Tag Archives: project

Types of Scrum Masters

The Scrum Master is the “servant leader” of the Scrum Team who moderates and facilitates team interactions as team coach and motivator. The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that the team has a productive work environment by guarding the team against external influences, removing any obstacles, and enforcing Scrum principles, aspects, and processes. Different Scrum projects have different requirements, hence the need for different levels of Scrum Masters. Here are three such roles:

Chief Scrum Master

Large projects require multiple Scrum Teams to work in parallel. Information gathered from one team may need to be appropriately communicated to other teams—the Chief Scrum Master is responsible for this activity. The role of a Chief Scrum Master is necessary to ensure proper collaboration among the Scrum Teams. Coordination across various Scrum Teams working on a project is typically done through the Scrum of Scrums (SoS) Meeting. There is no hierarchy between the Scrum Masters: they are all peers. The Chief Scrum Master just works on a multi-team level, whereas the Scrum Masters work on a single team level. Typically, any inter-team issues are addressed by the interested parties in a session immediately following the Scrum of Scrums Meeting. The Chief Scrum Master facilitates this session. The Chief Scrum Master can be chosen from the Scrum Masters of the large project or can be somebody else. For very large projects, it is recommended to have a Chief Scrum Master who is not also a Scrum Master because the effort required for the Chief Scrum Master role will prevent the Chief Scrum Master from also being able to dedicate enough time to the work with his/her Scrum Team. In either case, the Chief Scrum Master should have enough Scrum expertise to be able to foster collaboration and to help and coach others with the implementation of Scrum for a smooth delivery of the project’s products. Apart from clearing impediments and ensuring a conducive project environment for the Scrum Teams, the Chief Scrum Master also collaborates with the Chief Product Owner, other Scrum Masters, and Product Owners in activities such as developing the list of components and resources needed in common for all teams throughout the project. He/she facilitates everything that goes beyond the realm of a single Scrum Team. The Chief Scrum Master also interfaces with the Program Scrum Master to ensure alignment of the large project with the goals and objectives of the program.

Program Scrum Master

The Program Scrum Master is a facilitator who ensures that all project teams in the program are provided with an environment conducive to completing their projects successfully. The Program Scrum Master guides, facilitates, and teaches Scrum practices to everyone involved in the program; provides guidance to Scrum Masters of individual projects; clears impediments for the different project teams; coordinates with the Scrum Guidance Body to define objectives related to quality, government regulations, security, and other key organizational parameters; and, ensures that Scrum processes are being effectively followed throughout the program. The Program Scrum Master interfaces with the Portfolio Scrum Master to ensure alignment of the program with the goals and objectives of the portfolio. He or she is also involved with appointing Scrum Masters for individual projects and ensuring that the vision, objectives, outcomes, and releases of individual projects in the program align with that of the program. This role is similar to that of the Scrum Master except it meets the needs of the program or business unit rather than of a single Scrum Team.

Portfolio Scrum Master

This role is similar to that of the Scrum Master except it meets the needs of the portfolio or business unit rather than of a single Scrum Team.

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How is Quality related to Scope and Business Value?

In Scrum, quality is defined as the ability of the completed product or deliverables to meet the Acceptance Criteria and achieve the business value expected by the customer. To ensure that a project meets quality requirements, Scrum adopts an approach of continuous improvement whereby the team learns from experience and stakeholder engagement to constantly keep the Prioritized Product Backlog updated with any changes in requirements. The Prioritized Product Backlog is simply never complete until the closure or termination of the project. Any changes to the requirements reflect changes in the internal and external business environment and allow the team to continually work and adapt to achieve those requirements.

The fact that Scrum, through repetitive testing, requires work to be Done in an incremental fashion through Sprints rather than waiting until the end to produce deliverables results in errors being fixed right away, rather than postponed. Moreover, important quality-related tasks (e.g., development, testing, and documentation) are completed as part of the same Sprint by the same team—this ensures that quality is inherent in any Done deliverable created as part of a Sprint. Thus, continuous improvement with repetitive testing optimizes the probability of achieving the expected quality levels in a Scrum project. Constant discussions between the Scrum Core Team and stakeholders (including customers and users) with actual increments of the product being delivered at the end of every Sprint, ensures that the gap between customer expectations from the project and actual deliverables produced is constantly reduced.

Quality and Scope

Scope and quality requirements for a project are determined by taking into consideration various factors such as the following:

  • The business need the project will fulfill
  • The capability and willingness of the organization to meet the identified business need
  • The current and future needs of the target audience

Scope of the project is the sum total of all the product increments and the work required for developing the final product. Quality is the ability of the deliverables to meet the quality requirements for the product and satisfy customer needs. In Scrum, the scope and quality of the project are captured in the Prioritized Product Backlog and the scope for each Sprint is determined by refining the large Prioritized Product Backlog Items (PBIs) into a set of small but detailed User Stories that can be planned, developed, and verified within a Sprint.

The Prioritized Product Backlog is continuously groomed by the Product Owner. The Product Owner ensures that any User Stories that the Scrum Team is expected to do in a Sprint are refined prior to the start of the Sprint. In general, the most valuable requirements in solving the customers’ problems or meeting their needs are prioritized as high and the remaining are given a lower priority. Less important User Stories are developed in subsequent Sprints or can be left out altogether according to the customer’s requirements. During Sprint execution, the Product Owner, customer, and the Scrum Team can discuss the list of features of the product to comply with the changing needs of the customers.

Quality and Business Value

Quality and business value are closely linked. Therefore, it is critical to understand the quality and scope of a project in order to correctly map the outcomes and benefits the project and its product must achieve in order to deliver business value. To determine the business value of a product, it is important to understand the business need that drives the requirements of the product. Thus, business need determines the product required, and the product, in turn provide the expected business value.

Quality is a complex variable. An increase in scope without increasing time or resources tends to reduce quality. Similarly, a reduction in time or resources without decreasing scope also generally results in a decrease in quality. Scrum believes in maintaining a ʺsustainable paceʺ of work, which helps improve quality over a period of time.

The Scrum Guidance Body may define minimum quality requirements and standards required for all projects in the organization. The standards must be adhered to by all Scrum Teams in the company.

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Creating Content For Social Media

In social media channels, high quality content is the first priority, followed by content distribution. Companies worldwide invest large sums to create quality content, but in many cases, the content is not distributed properly. Audiences neither find nor share it. A good Content Creation and Distribution Plan for social media marketing will ensure that a company’s content is relevant, timely, and well written and that it reaches the target audience using the optimal means as determined by the digital marketing team.

One of the major debates regarding content creation is between content quality and quantity—how much content is enough and how good does it need to be?

Content creation should ideally start by defining a quantity goal and a publishing schedule with appropriate deadlines. Once the publishing schedule is finalized, focus should be on the quality for each piece of content being distributed.

Some of the different types of content that can be created for the various social media elements are as follows:

  • Status updates—for professional and personal sharing websites
  • Photos—for professional and personal sharing websites
  • Videos—for audio-visual sharing, professional, and personal sharing websites
  • Infographics—for blogs, discussion forums, and professional sharing websites
  • Polls—for blogs, professional, and personal sharing websites
  • Quizzes—for blogs, professional, and personal sharing websites
  • Contests—for blogs, discussion forums, and professional sharing websites

It is also important to note that both the relevance of content and the relevance of type of content depend on the nature of the business. For example, quizzes are more relevant for companies in the education sector than for other industries such as manufacturing or airline.

In addition to good quality content, an effective social media plan must have a good distribution strategy. The content should be shared through the company’s own blog as well as other company pages on various social media sharing sites. Businesses must also ensure that there are ways for their target audiences to like, comment, and share the original content created by the company.

The following figure shows a sample of the structure of a Content Creation and Distribution Plan.

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Sprint Backlog in Scrum

What is a Sprint Backlog? Is it a baseline, a record or a report? Baseline is a project document, which, defines aspects of the project and, once approved, is subject to change control. It is used to measure project’s actual performance as against planned targets. A record maintains information on the progress of the project. A report provides snapshots of the status of different aspects of a project at a given point of time or for a given duration.

To answer this question, we need to understand what a Sprint Backlog is, its purpose and composition. The Scrum Team creates the Sprint Backlog and Sprint Burndown Chart using the User Stories and the Effort Estimated Task List during Sprint Planning Meeting. During Sprint Planning Meeting, the User Stories, which are approved, estimated, and committed during the Approve, Estimate, and Commit User Stories process, are taken up for discussion by the Scrum Team. Each Scrum Team member also uses Effort Estimated Task List to select the tasks they plan to work on in the Sprint, based on their skills and experience. The list of the tasks to be executed by the Scrum Team in the upcoming Sprint is called the Sprint Backlog.

It is common practice in Scrum that the Sprint Backlog is represented on a Scrumboard or task board, which provides a constantly visible depiction of the status of the User Stories in the backlog. Also included in the Sprint Backlog are any risks associated with the various tasks. Any mitigating activities to address the identified risks would also be included as tasks in the Sprint Backlog. Once the Sprint Backlog is finalized and committed to by the Scrum Team, new user stories should not be added – however, tasks that might have been missed or overlooked from the committed user stories may need to be added. If new requirements arise during a Sprint, they will be added to the overall Prioritized Product Backlog and included in a future Sprint.

Another tool associated with the Sprint Backlog is the Sprint Burndown Chart. It is a graph that depicts the amount of work remaining in the ongoing Sprint. The initial Sprint Burndown Chart is accompanied by a planned burndown. The Sprint Burndown Chart should be updated at the end of each day as work is completed. This chart shows the progress that has been made by the Scrum Team and also allows for the detection of estimates that may have been incorrect. If the Sprint Burndown Chart shows that the Scrum Team is not on track to finish the tasks in the Sprint on time, the Scrum Master should identify any obstacles or impediments to successful completion, and try to remove them. A related chart is a Sprint Burnup Chart. Unlike the Sprint Burndown Chart which shows the amount of work remaining, the Sprint Burnup Chart depicts the work completed as part of the Sprint.

So, it is difficult to categorize the Sprint Backlog as a baseline, record or a report. And as Scrum professes minimum documentation, Sprint Backlog fulfills purposes of more than one project document. For more information on Scrum framework, you can read the Scrum Body of Knowledge (SBOK Guide). It can be downloaded for free in SCRUMstudy website: http://www.scrumstudy.com/download-free-buy-SBOK.asp

To know more visit   http://www.SCRUMstudy.com

Creating Content For Social Media

In social media channels, high quality content is the first priority, followed by content distribution. Companies worldwide invest large sums to create quality content, but in many cases, the content is not distributed properly. Audiences neither find nor share it. A good Content Creation and Distribution Plan for social media marketing will ensure that a company’s content is relevant, timely, and well written and that it reaches the target audience using the optimal means as determined by the digital marketing team.

One of the major debates regarding content creation is between content quality and quantity—how much content is enough and how good does it need to be?

Content creation should ideally start by defining a quantity goal and a publishing schedule with appropriate deadlines. Once the publishing schedule is finalized, focus should be on the quality for each piece of content being distributed.

Some of the different types of content that can be created for the various social media elements are as follows:

  • Status updates—for professional and personal sharing websites
  • Photos—for professional and personal sharing websites
  • Videos—for audio-visual sharing, professional, and personal sharing websites
  • Infographics—for blogs, discussion forums, and professional sharing websites
  • Polls—for blogs, professional, and personal sharing websites
  • Quizzes—for blogs, professional, and personal sharing websites
  • Contests—for blogs, discussion forums, and professional sharing websites

It is also important to note that both the relevance of content and the relevance of type of content depend on the nature of the business. For example, quizzes are more relevant for companies in the education sector than for other industries such as manufacturing or airline.

In addition to good quality content, an effective social media plan must have a good distribution strategy. The content should be shared through the company’s own blog as well as other company pages on various social media sharing sites. Businesses must also ensure that there are ways for their target audiences to like, comment, and share the original content created by the company.

The following figure shows a sample of the structure of a Content Creation and Distribution Plan.

To Know more visit http://www.SMstudy.com

Importance of Facebook Marketing

Sales and Marketing has evolved significantly over time going from the Barter System of 1000 years ago to Traditional Marketplaces, Seller’s Marketplaces, Conventional Mass-media Marketing, Fragmented New-age Marketing to today where Internet enabled business models have helped marketing evolved further.

In the past through our blogs, we’ve touched upon this evolution. In this blog, we will focus on the internet enabled modes of marketing specifically Facebook Marketing. With most customers now continuously spending their time online, businesses globally have understood the value of targeting them through the online mode. While the traditional methods of targeting i.e. TV, Radio, Newspapers etc. help is reaching to a larger audience fast, they are ineffective in terms of targeting a specific segment of the audience.

If a business wants to target a specific audience segment, you need to create a customer persona and then set-up filters to target and find the relevant audience. To target relevant audiences, Facebook helps you segment your audiences using these filters:

  • Location: Reach customers by City, Country, even Postcode
  • Demographics: Target people based on demographics like age, gender, relationship status, education, workplace and more
  • Interests: Define your ideal audience by their interests, hobbies and Pages they like on Facebook. This may be based on their listed interests, activities, education, job titles, Pages they like or groups to which they belong.
  • Behaviours: Reach people based on their purchasing behaviour, device usage and other activities

Besides these regular segments, Facebook has two advanced filters known as Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences.

Custom Audiences: Custom Audiences let you reach customers you already know with ads on Facebook. If you have developed a list of customer emails or acquired such customer data from your site, you can upload this list of email addresses or phone numbers to develop a custom audiences profile. Once you upload this list onto Facebook, you would be able to reach out to these customers on the facebook network and target them using your product advertisements. You can also build audiences from the people that visit your website or from people who use your mobile app. You can create a maximum of 10,000 Custom Audiences for those from your website or mobile app. Now while custom audiences might help you advertise to this list of audiences who have already purchased your product in the past, this is not really a good use of your investment as you can also target this audience by doing a simple (and almost free) email campaign. The real advantage of Custom Audiences is that it helps you expand your business over the Facebook network through Lookalike Audiences.

Lookalike Audiences: Lookalike Audiences helps you create new audiences based on traits from one of the following sources:

  • Custom Audiences: As we’ve seen before, you can upload a list of your existing customers using Custom Audiences. The benefit of this is that we can then use Lookalike Audiences to find people who resemble that audience. Since the custom audiences have already bought from you, Facebook would be able to match their interests, and other characteristics to get you a bigger audience with the same profile. This would help you reach out to a wider audience who are more likely to buy your product.
  • Website visitors: Like Google Adwords, Facebook also allows users to track visits to your website. You can install a Facebook Pixel on your site which would help facebook track the profile and behavior of this particular user. Then based on the profile of people visiting your website, we can create Lookalike Audiences to help you reach to a wider audience.
  • Page fans: People who like your brand’s page on Facebook are typical evangelists for your brand. Facebook allows you to use Lookalike Audiences to create an audience based on people who like your Page with the belief that the Lookalike Audiences will also exhibit similar behavior to this audience.

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Importance of SCRUM for HR

The Scrum Book of Knowledge defines Scrum as an adaptive, iterative, fast and flexible methodology designed to quickly deliver significant value during a project. Scrum ensures transparency in communication and creates an environment of collective accountability and continuous progress. Interestingly, applying Scrum successfully in a project also requires the human resource management practices of the organization where it is being implemented, to be in sync with Scrum.

In Scrum, there are two types of roles:

Core Roles: They are involved in creating the product of the project, are committed to the project, and ultimately are responsible for the success of the project.

Non-core Roles: They are non-compulsory team members, who have an interest in the project, may interface with the team, but may not be responsible for the overall success of the project. The non-core roles should also be taken into account in any Scrum project.

Typically, most organizations find it hard to discard Taylor’s scientific management theory. But to make Scrum teams work successfully, the HR has to give the cross-functional team a sense of responsibility and the control. After all, Scrum teams are expected to be self-motivated. They collaborate extensively to build products according to User Stories (users’ requirements), may a time negotiating with the Product Owner who is ultimately responsible for the Scrum team’s business decisions. Whilst executing a typical sprint, team members develop a sense of co-ownership as they set shared goals and learn how to manage each other in order to achieve them. But self-organizations of Scrum teams may be questioned when the team members are effected by performance appraisals, trying to impress managers, incentive schemes. This serves as a roadblock to Scrum’s core reasons of success: product-requirement alignment, feedback, self-motivation and morale. Along with the Scrum Master, it is also the HR’s job to help the Scrum team members to achieve their aims.

Another area where the HR’s role is important is during the appointment of the Scrum Master. The Scrum Master is the servant leader of the Scrum Team. He moderates and facilitates their interactions. He is responsible for solving their problems and ensuring the Scrum Team has a productive environment to work in. He guards the Scrum team from external influences and enforces Scrum processes. He also acts as the Scrum Team’s coach and motivator. Hence, it is important to find the right candidate for the job. One of the most common mistakes an HR makes when helping select the Scrum Master is that he ends up assuming that a manager is the default choice for the Scrum Master. Managers usually work in a boss-subordinate leadership style rather than being a servant leader. So when a manager is appointed as a Scrum Master for a team that includes his subordinates, they continue to regard the Scrum Master as a manager rather than managing the Scrum Team between themselves.

The Product Owner, on the other hand, requires a certain level of authority associated with his role. As Product Owners, the managers tend to get better results for each sprint out of their subordinates.

Effective Scrum requires longstanding, cross-functional teams. Progressive HR policies will allow Scrum teams to handpick their own members within these restrictions.

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