Presentation Abstracts

About Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley is a Professional Scrum Trainer and Coach for ScrumCrazy.com, an Agile coaching and training company. Charles has coached numerous teams on Scrum, XP, and Agile technical practices in Java and .Net technologies. Charles holds the following certifications: Professional Scrum Trainer, Professional Scrum Master I, Professional Scrum Master II, Certified Scrum Professional, Certified Scrum Master, and Sun Certified Java Progammer. In his spare time, he enjoys driving his wife crazy by talking about Scrum, especially when he refers to his “honey do” list as his “personal backlog” and asks his wife to prioritize her backlog requests. He is based out of Denver, Colorado, and he is easily found on LinkedIn.


Customizing the Presentations


I'm very open to customizing and tailoring presentations(titles, abstracts, etc) and interactive exercises to fit the format or attendees of your event, so please feel free to let me know if that is of interest to you.


Scrum: What You Can Do to Improve Self-Organization1303765414_new.png

The secret sauce of Scrum is Self Organization. Self Organization leads to better software and higher team productivity. In this talk, we'll talk about what *you* can to to improve your Scrum team's self organization. This talk is for Scrum Masters, Scrum Developers and Testers, Scrum Product Owners, and other Scrum stakeholders and managers. Learn practical advice for how you can help the team achieve self organization greatness. We'll also do a short interactive exercise so that you can experience self-organization in action.
The material from this talk comes from Charles' (good and bad!)experiences coaching Scrum teams.

Outline

  • What is Self Organization?
  • Create the Environment for Self Organization
  • Give the Team a Goal and a Time-box
  • Interactive Exercise
  • What You Can Do as a…
    • Scrum Master
    • Scrum Coach
    • Product Owner
    • Development Team Member
    • Stakeholder

Takeaways

  • Learn what self-organization in Scrum means
  • Learn how to create the environment for self-organization
  • Learn practical techniques for Improving Self-Organization
  • Learn what you can do as a Scrum Master, Development Team Member, or Product Owner
  • Learn what you can do as a manager or other key Scrum stakeholder




The Backlog Story Grooming Game1303765414_new.png


Teams that I have coached have doubled and tripled their velocity after just 2-3 sprints of learning how to get the most out of Backlog Grooming. In this highly interactive Agile game, we'll start out with a very brief introduction to the emerging practices in Backlog Grooming. We'll then quickly dive into the game itself. The game is played in teams in several iterations, with each iteration simulating different challenges and benefits of Backlog and User Story Grooming, as well as allowing for feedback and retrospection from the audience. As an added bonus, each attendee will walk away with a list of 15 tips for getting the best out of your Backlog Grooming sessions.

Notes to abstract reviewers:
  • The game involves a normal deck of playing cards supplemented with some playing cards that are not from a normal deck(interaction cards). The end goal is to have the cards sorted in a particular order, so the goal of each iteration is to get closer and closer to sorting(grooming) the cards in the specified order. However, surprises will be encountered as the interaction cards will require some sort of interaction between the team and other team members, the Product Owner, or even a business stakeholder. Different teams will be given different interaction cards so that they can report their challenges at the mini-retrospective between each iteration.
  • This is a 60 minute session, but can be done as a 90 session where some more material on emerging backlog grooming practices are added at the before and after the game.


Scrum 2.0: The New Direction


With the long overdue major changes in the (August) 2011 Scrum Guide, there is a new sheriff in town. User Stories are out(sort of), and Backlog Grooming is in. Come find out why Release Planning is out, and Servant Leadership is in. There are also significant changes to the Product Owner role. We'll cover the major changes, as well as some of the more subtle changes that could have a big impact. An interactive exercise will encourage attendees to brainstorm ways to implement Scrum 2.0 techniques for their team. Learn how to make the most of the changes and how to transition your team to Scrum 2.0.

Note to abstract reviewers:


Scrum 2.0: The Art of Backlog Grooming


One of the major changes in the 2011 Scrum Guide is that Backlog Grooming is now a required component of Scrum. Teams that I have coached have doubled and tripled their velocity after just 2-3 sprints of learning how to get the most out of Backlog Grooming. Learn from their mistakes(and mine!) on how to streamline and execute the technique with efficiency, utilizing the Agile principle of "Individuals and Interactions." A variety of team and organizational contexts will be discussed to help you artfully design and transition to a Backlog Grooming regimen that will maximize team flow and velocity. Each attendee will walk away with a list of 15 tips for getting the best out of your Backlog Grooming sessions.

Notes to abstract reviewers:
  • This is a 60 minute session, but can be done as a 90 minute learning session where two interactive exercises are added. If the exercises are added, then this sentence can be added to the abstract after the sentence that ends in "...team flow and velocity...":
    • Attendees will participate in interactive exercises that will tease out good grooming techniques and structuring the rhythm of Backlog Grooming to their current team's needs.
  • This session is based in part on these three articles on my web site:


Acceptance and Story Testing Patterns


Acceptance Testing, also known as Story Testing, is a practice that can be applied to any software project, Agile or not. However, to achieve the Agile vision of "working software over comprehensive documentation," it's very important that acceptance tests are easily automated, resulting in a phenomenon you may have heard of, called the "Agile Specification." In this presentation, we'll discuss eight different patterns of expressing acceptance tests so that they are easy to execute and automate. We'll talk about popular patterns like Given/When/Then and Specification by Example, as well other patterns you've probably never seen. Along with delving into the mechanics of each pattern and showing examples, we'll also discuss the most appropriate situations and team contexts to apply each pattern. Expressing Acceptance Tests up front, before development begins, is a vital part of Acceptance Driven Development and the executable Agile Specification.

Notes to abstract reviewers:
  • This is a 60 minute session, but can be done as a 90 minute learning session where two interactive exercises are added. If the exercises are added, then this sentence can be added to the abstract after the sentence that ends in "...to apply each pattern...":
    • Attendees will participate in interactive exercises that will teach them how to utilize the patterns, as well as how to pick the patterns most appropriate for the type of requirement being tested.
  • This session was given at three conferences in 2012, and received good reviews from attendees. The presentation materials have been published here: Presentation - Story Testing Patterns


Scrum: Super Charge your Sprint Planning!

Looking to streamline your Sprint Planning efforts? You came to the right place! Many teams struggle with this practice because they're new to doing self organized Sprint planning. The first step is to be prepared for your Sprint Planning session, so we'll discuss the single most effective practice that helps you be ready for Sprint Planning. As we dive deeper, we'll talk about agenda setting, time-boxing, and paralleling planning efforts in the meeting itself. We'll highlight some of the most important and practical Sprint tasking tips and you'll walk away with a list of over 30 tips for Sprint Planning to help you reduce bottlenecks and deal with external dependencies. Come prepared to be super charged!

Note to abstract reviewers: This session is based in part on the following articles:

Scrum: Bad Smells of a Sprint in Flight

Many Scrum teams struggle with self organizing and self managing once their Sprint is in progress. Some of the bad smells include: stray developers, tasks and stories that stay "in progress" forever, mini waterfalls, too much work in progress, not enough story closure, overswarming, underswarming, and many many more. In an interactive exercise, we'll take some time to discuss and analyze bad smells from those in the audience. In this talk, we'll take a practical approach by learning how to identify these bad smells from the Sprint Backlog and Daily Scrum. For each bad smell, we'll talk about some of the possible solutions to turn the bad smells into the smell of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies!

Note to abstract reviewers: This session is based in part on the following articles:



User Stories: Best and Worst Practices

Charles Bradley has coached numerous teams on how to get the most out of their User Stories and Scrum practices. In this session, we’ll explore some of the Best and Worst Practices when developing User Stories. We’re not talking the “INVEST” acronym here, we’re talking real life experiences of using and abusing User Stories. We'll discuss several best practices and patterns, as well has how to get your team in the fast lane on the road toward those better practices. Each User Story abuse results in a negative consequence, which usually means process waste, or maybe a lack of confidence in the User Story practice altogether. We'll talk about the impact of the worst practices, as well as what to instead to 'up your game.'

Note to abstract reviewers: This session was given at Mile High Agile 2010, where I was expecting about 60 in the audience and ended up with about 230 people, nearly half of the entire conference attendees! The session got good reviews on the session evals. The presentation materials have been published here: User Stories Best and Worst Practices


Effective User Stories

User Stories are a wonderful practice, but many teams struggle with it. I've seen it first hand because I've coached several teams on User Stories, so I want you to learn from their experiences(and mine too!). In this session, we'll talk about the 5 point checklist that every User Story should pass, as well as some Story Testing Basics. In interactive exercises, attendees will utilize newly learned User Story techniques and experience the "individuals and interactions" feel to the User Story practice. We'll also touch on Epics, Themes, and the User Story Lifecycle. Like all Agile techniques, you must tune the practices to the organizational environment, so we'll discuss which User Story techniques are the keys to success in some challenging organizational scenarios.

Note to abstract reviewers: This session is based in part on the following articles:


The User Story Lifecycle: Just Enough, Just In Time

The key to User Stories is making sure your related practices are just enough, just in time. We'll discuss the different levels of the User Story life cycle, as well as the entrance and exit criteria for each level. More importantly, we'll discuss which levels are totally optional(many of them are) and which are absolutely vital to maximizing User Story value. We'll also follow an example story through the entire life cycle as it progresses from the request level to an epic, to themes, and finally to the legacy lifecycle level.

Note to abstract reviewers: This session is based in part on the following articles:



The Secret Sauce to Agile Test Automation

Automating tests sounds easier than it is, and test automation is not for the faint of heart. In this talk, we'll begin by defining different areas of testing by utilizing the "Agile Testing Quadrants" as our model. Then, we'll talk about the "Test Automation Pyramid" for how to approach test automation in a cost effective manner. We'll explore the hidden costs, infrastructure, and learning challenges of each level of the pyramid, including some example tools for each level. Finally, we'll close with an approach that answers the question, "How do we get started?"