Last week I gave an introduction to agile development and Scrum for a global project organization in Shanghai, China. After the lunch on first day it was time for 59min Scrum simulation. I have written about bad experiences when trying to achieve too much, so it was back to the basics.
There were participants from Finland, China, and Mexico. We used the product backlog for Family Cookbook. Only addition to original Scrum simulation was the use of relative complexity estimations on product backlog items. This time it worked. Estimating the tasks in numbers gave birth to discussion on whether something is simple, or not, not just dividing an item into tasks. Some items were also soon identified to be too large to fit in one 14 minutes Sprint. Team was immediately forced to seek for collaboration with Product Owner.
On retrospective the main thing experienced was the time pressure. I do not see this as a bad thing, it is just the beginning of understanding the discipline needed for time-boxed development. Time pressure will decrease when the team builds trust and improves estimating.
Everyone valued the exercise and though that it was a good lesson. I might consider adding a separate exercise for planning and estimating before the final Scrum Simulation. With this early experience I do not think that I will ever try meaningful work inside the simulation again. The difference was so clear.