Scrum Gathering in Munich – day 3

With this post I’ll complete the series about the Scrum Gathering in Munich. I started the third day of the conference by attending the presentation “Growing Self Organizing Teams” held by Harvey Wheaton of Supermassive Games (http://www.supermassivegames.com). Supermassive Games produces titles for the Sony PS3 and it was founded in 2008. After less than one year the company has already got nearly 60 employees.

Here are some of Harvey’s tips that I found interesing:

  • Regarding the interaction within a team, words like “he”, “she” or “they” should be avoided when discussing issues: the focus should always be on “we”. There are no culprits, it’s always a matter of cooperation;
  • It is always good to continuously review the process trying to abstract from the daily tasks and think about them to find out where the room for improvement lays;
  • Supermassive Games has a very simple hierarchy: there are 3 directors and senior or level associates (software engineers, artists, designers, etc.);
  • People should be aware that mistakes won’t cause any trouble. If something wrong is going to happen, it will be fixed and the situation that caused it will be analyzed in order not to repeat the error but it is fundamental that people shouldn’t be afraid of trying.

The second presentation of the day for me was “10 contract forms for your next agile project” from Peter Stevens of Sierra Charlie Consulting (www.sierra-charlie.com):

  • Details about payment and billing should never be left out of a contract. These details should include also bonuses and penalties;
  • Contracts should clearly specify who are the people representing the parts and what responsibilities they have eventually together with the hierarchical relationships between them in order to be able to escalate in case problems arise;
  • The definition of “done” should also be clearly stated in a contract. The project will be considered completed only when all points regarding this definition are met;
  • Be always aware of laws of the country you are operating in: in Switzerland for example, it is always advisable to include in the contract a reference to two specific laws that allow you to be freed from responding with your whole belongings for the contract;
  • Never ever put the word “etc.” in a contract!

This last presentation was actually split into two parts. The second part was “Raising the bar iteratively” from Regina Muller, a lawyer from Dialexica (www.dialexica.com) describing how Scrum can also be applied to the profession of lawyer. Regina’s presentation was really interesting and among the other things, I now know that in case of litigation there is a very long phase called Document Review during which lawyers read all emails, wikis, contracts and any other documentation related to the case.

This was all from the Scrum Gathering 2009 in Munich. It is really interesting to see how companies are keen to optimize their processes and how Scrum is turning into a more and more tested set of practices allowing companies to reach such a goal. I’m now looking forward to pass all this knowledge to Calameda’s partners…

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