Tag Archives: Scrum

Scrum Gathering South Africa 2016 – Cape Town

This year the Scrum Gathering will be held in Cape Town on the 3rd and 4th of November at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Woodstock.

The opening keynote presenter is Danie Roux (@DanieRoux) and he will set the theme of the Gathering with the talk “Goldilocks at work – getting it just right“. To close the Gathering we have Gitte Klitgaard (@NativeWired), “Do you have the courage to be agile?”.

For more information regarding the gathering, please check out our Scrum Gathering 2016 Event page

Interested in Speaking at the 2016 South African Scrum Gathering?

Click here to submit your talk.

Announcing the 2012 Scrum Gathering…, NOT!

You might have heard us mention that there will not be a Scrum Gathering this year. We know you were looking forward to it. But us wacky agile folks love change, so we thought it was time to mix it up!

Agile Africa will be a large scale agile conference in Johannesburg in late August that should fill your needs for international speakers, and agile talks.

So SUGSA is bringing you 3 different events instead!

1. Scrum in the Pub – happening in July (we hope). Details coming soon. It will involve beer and questions so you can prove your agile prowess to all your fellow agile geeks. There is even a rumour of prizes…. Of course, since it’s an agile quiz, we will be competing in teams. So start studying up your agile and Scrum trivia and picking your team mates.

2. Code Lab – a two day technical conference dedicated to team members who want to get better at good things like pairing and TDD. We hope to have 2 international gurus here as well (but names are under wraps until it’s confirmed…). Find out more here.

3. Agile Coach Retreat – Coach camps are popular in  Europe and the USA. But in Africa camping means tents, and there definitely won’t be tents if I have any say, so we are calling it a retreat. What is it? A weekend getaway to a remote location with a bunch of like minded agile coaches/scrum masters for 3 days of unconference open space. We will talk, we will share, we will eat and drink, we will learn, we will laugh, and mostly we will have fun. Keep an eye out for details later in the year, we hope to do this as the year winds down in November.

And of course on top of this we will keeping bringing you regular monthly events in Cape Town and Johannesburg. We hope you won’t miss the Scrum Gathering too much given all of this instead 😉

Event Report: Root Cause Analysis and A3 thinking

The session started with an explanation of the 5 Whys, which Carlo likened to an annoying toddler. I had never thought of it that way – but it is very accurate!

In our groups we picked between 2 techniques: 5 whys and cause & effect diagrams, and applied them to an exercise – 3mile island. Reading about 3 mile island – you couldn’t help but be shocked and amused at the number of things that had to go wrong for disaster to occur – and how quickly they had happened.


During the exercise the parts that stuck out the most for me were:

  • Break the problem down to the human level, if you’re still at a machine level – dig deeper.
  • Each step can have action items, but you should expend most of your energy at the root level.
  • How you phrase your question is important, try various questions and see where their path leads you.
  • Try not to find THE root cause. There are usually many. Don’t worry if you don’t have clear 5 steps, most of us had tree’s.

Think of 5 whys and Cause & Effect diagrams as training wheels. Use them to practice the skill and discipline of asking questions and delving deeper into the problem. Another technique is a fishbone diagram – but I have no idea how that works.

We then looked at the A3 template: http://www.crisp.se/lean/a3-template. This is a techniques to force you to do more than just analyze the problem. Each A3 has both an owner and a mentor.

You look at the current condition, and explain the background – why is this important?

Root Cause analysis is one part of an A3 and should be done with the group closest to the problem – those involved.

Carlo mentioned some books to read for those interested:

Thank you to our sponsor, Alacrity for the snacks and drinks 🙂

Job on a Scrum Team

Looking for some growth or a new opportunity?

Interested in working in a Scrum team, please see the job spec below fo a company looking for a C# .NET developer to join a Scrum team in Cape Town.

We are looking for a senior developer for a 1 year contract with the below skills set. There is a good chance of extending the contract if both parties are satisfied after the initial period. The position is available immediately, the candidate will be working at our offices in Cape Town city centre or remotely from home.

Essential skills at a senior level:

  • Relational database design
  • SQL / T-SQL
  • C#
  • Stored Procedures
  • LINQ
  • HTML
  • Javascript
  • MS Visual Studio
  • .NET 4.0
  • Sequel Server 2008 R2
  • IIS (Internet Information Services)
  • Any Source Control system (e.g. SVN)
  • Continuous Integration (Cruise Control)
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

Optional skills:

  • MS Test
  • GUI Design
  • MDX
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  • Web Client Factory Software (WCFS)
  • Entity Framework
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • SSIS
  • SSRS
  • SSAS
  • Scrum / Agile
  • Specflow
  • Selenium
  • Experience in working on global systems & entities framework would be an advantage.

We are an IT company founded in 1996 and have developed several internet applications of our own. Our current project involves the enhancement and development of new modules for a global, multilingual internet application.
The candidate will be working in a 6 member team of developers using the latest  Microsoft technologies. We are looking for a candidate with extensive experience in the required skills in the context of web application development, enthusiasm and commitment to quality and delivering on time.

If you are interested in this position please contact vera.wehrle@softwarecolors.co.za

JHB Event February 2012: Tools for Scrum

It has been quite a start to the year alright and we missed our ordinary last Tues of the month event for the JHB Scrum usergroup.

We have pinned down our next topic though which is sure to be a catalyst for some heavy debates.


The use of Pivotal Tracker and Jira in Scrum development teams.

Speaker 1: How we use Pivotal Tracker for scrum at IS

In this talk, I’ll walk you through some of PT’s fundamental features, and how we use them at IS to keep the scrum process ticking over. I’ll also talk about some of the untapped potential that PT offers, and give a sneak peek of an an important upcoming feature that’s currently in beta.

Bio of Gabriel Fortuna

I started working at Internet Solutions 10 years ago as a support technician, and since then have done software development, network management, and various other things to keep me out of mischief. Currently, I am a team manager running a small, but diverse team of software developers at Internet Solutions. We rely on scrum to understand to Get Things Done, and to maintain our sanity.

Speaker 2: There are pro’s and cons to JIRA so it’s important to know what you are getting into. I would like to present JIRA its strengths and weaknesses.

Bio of Kevin Shine

I have been in the software development industry for over 10 years, I have worked in various languages but spent most of my career working with Java. I worked as a system analyst for a few years and decided to move into a development manager position to try and facilitate change around the way developmentwas approached. I have been using scrum for software development for over 5 years. In terms of agile certification and I have a CSM and Scrum master I certificate.

I find a popular question with scrum is should we use a tool or not?

Most of my experience with scrum involves doing things manually, but this has presented some problems of its own and therefore the search for a tool to solve these problems. I believe selecting the wrong tool is worse than having no tool. That said I have tried a number of tools and approaches and would like to present JIRA as a tool I recommend for scrum.

Discovery Sandton
155 West Street
South Africa

When? 28 February 2012

To register go to: here

Cape Town: Release Planning with Scrum: Controlling the Chaos

Join SUGSA Cape Town on 2 February when we have Release Planning with Scrum: Controlling the Chaos.

When: 2 February 2012, 6:00PM

Topic: Release Planning with Scrum: Controlling the Chaos                    

Sign up: Please sign up here in order to help us with catering.

Allan Gray Portswood office in the Presentation Room on the third floor. You can download a map here. Everyone parking in the Portswood parking area will have to pay for their own parking tickets. There is also parking available in Beach Road.

The Agile Manifesto tells us that we should be responding to change over following a plan.  This encourages us to plan into the future at the last responsible moment.  But we still may need a plan.  A plan can help inform our customers what may be in the next release or by when their favourite feature may appear.  They can help inform stakeholders on the cost of the current focus and hence whether the investment makes sense at this time.  These are Good Things for a business.  The essence of agile planning is to understand that the plan may change.  The plan must be reassessed for validity every time new data comes into the system – usually at the end of a sprint. Plans often allow us to appear more certain than we may actually be.  The hardest part with planning in Scrum is ensuring that everyone understands that things change and we will respond as soon as they do.  Effective agile planning allows us to more reliably respond to the changing business and market needs as early as possible.

In this talk I will discuss some of the techniques that I have used over the last couple of years to do release planning.  I’ll touch on of some of the things that have worked for me and some that haven’t.  The ideas will range from some simple maths, to reporting release progress through a release burnup and overviews, to the how to deal with change and ensuring that people understand what it means.  I hope by the end of the talk I will have shared some ideas and generated some conversation around controlling the chaos that can surround a software development release.

About Patrick Vine:
Patrick VineI started my career more than a decade ago at Microsoft in Redmond. Since then I’ve moved through different companies as developer, architect and manager in diverse technologies and industries.  I first started to dabble in Scrum a couple of years back while working at Yellowtail Software where I helped the roll out of Scrum. While there I gained an appreciation for how well you can manage software using Scrum.  I’ve worked on Fixed Price, Fixed Team, Fixed Budget projects. I am passionate about working with Scrum, learning more about software development and helping teams get better on a daily basis.


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Stand-ups every day? Check.
Impediment-removing Scrum Master? Check.
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Teams that deliver working code every sprint? Check.
Review every sprint? Check.
Retrospective every sprint? Check.

Does this make your business truly Agile? For me there are a couple of checklist items missing:

Development practices that deliver high quality code?

A team of developers who understand one another and operate as a cohesive unit?

Team productivity doesn’t drop when a particular team member is away?

How would you answer? How would your developers answer?

It’s bring-a-dev-day at SUGSA! In fact bring your whole development team.

About Austin Fagan

I work for Unboxed Consulting.

I started writing software in 1999. I think I’m as bad now as I was then. So I don’t code now, my team keeps me as far from the codebase as they can, they shudder at the thought of me coding. I still can’t help being passionate about development. Weird.

I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to Agile techniques and great development practice since 2006 and I’ve been boring people silly about both since.


Sign up at Event Brite




Well, it’s all over (until next year). A record breaking event for us, spanning two cities, three days, 260 people, four continents and eighteen speakers.

Below you will find all the pics from the Cape Town event

Johannesburg – Photos of the event

The Johannesburg event was a great success. Lots of fun and learning was had by all.
Click on this link to see photos of the event: SGZA JHB

Gathering 2011 – Leopard Lounge, and more!

And we’re here! Only 2 days to go before the Johannesburg Gathering. We are hard at work finalizing those last minute details at the venues.

Even the most avid learners sometimes get full. The Leopard Lounge will be a place to relax when your brain is full and you need a break, or a place to connect between sessions and have those important conversations with other delegates which are what makes a Scrum Gathering special.

And, not only will there be dedicated tracks for the Scrum Master, the Product Owner, the Manager and the members of the team, but we also have a few extra’s planned.

Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect:


Mitch Lacey

   Board of Directors of Scrum Alliance

We have the pleasure this year of hosting Mitch Lacey, from the Scrum Alliance.

Mitch  is an Agile practitioner and trainer who has been managing projects for over twelve years with numerous plan-driven and Agile projects under his belt, including core enterprise services for Windows Live.

An author of numerous publications and a speaker at many Agile conferences, Mitch will be welcoming us at both the Johannesburg and Cape Town events. Mitch will be on hand during each day to answer any Scrum Alliance questions should you wish to catch up on what is happening in our international community.


Agile Games

   with Samantha Laing & Karen Greaves

Agile is about more than processes and tools. It’s about individuals and interactions, and there is no better way to experience this that by participating in agile games.

Get ready for a session of high energy and interaction. You’ll be sure to have new friends at the end of this one!

And the best bit is that we’re be having Agile Games at both the Johannesburg and Cape Town events.

 Phil Barrett

A hands-on introduction to sprint zero

   with Phil Barrett (CT Only)

Before you commit to writing too much code, it’s good to be sure you have got a big idea for your product that really works for users, and that stakeholders agree with the direction you’re taking. You need a phase to explore ideas, and get feedback from users, before you get stuck into your sprints. This makes sure you start off climbing the right mountain, rather than realising you’re on the wrong one when you’re half way up.

Creating prototypes in code is expensive and slow, when you’re on the hunt for the right version of the big idea.

UCD techniques can really help. Paper and pencil prototypes are cheaper than code and work well enough at the very early stages of a project. They let you explore more ideas in less time.

In the workshop you’ll get a chance to:
– Use personas and scenarios as a way to get new ideas
– Create a cheap paper/digital prototype that is good enough for testing
– Run a usability test

.. and we’ll cover the reasons why it works and why it’s good for your business, your team and your sanity.


Agile Jazz

   with Andrew Coote (CT Only)

Andrew has over 10 years experience as a developer, project manager and Scrum Master in various industries, including Microsoft EMEA in Reading, UK. He is also an accomplished Jazz trumpet player, who has toured with Mango Groove, Johnny Clegg, Natalie Cole and many others. How is that relevant you’re asking? Read below!

Using a live performance of a four-piece Jazz ensemble as a reference and demonstration, Andrew will present Jazz as a metaphor for Agile teamwork and the evolution of processes. We work through a cycle emphasising the following common attributes between Jazz and Agile teamwork: Skills, Self Management, Specialisation, Collaboration, Adaptivity, Innovation, Improvisation, Risk Taking, Supporting, Delivering Value, Sustaining Pace, and Passionate Commitment.

This is a light, entertaining session that is highly memorable as a metaphor for teamwork.


Scrum Clinic

   Got a question? Ask a doctor! (CT Only)

Got a problem or burning question with your Scrum implementation? Have an issue that you feel wasn’t addressed in any of the sessions? No problem – we have alocated time for our Scrum Doctors” (read: industry experts) to give you some one-on-one advise on whatever it is that you need help with. We have allocated three and  half hours on the second day of the Cape Town Gathering for this large scale Scrum clinic. Sorry Johannesburg, this one is for CT only.


Lightning Talks

   various speakers and topics (CT Only)

Now it’s your turn! We have an interesting line up of volunteer speakers from varying industries that will cover a wide range of topics . 10 minutes to present, 5 minutes for questions. An energetic way to end of the event.


There are still tickets available for both the Cape Town and Johannesburg events. Click here to book online.


We’ll see you there!