I found out when I arrived that it was release day. One of the first things I noticed was how much of a non-event the release was. Coming from an atmosphere where releases happen on a Friday night and everybody involved has to work a Saturday, weekly releases that have little impact on the workday was a refreshing change.
I’ve participated in scrum many times over the years, and almost every time it has devolved into status updates for the manager. I know this isn’t how scrum is supposed to work, but that’s how its always worked in practice.
Steve did a great job of avoiding this problem, and I think one of the key factors was that he didn’t put individuals on the spot. Instead of circling the group asking each person the infamous three questions, he went through the work in progress. I feel better honors the idea of Respect from XP, and I look forward to trying this idea in my own teams.
Another interesting component was that, instead of a single scrum at some point during the day where all three questions are asked, the team I was observing had two scrums. In the morning they talked about what they were going to do during the day, and in the afternoon they discussed what they had done.
This helped solve a major problem with timing I’ve seen with scrum over the years. If it’s placed at the beginning of the day, people have a hard to time remembering what they did the previous day. If it’s placed at the end of the day, people don’t have a chance to fully process the major ideas from the previous day.
That being said, I’m not completely sold on the idea. I find recurring meetings pretty frustrating, and it might be that interrupting my day a second time would trigger this reaction.
I really had a good time at Zipcar, and I really appreciate the opportunity. I learned a great deal from seeing how a well-functioning agile team behaves, I can’t wait to apply many of these ideas to my own teams.