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Nexus Reifies

Nexus Scrum

I had the privilege of attending Scrum.org‘s 2-day seminar on Scaled Professional Scrum. The Nexusa connection or series of connections linking two or more things (direct translation from Latin a binding together), is the recommended scaling framework. The purpose of the Nexus is to manage dependencies between 3-9 Scrum Teams towards “reification”, to make an abstract idea real or concrete. This is ensured mostly through a single Product Owner, single Product Backlog, integrated (Nexus) Sprint Planning, Review and Retrospective and the addition of a Nexus Integration Team whose membership is made up mostly of Scrum team members internal to the Nexus, but often also includes other support personnel. The structure is very similar to LeSS, but perhaps even less prescriptive and is certainly much less prescriptive than SAFe. This is probably my favourite thing about the Nexus – the fact that it has just enough structure to be a model for scaling Scrum, but is light and flexible enough to accommodate all of the nuances that “just depend” on your situation. Like the other two above-mentioned scaling models, it places emphasis on the need for strong technical practices, continuous integration and the synchronization of events to facilitate integration. There is flexibility around synchronization, in that if the Nexus Sprint is 4 weeks in duration and teams within the Nexus want to do 2 or even 1 week Sprints, the model accommodates – as long as all of the teams’ work is combined into a fully integrated (reified) increment of potentially shippable product by the end of the Nexus Sprint.

 


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The Rules of Scrum: Your Product Owner uses the Sprint Review to help the team continuously improve the product

The Sprint Review is a key meeting for the team to improve the product. There are three main purposes of the Sprint Review: inspect how the last Sprint went with regards to the product; identify the items that are complete and order any potential changes; and, integrate those changes into the Product Backlog. This meeting aids the team in inspecting and adapting the entire product increment and how the team is progressing towards any deadlines. The Sprint Review is a check point that helps the Scrum Team to know the product’s current state, compare to its desired state, identify gaps, and take the needed steps to improve. This meeting is also where the Product Owner challenges the Scrum Team to look at the product clearly (it’s not just for the stakeholders!). When a Scrum Team refrains from having and participating in this essential meeting, the is team is likely to become a Scrum Team in name only without any of the far reaching benefits that many other Scrum Teams have experienced. A demonstration of the Product Backlog Items completed in the Sprint is often a part of this meeting.

What is the main purpose of the Sprint Review? Bottom line: to get feedback on how well the work the team is doing will satisfy business needs.  If the team isn’t getting that feedback in a practical concrete form, then the Sprint Review needs to be improved.


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The Rules of Scrum: There is no break between Sprint Review and Retrospective meetings

After a team finishes its Sprint Review, the Retrospective meeting should begin immediately.  Of course, there may be a small transition period as non-team members leave a meeting room or as the Team Members go back to their team room.  However, there should be no work on the system done between Sprint Review and Retrospective.  This quick transition between the two meetings is primarily to ensure that everyone has a clear memory of the Sprint.  If there is a gap between the two meetings it can lead to a number of sub-optimal behaviours: team members may do work without the knowledge of the rest of the team, there may be a growing desire to delay the retrospective, or even pressure to skip the retrospective.


Affiliated Promotions:

Try our automated online Scrum coach: Scrum Insight - free scores and basic advice, upgrade to get in-depth insight for your team. It takes between 8 and 11 minutes for each team member to fill in the survey, and your results are available immediately. Try it in your next retrospective.

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The Rules of Scrum: Review and Retrospective meetings are timeboxed in total to 2 hours / week of Sprint length

Timeboxing is the practice of ending a meeting exactly on time regardless of the state of discussion or the desire of participants.  In Scrum, the combined length of the Sprint Review and Retrospective Meetings is determined by the length of the Sprint.  For example, a one week long Sprint has Sprint Review and Retrospective Meetings that are timeboxed to two hours in total.  It is acceptable for the meetings to take less time, but not more.  A two week long Sprint has a Sprint Planning Meeting that is timeboxed to four hours.  Keeping the Sprint Review and Retrospective Meetings timeboxed has two beneficial effects: one, the team keeps the overhead dedicated to meetings to a relatively low level, and two, the team learns to do effective inspect and adapt in a very short period of time.  If the meetings are not timeboxed, then typically the team will keep going until they are “done”… and break the timebox of the overall Sprint.


Affiliated Promotions:

Try our automated online Scrum coach: Scrum Insight - free scores and basic advice, upgrade to get in-depth insight for your team. It takes between 8 and 11 minutes for each team member to fill in the survey, and your results are available immediately. Try it in your next retrospective.

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The Rules of Scrum: Every Sprint includes Sprint Review for stakeholder feedback on the product

Scrum is a tool for product development that uses transparency and fast feedback.  The Sprint Review is an open meeting during which the Scrum Team works with all interested stakeholders to look at the results of the Sprint.  This meeting is usually dominated by a demonstration of the working increment of software.  The stakeholders in attendance at this meeting freely provide feedback about the product which is then used by the Product Owner to update the Product Backlog.  This feedback is critical to ensure that the team is staying on-track, that it is building the most valuable possible product features, and that the stakeholders are satisfied with the results.  Missing this aspect of feedback makes Scrum only modestly better than non-agile approaches to doing work and should be considered a critical problem to fix as it undermines the whole point of doing Scrum.


Affiliated Promotions:

Try our automated online Scrum coach: Scrum Insight - free scores and basic advice, upgrade to get in-depth insight for your team. It takes between 8 and 11 minutes for each team member to fill in the survey, and your results are available immediately. Try it in your next retrospective.

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