Friday, January 11, 2008

You've Got a Thick Accent ....

I was in Wellington, New Zealand recently and I shared a Taxi, from the Airport to the hotel, with a colleague/friend. During the drive she asked the Driver for direction to the nearest shopping mall/district since her luggage did not show up in New Zealand, to which the driver responded "It's hard to understand you, you've got a thick accent, where is the accent from? ...."

As an immigrant in the US with my Ekiti accent, I get the "where is your accent from?" question every now and again to which I joking respond "What accent? I don't have an accent". Most Americans don't believe they have an accent, to most they speak the English language with the standard accent and the British speak with it with the English accent. Considering the US dominance especially in Entertainment and Global News Airwaves (read CNN and CNBC), the American accent may appear to be the standard but it is not. English is the language of the Englishman and that is the standard accent.

In any case, it was nice to observe my colleague's reaction and I couldn't help but laugh. I had finally been vindicated!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I'm no Scrum Purist

The other day I was asked if our team was practicing Scrum in the purest form or a hybrid of Scrum which blended our prior processes with Scrum practices.

This got me thinking "Is Scrum a methodology or a framework". Without getting into the academic definitions of methodology and framework, a methodology to me describes a set of steps that must be followed as specified by the creator(s) of the methodology while a framework is a prescriptive guidance. With a framework you are welcome to use all or part of it depending on what works best for your environment/culture. I think of Scrum as a framework, it provides guidance on software project management, and best practices for project planning, communication, reporting, time management and team composition. You can certainly adopt portions of Scrum to enhance the productivity of your team and improve your project results, which is what we have done with our adoption of Scrum.

For example, the Microsoft Solutions Framework(MSF) Team model prescribes a team of peers with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. This in my opinion allows for individual accountability as well as team accountability. In addition, it incorporated the Scrum philosophy of self-managed team. This model worked well for us and there was no reason to change it, especially since it wasn’t anti-Scrum.

We however adopted Scrum planning, time management and reporting practices because we needed to improve visibility into our progress. Now progress is measurable at the end of every sprint and we no longer waste our time with status reporting that mean nothing.