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Head First Agile: Scrum from scratch?

 
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Hi,

Does your book cover Scrum from scratch ?

Can I please get a clear understanding of the Scrum workflow ? I have a tutor at my university who teaches Scrum in a weird fashion which I have been unable to google as well so far. What I've been taught is that - I have a product backlog which contains my epic level user stories which are further broken down into feature level epic level user stories (this is what she calls them in the assignment spec as well - we did a make belief Scrum based assignment). Following this, I groom my product backlog (she means arrange them in order of priority and not add-on more information/ provide clarity on certain user stories) and pick the top most user stories, lets say the top 10, and break them into technical level user stories and place them into the Sprint backlog. Sometimes she says that we maintain another backlog for the feature level epic level user stories, and sometimes they go in the product backlog which is a bit confusing - although as per Mountain Goats website, a product backlog has features as well.

The technical level user stories has multiple acceptance conditions which are then placed on the TODO lane of your kanban board (maybe broken into low level tasks - this is not taught to us nor answered properly). I have found some links in Mountain Goat as well as the Scrum Alliance but the rest of the terminologies seem quite new to me (and also Google apparently) which does not put me in a good place as this seems somewhat different to the literature out there.

Also, in the Sprint Retrospective - I have been told that we do not bring in the product owner, however, Mountain Goat's website states that the Product Owner also attends this which is contradictory to what was taught to us. Can you please provide some clarity on these ? Any and all help would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
 
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Yes, covering Scrum from scratch is a primary goal of Head First Agile. Scrum is really simple and straightforward if you already understand it. But if you're encountering it for the first time, it's easy to get a little lost. We put a lot of work into explaining Scrum from the ground up, and we don't make any assumptions about the reader's prior knowledge.

And I agree – you are being taught Scrum in a weird fashion. Like this:

Rahul Dayal Sharma wrote:The technical level user stories has multiple acceptance conditions which are then placed on the TODO lane of your kanban board



I don't even know where to begin with that. That's pretty convoluted, and definitely not how most Scrum teams operate.
 
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Andrew Stellman wrote:
And I agree – you are being taught Scrum in a weird fashion. Like this:

Rahul Dayal Sharma wrote:The technical level user stories has multiple acceptance conditions which are then placed on the TODO lane of your kanban board


I don't even know where to begin with that. That's pretty convoluted, and definitely not how most Scrum teams operate.


I'm not surprised by it at all. My wife works for a Big Four bank and in her group, which works on their company's digital presence (Internet and mobile apps), everything OP wrote except for the Kanban part describes what they do almost to the letter.

To people coming from a more traditional development background, a Scrum board, epic stories, feature stories, technical stories is really just another incarnation of the old WBS, the work breakdown structure. The goals are more or less the same and the mechanics of "grooming" the user story backlog described also feel the same as what people did in the more traditional Analysis Phase of development. So, you really shouldn't be surprised that people interpret and teach Scrum like that because to them, that's probably what makes the most sense based on their past experience.
 
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Rahul Dayal Sharma wrote:
Also, in the Sprint Retrospective - I have been told that we do not bring in the product owner, however, Mountain Goat's website states that the Product Owner also attends this which is contradictory to what was taught to us. Can you please provide some clarity on these ? Any and all help would be much appreciated.


This again smacks of traditional development thinking layered over Scrum. You have to understand the motivation behind this.

I would bet dollars to doughnuts that whoever is teaching this conflates the role of Product Owner with Manager. This happens a lot in the real world, where the Product Owner role is assumed by a line manager or a product manager. In Scrum, you want to keep managers out of the retrospectives to avoid inhibiting team members from freely sharing their feedback and opinions about what may have not gone as well they hoped in the iteration. Given this contrast, it's easier to see how someone with a traditional development background can misinterpret "no managers in retros" to mean "no Product Owners in retros."
 
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