My project at Check-IT was not a technical one. No programming, no networking, no designing nor cyber security. My project centered on the business side of IT within an organization. As a Business IT & Management student from Groningen, I was more than happy that I would work on a challenging Business IT project at Huisman (China) Co., Ltd.

Huisman is a Dutch company, headquartered in Schiedam, with facilities among others in Brasil, Singapore and the Czech Republic. As of 2007, the production facility in Zhangzhou can be added to that list. Together with Jeroen Suttorp I did my internship at the IT Application department of Huisman.

Huisman asked us to draft a workable version of Scrum and implement this in the IT Application department.

This project, though very interesting, presented two challenges:

1. I had minimal knowledge of the Scrum framework
2. How does one go about implementing such a framework?

The only practical knowledge I had of Scrum was the result of one Agile/Scrum workshop of half a day from Frans Diekstra. He gave this workshop for all the Dutch Check-IT students during the Check-IT preparation programme back in February. Other than that, I had little knowledge. To get started, I read everything that was written about Scrum including all the case studies of Agile/Scrum implementations in China. In fact, I read all two of them. Scrum in China? Not so well-documented.

It is quite a challenge to directly implement Scrum, and we decided to focus on the components of Scrum that would really deliver requested business value. These components are:

1. Iterations/sprints
2. Project breakdown into small workable tasks
3. Continuous improvement

Based on these three aspects, we figured that in order to succeed the following artefacts and ceremonies had to be in place:

– A Product Backlog
– A Sprint Backlog (digital)
– A Scrum Board (the physical Sprint Backlog)
– Sprint Structure
– A Daily Standup
– A Sprint Retrospective.

Observant readers may have noticed the absence of the Sprint Review. Of course, the Sprint Review is an important ceremony. However, when multiple projects are executed at the same time it can be difficult to fit everything in one Sprint Review at the end of every sprint. When important software is delivered, there will be a meeting between the development team and the customer to provide and receive feedback. While this ensures proper feedback at the end of a project, it neglects the so needed feedback during the early start of a project.

With the artefacts and ceremonies in place, we gave workshops and guided the first few sprints. We’ve put emphasis on keeping Scrum simple in the beginning. After a few sprints, when the basis of Scrum is under control it is possible to expand Scrum with extra procedures or artefacts. The Sprint Retrospective is designed to ensure continuous improvement. By disussing the last sprint, the team can determine improvement points. These are points to which the team will pay more attention in the next sprint in order to improve them.

I can gladly say that we succesfully placed a basis of Scrum within our department. Some things could have been done better, of course, the implementation of a Sprint Review for instance. But after all, I did join Check-IT to learn, and that is what I did during my internship in China.

Thanks to all the Chinese and Dutch students for a wonderfull experience in China and thanks to Check-IT, Huisman (China) Co., Ltd. and IT Application department for a fantastic professional experience!!

Best regards,

Erik van Roon