and an increment of functionality is delivered, the team will also learn why and when they should create a branch of the codeline.

  • Acceptance criteria
  • Testing in Visual Studio 2010
  • Microsoft Test Manager
  • Writing and running manual tests
  • Branching
  • SPRINT 4
  • Retrospective


This module introduces the many types of people, process, and tool dysfunctions that teams face in the real world. Many dysfunctions and scenarios will be identified, along with ideas and discussion for how a team might mitigate them. This module will enable you and your team to move toward independence and improve your game of Scrum when you depart class.

  • Scrum-butts and flaccid Scrum
  • Best practices working as a team
  • Team challenges
  • ScrumMaster challenges
  • Product Owner challenges
  • Stakeholder challenges
  • Course Retrospective

What will be expected of you and you team?

This is a unique course in that it’s technically-focused, team-based, and employs timeboxes. It demands that the members of the teams self-organize and self-manage their own work to collaboratively develop increments of software.

All attendees must commit to:

  • Pay attention to all lectures and demonstrations
  • Participate in team and group discussions
  • Work collaboratively with other team members
  • Obey the timebox for each activity
  • Commit to work and do your best to deliver

All teams should have these skills:

  • Understanding of Scrum
  • Familiarity with Visual Studio 201
  • C#, .NET 4.0 & ASP.NET 4.0 experience* 
  • SQL Server 2008 development experience
  • Software testing experience

* Check with the instructor ahead of time for the exact technologies

Self-organising teams

Another unique attribute of this course is that it’s a technical training class being delivered to teams of developers, not pairs, and not individuals. Ideally, your actual software development team will attend the training to ensure that all necessary skills are covered. However, if you wish to attend an open enrolment course alone or with just a couple of colleagues, realize that you may be placed on a team with other attendees. The instructor will do his or her best to ensure that each team is cross-functional to tackle the case study, but there are no guarantees. You may be required to try a new role, learn a new skill, or pair with somebody unfamiliar to you. This is just good Scrum!

Who should NOT take this course?

Because of the nature of this course, as explained above, certain types of people should probably not attend this course:

  • Students requiring command and control style instruction – there are no prescriptive/step-by-step (think traditional Microsoft Learning) labs in this course
  • Students who are unwilling to work within a timebox
  • Students who are unwilling to work collaboratively on a team
  • Students who don’t have any skill in any of the software development disciplines
  • Students who are unable to commit fully to their team – not only will this diminish the student’s learning experience, but it will also impact their team’s learning experience



If you are outside the UK you can find out where this course is being run near you. Make sure you have a look at the scrum guide from and the syllabus from Accentient.

Adaptive Project Management using Scrum: my article appears in a book

I’m pleased to report that my Methods & Tools article Adaptive Project Management using Scrum has found its way into a book.

I received my complimentary copy today:

I’m not sure if the book will make the popular sites like Amazon, although it does have an ISBN of 978-81-314-1649-5 (9 788131 416495) so I guess there’s a chance you might find it somewhere. More details about the book can be found here.

As far as I understand, it’s a book by the Icfai University Press, more information can be found here.

It’s pleasing to see how an article intended for reading via a browser fits into “book sized” pages, it gives me an idea of how much I need to write in order to complete a book. So when Dell or Samsung ship me a netbook to review, you know I’ll be writing a book 🙂

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[Event] AgileMalta – 5th December 2008

I’m pleased to see AgileMalta running its second conference. I have a soft spot for Malta having essentially lived there on and off for many years. It has probably changed a lot, but I still like to think I know Malta and Gozo almost as well as I know the back of my hand. I can’t think of a better mix, the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino, their people and an agile development conference…

What: Talks given by people who have had a hands-on experience with Agile with international clients. The Key Note speaker is Joakim Ohlrogge. Local speakers are two local persons who actively participate in Agile projects, Aldo Cauchi Savona and Dave Sammut.
Date: Friday, December 5th 2008
Location: Hilton Hotel, St. Julians
Duration: Half-day conference
Price: T.B.A.

Further details can be found here:

Success in today’s software industry requires a process, an environment and people that are able to achieve business goals within tighter deadlines, without compromising quality or reducing employee moral. Your process needs to be able to be attractive to foreign investment, your employees need the skills to deliver and sustain the process.

Whether you are interested in Agile or seeing how you can improve your own development process, the AgileMalta Conference is a great opportunity for people at all levels to gather together to learn about and share experiences on Agile software development process.

In our first conference we provided talks and discussion sessions for people at all levels to come into contact and learn about Agile. In the upcoming conference we will build upon feedback from the 1st conference and from our website. We decided to provide you with talks on implementing Agile and dealing with common issues when using such a process.

Join the AgileMalta Facebook group here!

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[Event] Agile Malta – 19th February 2008

1st International Conference on
Agile Development Malta 2008
The 2008 Agile Gathering is the 1st International Conference on Agile Development, to be held on February 19th, is the first event to be held in Malta section that focuses specifically on the topics of agility within the software development process. The event brings together leading industrial practitioners and users of agile within the fields of information systems and software engineering and targets the practical applications and implications of agile methods.

The conference aims to put people in touch with other agile practitioners on the Maltese islands, and give attendees an overview of practical experiences gained by companies and individuals currently practicing Scrum and other agile methods. The conference is targeted at executives, managers, software development practitioners and software engineering students.

The conference is not intended to be a place for instruction but rather an occasion for the exchange of information on agile software development in general.

Event web-site:

The agenda can be found here:

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Scrum – in action at Microsoft

Via Channel 9:

Grace Francisco talks over lunch with Ellie Powers, Program Manager with the Hotmail team to find out more about Scrum and its benefits. Hear her real world feedback on using it in projects and the challenges you may encounter.

And from a while ago:

Garry Wiseman, product unit manager, and friends take us through a new Windows Live classified service named “Expo.” We get a demo of this cool new service that helps you buy and sell stuff. A place for you to find things and others to find your things. You can learn more here:

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Managing Iterative Development Using Scrum

I delivered this session at the UK’s first DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper day on 14th May 2005. My slide deck and elementary backlog spreadsheet are available here.

I’ve recorded a blogcast (my first) that demonstrates how the product backlog spreadsheet works. I had a cold whilst recording this, hence the occasional cough’n’splutter! I’m hosting the blogcast myself for now, just until I see what happens to the bandwidth (if it moves, I’ll update this posting). Product Backlog Spreadsheet – the blogcast!

Also available over at here:

Agile project management using TargetProcess

I’ve just finished reviewing TargetProcess for The Delphi Magazine.

TargetProcess is a fully integrated “on-line” tool that aims to help us manage the lifetime of a feature and it does so in four key areas: requirements management, project planning, project tracking and bug tracking. What makes TargetProcess unique from traditional products in this space it the fact that it is centred on “agile” approaches to product development. Agile approaches tend to be iterative approaches, focusing on lots of small product releases as opposed to one major release like those we see with traditional “waterfall” development methodologies.

I was pleased to see TargetProcess offer direct support for Scrum, eXtreme Programming, releases, iterations, user stories, tasks, bugs and time allocation. It goes a long way to help us convince folks who are used to the waterfall model and all the frequently unnecessary upfront planning associated with it, that the flexible world of agile can be managed with the bare minimum number of artifacts and without the need for a fixed project plan. In other words, TargetProcess might help you sell agile to those who don’t believe it works. (Further discussion about “selling agile” can be found here.)

Anyway, you’ll need to subscribe to The Delphi Magazine if you want to read the full review!

Follow the TargetProcess blog here.