What is the Nokia Scrum test?
The Nokia Scrum test is invented and first introduced at Nokia-Siemens Finland by Bas Vodde. The main purpose of the test is to figure out how well a team is doing and how a team can do better regarding the Scrum agile process. The test contains 9 short questions, focusing on measuring the agility of a SCRUM team. Filling the tests is quite easy and quick: a team must only answers to 9 questions with “yes” or “no” answers. When the tests is done so all the questions are answered, the team should retrospectively spend time mainly on the questions where the answer were “no”, and elaborating on them while finding actions for improvement. With the Nokia Scrum test, teams can effectively practice continuous improvement which is one of the most important characteristic of all the agile processes. Let’s see the questions:
1. Can your team execute a time-boxed and stable prints?
The first question has to do with iterations. Within a scrum agile process, teams works incrementally and they commit works and tasks to a defined time-frame. A time-frame takes usually 1-3 weeks, and its length should be specified at the beginning of the agile process. Next to that, this length should be stable and always the same during the lifetime of project .
2. Do you have your features tested at the end of every sprint?
The second question has to do with software testing. It aims to figure out whether the software is tested at the feature level and whether it works as expected according to the user expectations. Testing early – at the end of the sprint – is essential to get early feedback from the users and to take this feedback into consideration for future iterations. Furthermore, delayed testing cause extra amount of work, so getting features tested early can save us a lot of time.
3. Is there enough information for the sprint, so are the specifications ready?
The third question relates to the feature specifications. It assesses whether the specifications of features and involving tasks are in ready state to be picked up by the team. It aims at figuring out of the team understands what they need to do and whether the user story is short enough to be implemented in a relative short amount of time (1-3 days). Next to that, a team should have clear information for estimating the tasks and having knowledge for testing it properly.
4. Is the Product Owner the one who is responsible for the product backlog?
Within a Scrum agile process, the Product Owner should be responsible for creating and maintaining the product backlog and for ordering the backlog items based on their business value. If the backlog is created and the tasks are prioritized, then the team can start executing and implementing it within the given sprint.
5. Do you have a product backlog which is in ready state?
It is essential to have a product backlog which has been checked and seen by the team, the tasks are estimated and most of the functional questions are answered. By having a backlog in ready state, the team is prepared for the Sprint Planning session and they can commit works to be done in the given following sprint.
6. Is the team using planning poker for estimating the backlog?
This question has to do with the estimation process itself. Teams using planning poker can execute the backlog estimation in a much faster way, resulting in less project planning costs. Planning poker is a consensus-based technique for estimating the complexity of the tasks by using relatives sizes. It is a very common practice to the Fibonacci numbers as relative sizes but there are teams who prefer the estimations based on T-Shirt sizes.
7. Does the team have a burn-down chart?
In order to track the progress of a Scrum team within each sprints, a burn-down can be used effectively. A burn-down charts shows how much work is done and how much work a team left till the end of the sprint. Nowadays with all the process management tools it is very easy to make such a chart. The only task left is to make it easily visible for the team, for example on a online dashboard.
8. Are there disruptions for the teams during the sprint?
This questions aims to figure out whether the sprint is stable enough while being executed. Once the sprint is planned and started, the sprint backlog and its prioritized list should not be changed during the sprint. Next to that, this question wants to highlight if there are no other other disruptions such as pulling out people of the team.
9. Is the team able to operate in a self-organized state?
Last but not least, that last question inspects whether the team operates in a self-organized manner with the lead of the Scrum Master. A successful and productive Scrum team should organize and manage their own work and be responsible to choose how best to accomplish their tasks.
By answering these 9 questions of the Nokia Scrum test, we can get valuable information about how our Scrum team is behaving and doing. By analyzing the parts where the answers were negative, we can set up and execute actions to practice continuous improvement, resulting in a more efficient and productive team.