Summer 2012 47
place—in Connecticut, Virginia and athome,” says Henry Zektser, VBrick’s chie soware architect. “We had to get everyoneon the same page, literally and guratively.We needed to nd a way that they’d be ableto see and interact with each other as i they were all in the same room. Ultimately,we had to nd a seamless solution thatwould bring everyone together so that they all had a shared, solid understanding o what was going on.”
the consultation: scrum meetshuman ProDuctivity lab
he project came to ruition throughserendipity. Over lunch with VBrick’sCEO, HPL President Howard Lichtmandiscussed a recent project designing anAgile-Scrum solution or a 2,000-persontelecommunications company. Lichtmanrecounts the CEO’s reaction: “He said,‘that’s unny. We just opened a new ocein Virginia, we just hired a new CO andchie soware architect working out o that oce that will be managing teamsin Connecticut and remotely, and we justput our developers through Agile-Scrumtraining.’” Tey discussed how VBrick already had in place some o the necessary components: LieSize videoconerencingendpoints, Microso Lync, and VBrick’sown Distributed Media Engine, a platormdesigned to record, store, archive, andstream videoconerencing sessions, amongother applications. Te challenge wastying it all together into a system thatwould make it easy to use and optimizethe less-than-ideal conerence roomspace. And then there were the small butessential touches needed to make thecompany’s visual collaboration as efectiveas possible—camera angles, lighting,control system, and user interace; and allo the various elements that make visualcollaboration run more smoothly.
the next steP: beyonD thescrum
n the rst ew months o operation,the system required a ew minutes o backend work to make sure everyonecould log in successully and the HPLmade changes to the Crestron menu thatimproved the ease-o-use. But now thatthe companies have streamlined the sign-on process into a one-button experience,the company plans to use the new systemor more than Scrum. VBrick’s VicePresident o Product Rick Rumbarger sayshe plans to roll out the room or otherareas o the company in coming months,including executive-level meetings,project management, and I. “Te HPL’sdesign supercharged our Scrum sessionsbut also provided tools to improve every meeting held in that room,” he says. “Now we plan to use it or everything.”
the solution in action:scrumming along
nce in place, the Agile-Scrum roomworked better than the company hadhoped. Now, at the daily Scrum, sprintplanning sessions, and other development-related meetings, the ScrumMaster has thepower to share the company’s VersionOneAgile-Scrum project management toolsto large-ormat screens at each locationor over web conerence to the laptops o remote participants. Te participants canwork efectively with data, whiteboardinginteractively with remote sites, annotatingover diagrams and saving those annotationsand whiteboard drawings to les that canbe worked on at later times or emailed to allparticipants directly rom the room.“Being able to have that whiteboard upin both rooms during the Scrum makes ahuge diference,” says Watts. “Te ScrumMaster can be touching tiles and say ‘OKwe’ll throw this down until later, butwe’ll bump this up instead.’ I can makechanges in ront o the group and remoteparticipants and capture their eedback in VersionOne as the discussions arehappening.”Te SMARBoard’s ability to shareother images has also proven a boonor the team. “Te solution has madethe process o explaining and workingthrough problems much more ecient.For example, not long ago we were usinga particular diagram that was very denseand would have been a pain to explain toeveryone over the phone. But with thissolution we were able to call it up on thewhiteboard and work it through it in veminutes,” says Zektser. “Tis is signicant,because not only does it save precioustime, it also makes comprehending theprocess so much easier or everyoneinvolved. It makes meetings go aster, butit also saves a lot o efort and conusionon the backend, because there’s no
agile softwareDeveloPment& scrum: a P
Agile sotware development, or theuninitiated, is an iterative and incrementalsotware development methodolog with a ew simple ke precepts: workingsotware is delivered requentl withcontinuous eedack rom customersand stakeholders, while the sotwaredevelopment ccle is time-oxed andlocked-down into “sprints” where nochanges are permitted until the currentplanned unctionalit is fnished.Agile teams are small (the average sizeis seven memers plus or minus two) andcross-unctional, including people dedicatedto planning, designing, coding, and testing.Team memers ideall work together ina collaorative workspace where the requentl rain storm, prolem solve andparticipate in a short, fteen minute dail meeting called a Scrum. During Scrums,team memers report on what the didesterda, what the’re doing toda andwhat roadlocks stand in their wa. TheScrumMaster manages the process,keeping the team ocused on the currentsprint goal and deliverales with help roman all-encompassing “big Visile Chart”similar to a Kanan oard.
VBrick Sotware Architect and ScrumMaster BryanWatts makes a change to his team’s Task Boardin VersionOne in Herndon where it is mirrored ona large-ormat display in Connecticut. The set-upalso reaches remote team members over webconerencing, and the meeting is recorded orthose who can’t make it.