At the beginning of March this year, a Scrum trainer visited our offices to facilitate a four-day Scrum training workshop for all our software development team leaders. The Scrum technique is an up and coming practice in the software development process, and its popularity is spreading throughout the software development world.
What is the Scrum Process?
Scrum is used to describe exceptionally performing, cross-functional teams. It is essentially a step-by-step software development framework which aims to best manage product development with a flexible and holistic strategy.
The aim of the Scrum technique is for different members of a development team to work together in short sprints in order to reach a common goal. This method ultimately challenges the traditional and sequential approach to product development, and goals are set according to the project’s priorities in a logical and realistic way. Once a goal has been decided, the scrum team, led by the scrum master, meet on a daily basis to discuss their individual progress on the project, their aims for the following day as well as to ask for guidance on any challenges they have faced so far. This daily communication and review allows for team flexibility and accountability in order to produce excellent outcomes.
Our Trainer, Greg Sharpe
Orient Software were privileged to host Australian Scrum trainer Greg Sharpe for the four day training course. Greg has had extensive experience working with global teams and facilitating a world-class training course internationally. His main aim is to provide the team leaders with the necessary skills and tools to improve their overall team performance, as well as to enable an in-depth and strategic thought process. Over the four days, Greg held four inspiring training sessions.
Defining our Core Values
The first and most valuable training which Greg conducted was for Orient Software’s Management Team. The aim of this training was to redefine the core values of the organisation, how to maintain these values in the long term, and how to work upon them and improve upon them with a future perspective in mind. After a vigorous and engaging discussion, we were able to identify and define the Orient Software strengths and values as follows:
First and foremost, it is vital to the success of the organisation that there be open and direct conversation among the various team members, the staff and their team leaders. Clear and constant communication is not only a fundamental principle of Scrum technique, but it is fundamental to Orient Software’s success as a whole.
Secondly, Orient Software is to be a flat organisation with clear regulations set out for all employees. We have fair rules and policies in place to ensure that all staff and team members are respected and are equal within the organisation. There is to be trust between team leaders and staff. We have drafted codes of conduct of the standards for ethical business in order to ensure that the staff’s well-being is catered for first and foremost, thus enabling a win-win business relationship for all parties involved.
Each individual in the organisation is to have a clear career path, in order to develop each staff member on an individual level, giving them the respect and the opportunity in order to allow for professional growth. We are to pay special attention to female employees to ensure that they are treated equally to their counterparts.
We are also to prioritise a work – life balance, and to ensure that we are flexible with our employees to ensure that they are as satisfied with their working environment as possible, which ultimately leads to increased productivity and better results.
The Management Team took it upon themselves that they are to set a good example for their staff to follow. Communication with the team should also be sincere and honest, in order to motivate and support the various team members and to show empathy when it is needed. We are to have an open mind-set for our future learnings, and be open to listen to the different opinions within our team. We are to be positive with our feedback, and should provide constructive criticism where necessary.
Further Team Development
The second session was held for the team leaders as a refresher course in the Scrum methodologies and the practices involved in employing the technique for all development teams and their staff.
The third session was for the development teams themselves, in which a daily Scrum meeting was simulated in order to observe, question and answer each other in a typical daily development environment. This simulation was successful in fostering a sense of team spirit and emphasised the importance of good team work for the success of the project.
The fourth session was for the selected team leaders, which gave them the space to enquire about the typical concerns and worries that each leader may experience during Scrum practice, and how best to effectively communicate with their individual teams.
A successful four days of training
Throughout the four days of training we learnt the importance of individual performance, as each developer is able to contribute to the overall goal through his/her own creativity and motivation. We were able to redefine the roles of the Management Team and the team leaders. That there is to be excellent communication in a clear and sincere way between management and their employees in order to enable trust and respect amongst team members. And ultimately we are to remember that managers can only be as effective as they enables their employees to be.
All in all, the training helped to re-emphasise the basic principles of the Scrum technique throughout Orient Software. Namely, trust among the various team members, clear and effective communication and strong teamwork. We believe that as a result of this inspiring and successful training that we are going to have better productivity and truly excellent outcomes going forward in the future.