Finally Embedded

It took a little while to get it going, since I’ve been employed now for 6 weeks. Same as our new CEO. As a matter of fact, my orientation was cut short for an all-hands to inform us of the matter. It makes for an interesting background to my entree into this company.

For me the objective when I started was simple; shadow another coach, and find a team needing help with Scrum and embed with them. Stand ups were attended, training delivered, some work off loaded from other team members and contacts made. It was through one of these contacts I made myself that the engagement was uncovered.

I was invited to a Sprint Review and brought along another coach. Not wanting to be late for a meeting with our team, my colleague took off right after while I stuck around to speak with the Product Owner. The Scrum Master had recently vacated the spot. The Product Owner was really trying to sell me on embedding with them and seemed very open to any help.

The Scrum Master role was put on a developer, making the role his biggest impediment. Since he was thrown into it with no notice, there was the possibility the role could become one of the team’s biggest impediment. Eager to embed and ready to really feel effective, I bit at the chance.

Iterations are only a week on this team and end on Tuesdays. I joined the team the day before one ended and we agreed I’d take over the Scrum Master role starting with the next one. Trying to ditch expectations I just wanted to understand where they were at. In preparation for starting an iteration, I was invited along on a meeting to prioritize the Product Backlog.

In this meeting a subset of the team took a punch-list of all the stuff left to do for a rapidly approaching release and then assign people to it. It is almost entirely features, a true bonus. Attending were the Product Owner, a Project Manager, Team Lead, the current Scrum Master, and myself. Although the roles of User Environment Design(UED), performance, configuration management, QA are a part of the development effort, the planning does not include anyone besides coders. The Product Owner is ok with de-scoping because of date dependencies. Another plus.

At the end of the meeting we had the rest of this time mapped out on the white board, MPP style, with the help of the Project Manager. I was able to get approximate sizes on the task to help prioritize and predict completions. I now wonder what tomorrow’s Sprint Planning will be like.

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