Scrum – making GÉANT agile*

GLAD is often a champion of trends in technology and new ways of organising. This time we teamed up with WP5 and have sent two ‘GÉANT birds’, Michael Schmidt and Jule Ziegler, to explore SCRUM. Here is what they have learned and most importantly how they have already used their learning in GÉANT activities.

Scrum is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.”
The Scrum Guide

Sounds awesome? We thought the same. That’s the reason we decided to learn more about Scrum and integrate it into our daily business in GÉANT. With the generous support of GLAD it was possible for us to attend the necessary training to master the fundamentals of Scrum and Agility.

The Scrum training

The whole Scrum training covered a 2-day foundation course, a 2-day Scrum Master as well as a 1-day Product Owner training. During this one week experience we got a deep-dive of all Scrum aspects described in the official Scrum Guide, like roles, artifacts and ceremonies. We learned to use burndown charts, planning poker and others to improve our Sprint experience.

Part of the training was a practical session in which we experienced hands-on the benefits of an agile approach.

While manufacturing paper planes we learned about the difficulties in newly founded teams and how agile techniques could improve the productivity and quality of our results, even in such a simple scenario.

We left the training as certified Scrum Masters, packed with a bunch of useful tools and motivated to apply our newly gained knowledge in the GÉANT Trust & Identity Incubator.

Agility in GÉANT

The GÉANT Trust and Identity Incubator (“T&I Incubator”) aims to develop, foster and mature new ideas in the Trust and Identity space in Research and Education. Since we’re dealing with new technologies and rapidly changing requirements and needs, it is the perfect environment to apply an agile approach like Scrum. However, due to GÉANT project specifics like distributed teams not all Scrum principles can be applied in our project like for example daily standup meetings which are difficult to coordinate in part time teams across different time zones.

We created two Scrum Teams, Alphas and Omega, each coordinated by one of us. These teams use Trello to organize their work in an agile way using Stories and Tasks.

We established regular meetings like a Weekly Scrum where the team discusses progress and impediments.The work is done within monthly Sprints which are planned by the team in the beginning and presented to stakeholders at the end.

Although we do not stick to the Scrum methodology in full detail the agile concepts helped us to improve our work and the results delivered in the Incubator.

Learn more and download the official Scrum guide and get to know the GÉANT Trust and Identity Incubator.

*Written by Michael Schmidt & Jule Ziegler