Introduction to Scrum/Agile

  • Presenters: Lawrence Ludlow and Peter Yu

This session started off with a brief overview of the agile methodology, with a focus on the defined process of Scrum. The goal for the remainder of the session was to participate in a game requiring teams of ~5 participants each to construct a modern utopia out of crate paper. Within the team were three defined roles – a product owner, a QA person, and a collection of developers.

The role of the product owner is to guide the development of the city to match the overall vision (detailed city vision descriptions provided), determine which stories the development team will implement, and monitor velocity and manage scope.

The role of the QA person is to verify that the stories associated with building the city are implemented correctly (and, as is the case with many real-world QA people, a million other tiny, vital tasks).

The developers are responsible for creating the buildings, roads, trees, signs, etc that make up the city, out of note cards, markers, and tape.

Lawrence and Thanou provided a stack of story cards that could be implemented to create the city, each with a story point estimate, description, and qa acceptance criteria. During an initial standup, the product owner lays out the stories for the upcoming iteration, and the team gets to work. The game consisted of 3 iterations – with a 2 minute standup and 5 minute sprint.

The game was a lot of fun to play, an excellent team building/networking tool, and a surprisingly effective means of illustrating what it is like to work on an agile team. Common problems encountered include:

  • conflict between QA and developer specifications
  • insufficient time to complete all stories
  • non-technical problems completing stories (lack of resources, etc)
  • loosing sight of product vision

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