Friday, May 8, 2009

Scrum for non software projects

I have written several times that I normally use Scrum for the manteinance works my house requires, never going down to the nuts and bolts of it. Starting from a discussion initiated from Terry, I finally decided to jot down something.

Sprints are necessarily timeboxed, as every iteration can only be run during weekends. My wife is the Product Owner, and I play the double role of Scrum Master and Team Member (or just team, as I'm practically the only one that gets his hands dirty...).

We have a ever growing product backlog that we (or should I say she) prioritize, extracting the sprint backlog - which is the stuff we plan to do for the weekend at hand. The product backlog includes things like installing the watering system for the garden, hanging pictures and mirrors, cleaning the garage, and so on and so forth.

During the week I, as a SM, try to remove the impediments, e.g. we know we will be needing a wheelbarrow so I have to borrow one. On Saturday and Sunday morning we have the standup meeting (actually it is a sitting meeting, as it happens at breakfast). Then, while she keeps an eye on the kids, I switch role and start working.

Then, tipically on Monday evening, we hold a retrospective.

It works great. And if you think that Scrum is not appropriate because the domain does not implies uncertainity and frequent changes, well, you're wrong as it really does!


Angie Cole said...

I am VERY eager to learn more about how to use this in settings and in organizations that are not software focused. What would you say is the best resource out there for learning (rather quickly) about how to use the framework in another setting? Thanks so much!!

.MOz said...

Besides the basic books, which I take for granted you've read, the canonical path would be sending some components of the team to a CSM course, two intense days during which your instructor will provide you with plenty of examples and insights and you apply the framework on everything but software in a controlled environment; e.g. we planned a birthday party, a tour in Italy, an introduction to Scrum for the management, and other stuff, but almost nothing about software.

These people will then be the Scrum champions inside the organization.

Should this not be enough, or if you still feel you need more support to implement Scrum, I think the fastest way is to contact an experienced instructor that can coach your team.

I hope I will, sooner or later, manage to write more about the way I applied Scrum to sanitize the wall of my living room (a little story from the trenches). That really was the "inspect and adapt" apotheosis...