Matt Harris

  

Project Manager, Jewel Business Solutions

Location: Ashburton, New Zealand


Certifications

Certified ScrumMaster

Groups I belong to

Christchurch

Biography

Matt Harris.  My first real Agile project was an eXtreme Programming project in late 2002. I was the manager of the 13 software engineers in the team but my role in the project was as XP coach of all 22 people in the team, which included 6 system testers, a project manager, a product manager and a technical writer. The project was for our largest client, and it became clear to me that our traditional waterfall process would not allow us to deliver high quality software in the time available, so I decided to limit the scope but ensure high quality - and XP fit the bill. More recently, in 2009 for my first Scrum project, I was the Scrum Master on a project to write the embedded software for a new hardware platform, with 6 software engineers and 3 system test engineers. We used many, but not all, of the practices of Scrum. We utilised TDD but here was some management resistance to utilising other XP practices. In 2010 I decided to learn more about Scrum in order to practice it better, and so went on a CSM course. In the 18 months after that I have been Scrum Master for 3 Scrum teams simultaneously, with two working on the same project.  In 2013 I am Scrum Master for two teams, with distributed team members.

Work experience

Jewel Business Solutions, Scrum Master/Project Manager/Customer Support
November 2011 - Present, Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand
Scrum Master of the web development team, sprint 1 beginning 2nd July 2012. Scrum Master of a JRS project team, spring 1 beginning 17th December 2012.

Allied Telesis Labs, Scrum Master/Release Manager
July 1997 - November 2011, Christchurch, New Zealand
Initially started work as a software engineer, then moved into project and people management. The company had various different names over the years as it was bought and sold, but the product and job stayed pretty much the same. Started learning about and using non-traditional software development techniques such as Lean and eXtreme Programming. XP coach for a team of 22 for three months Aug 2002 to Dec 2002, XP coach for a team of 6 Jan 2003 to June 2003. Used a mix of informal Agile techniques for the next few years. In 2006 a team began using many of the Scrum practices with 4 week Sprints and in 2007 another team started using some of the Scrum practices. In 2008, I was seconded to a non-development customer support and training role based in Munich, Germany. Throughout 2009, I facilitated use of Test Driven Design techniques and framework. I began formally using Scrum-like techniques on projects, fulfilling the role of Scrum Master. I lead the scaling of some Scrum practices for use by most of the software and system test departures during two software release testing cycles. I began the introduction of co-located work spaces setup for pair programming and testing, although this encountered some unexpected resistance from Senior Management. In mid-2010, I stepped up my use of full Scrum practices after attending CSM training with Jens Ostergaard. A new project was kicked off and I gained buy in from Senior Management to use Scrum, sourcing a very experienced person for Product Owner with myself as Scrum Master. We followed nearly all of the advice in Jens CSM workbook, created a backlog, set up a team area for 5 software engineers and a system test engineer, plus a part time technical writer. The walls were fully utilised for information radiators making progress visible at a glance. Two week Sprints were used, Sprint Plannings were great, daily standups worked well, Sprint reviews and retrospectives saw many improvements, weekly Product Backlog grooming sessions were held using Planning Poker. Another two software engineers were added and another system tester, eventually meaning the team split into two working on the same backlog, with more engineers added. I then setup a third Scrum Team for another project. This team found adapting to using Scrum a much bigger challenge than the other two Scrum teams, which meant I learnt an enormous amount about Scrum in practice from a different angle. As a similar time I set up the third team, other Scrum teams were also being set up and I also coached these other teams who began using Scrum by assisting with Sprint Retrospectives and setting up of team co-location areas. Invited the team Product Owners to the weekly project review with senior management to present the progress or the teams. I left the company in November 2011 for a new opportunity with nearly three years of full time Agile/Scrum experience.