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How I learned SCRUM?

It was my first day at office. It happens rarely but I was nervous so I reached office before time. Around 9 am, people started coming to office. After 15 minutes, they all gathered in near hall and started discussing on some issue. I thought that they didn't have meeting-rooms here.

After brief discussion all started working at their respective seats.

Project Manager came to me and discussed about the various aspects of the project on which I was supposed to work there. He explained to me that 'SCRUM Methodology' is followed there and invited me to next day's 'Daily Scrum Meeting'. I agreed with him on every issue to show I knew and understood everything. As he left me, I jumped onto my system and tried to understand everything about SCRUM?

I found that it's a type of agile methodology. After reading about it on Wikipedia, I felt confident that I could handle SCRUM method. For rest of the day, I attended a training session and set up my work environment.

Next day, I hurried to office to be on time as I was getting back to my normal routine. First thing on my mind was to get prepared for Daily Scrum feature. I was thinking that I need to install this feature in my memory.

First Daily Scrum Meeting

Everyone was standing in a circle and I also made my place by getting into the circle. Person standing in front of me started explaining some of the points like:

  • What he had done yesterday?
  • What he was going to do thatday? And
  • Was there any impediment?

Then, he went to the white board and updated one of the multiple sticky notes. I looked at the board and what I could remember was:

User StoryTo DoIn ProgressTo VerifyDone
Story 1Task CTask B Task A

I found some keywords on the board:

User story- It contained details just like a feature or some enhancements in a product.

Task- Task was to break user story into small tasks which could be measured in 1-8 hours.

All these things were making a round in my mind; suddenly my chance came and then I had to share what I had done a day before. The moment I started, I fumbled and somehow I could manage to explain whatever I had understood during my preparation.

After every one had finished, SCRUM Master asked me to add few more points and break it down on the board. Scrum Master was the person who was supposed to manage all the scrum related issues. Before finishing I shared with them that there were lots of activities that we could perform other than coding in our SCRUM methodology.

After few days of daily scrum meetings, I got to know another term called 'Sprint'. Actually I was already the part of current sprint that came to me as shock. I tell you why it came as shock during my Wikipedia research. I had found that at the end of sprint we needed to show demo to the team and Product owner.

Next question hammering my mind was when this sprint was going to end, so I asked to my fellow members who said that they do 15 days sprint? After hearing it, I got relaxed that I had one more week time.

One of my favorite parts of the Scrum was Story Pointing Session. I could handle this session anytime when product owner and Scrum Master wanted. In this all team members gathered to play with Poker Cards (Cards with Fibonacci Sequence Printed on it). Yes, you heard it right but we were going to take benefits of poker cards technically. Scrum Master told everyone about a story, everyone needed to understand and evaluate the story to find out in how much time they could complete and then raise the poker card accordingly.

When Scrum Master finished his user story, every one of us raised our cards. I tried to do my best to analyze the story. I did not know that odd person in the group had to speak and prove why it would take less or more time. I was caught in that trap. I spoke in the favor of less time whereas everyone else advocated for more time. They asked me how story A can be finished in this time duration. I tried my best to explain but I was unable to convince because I did not consider branching and propagation part of the user story. A lesson was learned that day that always ask for more time than what you estimate.

After few days of hard work, judgment day came. I was ready to showcase the story that I had worked upon in the sprint. Everyone was called for the Sprint Review meeting. Basically this meeting was called for finalizing which team had completed the task during the spring and can be showcased to the Stakeholders and Product owner.

After the meeting, everyone gathered to the Demo Session. My turn came; I did not fumble that time. In fact it went well and as I was about to go into weekend party mode our SCRUM Master had announced about two things which was new for me:

  • Burn down Chart
  • Sprint Retrospective Meeting.

Burn down Chart is really a way to burn you down. This chart highlighted how we had progressed through complete sprint. I found every time I looked into it our progress was going down and down so I stopped looking into it.

According to me 'Retrospective Meeting' was another grilling session in which we were forced to reflect on our last sprint. Team answered few questions like:

  • What went well during the sprint?
  • What went bad?
  • Where could we improve?

Next sprint Cycle came and I was about to declare that I knew everything about this Scrum, there came a twist.

Sprint Planning was the missing part of the puzzle. Again, another meeting session came in which we looked into huge amount of work called Product backlog and prioritize the items and then stories were allocated to the user.

As you can see basically Scrum means: a never ending cycle of meetings and work.

To summarize, one cannot learn SCRUM until one dives into it. Every day meetings, fortnightly deliveries takes a toll on all individuals but despite this one needs to wrap it up.