Nexus Guide questions

Last post 02:50 pm February 11, 2018
by Leonardo Jr Del Carmen
11 replies
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05:27 am September 4, 2015

I need your help with understanding some aspects of the Nexus Guide...

-- Nexus Sprint Planning - who joins? --
The Nexus Guide states: "To begin Nexus Sprint Planning, appropriate representatives from each Scrum Team validate and make adjustments to the ordering of the work as created during Refinement events. All members of the Scrum Teams should participate to minimize communication issues."

What does this say? That *at least* some "appropriate" members from the Scrum Teams join the Nexus Sprint Planning but *ideally* all of them? Or does it say that all team members join the Nexus Sprint Planning but that that first step of validating and adjusting the ordering is only done by some "appropriate" members?

How do you read this section?

-- Nexus Sprint Planning - when are PBIs picked? --
The Nexus Guide does not explicitly say at which point the Scrum Teams pick Product Backlog Items into their individual Sprint Backlogs. However, it states that "the Nexus Sprint Goal is formulated during Nexus Sprint Planning. It describes the purpose that will be achieved by the Scrum Teams during the Sprint."

The Scrum Guide states that "after the Development Team forecasts the Product Backlog items it will deliver in the Sprint, the Scrum Team crafts a Sprint Goal." So the Sprint Goal is based on selected Product Backlog Items.

My understanding is therefore that the picking takes place in the Nexus Sprint Planning. The following individual Sprint Plannings of the Scrum Teams would then focus on how the chosen work will be completed.

Is that also your understanding?

-- Scrum Team Roles --
The Nexus Guide states: "A Nexus works off a single Product Backlog, [...] a Product Backlog has a single Product Owner who [...] is in the Nexus Integration Team."

That is very clear. The Nexus has one Product Owner. But then the Nexus Guide keeps talking about the Scrum Teams in the Nexus. And according to the Scrum Guide, a Scrum Team has a Product Owner.

Just to double-check: My understanding is that in a Nexus, the individual Scrum Teams do *not* have Product Owners. They all work with the one Nexus Product Owner. Is that also your view?

Thanks in advance for any help with this...

08:11 am September 4, 2015

Or does it say that all team members join the Nexus Sprint Planning but that that first step of validating and adjusting the ordering is only done by some "appropriate" members?

I go for the answer.

-- Nexus Sprint Planning - when are PBIs picked? --
The Nexus Guide does not explicitly say at which point the Scrum Teams pick Product Backlog Items into their individual Sprint Backlogs.

It is described at the Nexus Process Flow

Nexus Sprint Planning: Appropriate representatives from each Scrum Team meet to discuss and review the refined Product Backlog. They select Product Backlog items for each team. Each Scrum Team then plans its own Sprint, interacting with other teams as appropriate.
...

-- Scrum Team Roles --

Just to double-check: My understanding is that in a Nexus, the individual Scrum Teams do *not* have Product Owners. They all work with the one Nexus Product Owner. Is that also your view?

Yes and No.
There is only one Product Backlog for all Scrum Teams of the Nexus.
And there is only one Product Owner for all Scrum Teams of the Nexus.
You could not say "the individual Scrum Teams do *not* have Product Owners"
My opinion is a Product Owner is solely a Product Owner. There is no role named "Nexus Product Owner"

03:27 am September 5, 2015

> What does this say? That *at least* some
> "appropriate" members from the Scrum
> Teams join the Nexus Sprint Planning...

The Nexus Guide says: "Members of the Nexus Integration Team may also work on the Scrum Teams in that Nexus, as appropriate and necessary".

Nexus Sprint Planning illustrates this in practice. Those Scrum Team members who are also members of the Integration Team have a responsibility to prepare the Product Backlog so that individual Scrum Team Sprint Planning events can be facilitated. They will pay close attention to integration dependencies and ordering.

All of the members of the various Scrum Teams in the Nexus must also participate in Nexus Sprint Planning, as they are expected to conduct their own Sprint Planning afterwards. To do this they must understand and share the Nexus Sprint Goal.

> My understanding is therefore that the
> picking takes place in the Nexus Sprint Planning.

No, that should occur in each team's own Sprint Planning session. The Scrum Framework must be observed.

The Nexus Sprint Backlog is an aggregation of the PBI's of all Sprint Backlogs in the Nexus. Therefore it should *not* be seen as an output of Nexus Sprint Planning. Rather, it is shaped during individual team Planning Sessions, and it will evolve during the Sprint as the various Sprint Backlogs also evolve.

Nexus Sprint Planning is for the mitigation of integration dependencies in those Product Backlog items thought necessary to meet an identified and shared Nexus Sprint Goal.

> My understanding is that in a Nexus, the
> individual Scrum Teams do *not* have
> Product Owners. They all work with the one Nexus Product Owner.

Each team must have a Product Owner. One discrete product means there must be one Product Owner, regardless of the number of teams needed to deliver product increments.

04:48 am September 7, 2015

> The Nexus Sprint Backlog is an aggregation
> of the PBI's of all Sprint Backlogs in the
> Nexus. Therefore it should *not* be seen as
> an output of Nexus Sprint Planning. Rather, it
> is shaped during individual team Planning Sessions

Correction, I should have said that the Nexus Sprint Backlog "should *not* be seen as an output of that part of Nexus Sprint Planning which is not individual team Sprint Planning. Rather, it is shaped during those individual team Planning Sessions".

This is because although individual team Sprint Planning events are separate sessions, Nexus Sprint Planning is not complete until these events are complete. The Nexus Sprint Backlog may therefore be reasonably seen as an output of Nexus Sprint Planning.

09:28 am September 7, 2015

Thank you both for taking the time to look into this!

You are right that my phrasing for the Product Owner role was not good. The Nexus has one Product Owner. That person also serves as Product Owner in the individual Scrum Teams. So I imagine that during the part of the Nexus Sprint Planning that is the Scrum Teams' individual Sprint Planning, that person is available for all Scrum Teams in case of questions.

Ian, thanks for pointing out that the Nexus Integration Team Members who also work on the Scrum Teams are the most "appropriate" representatives for the first part of Nexus Sprint Planning. It made me wonder what would happen if Nexus Integration Team Members were *not* firmly rooted in the Scrum Teams' work. The risk might be to get some kind of "ivory tower" Nexus Integration Team, which is probably an anti-pattern to the values of Scrum.

I was wondering about what you said about the selection of PBIs into the Nexus Sprint Backlog. As Li Ching-Pei pointed out, there is a section in the Nexus Guide that states: "Appropriate representatives from each Scrum Team meet to discuss and review the refined Product Backlog. They select Product Backlog items for each team. Each Scrum Team then plans its own Sprint, interacting with other teams as appropriate."

So there does seem to be some selecting of PBIs by the representatives before the separate Sprint Planning events. I now suspect that maybe both is true? That there is that first "pre-selection" by the representatives, which serves as an assumption to build the Nexus Sprint Goal and to start the separate Sprint Planning events. But that the "real" planning of the Nexus Sprint Backlog happens in the individual team Sprint Planning, which concludes the Nexus Sprint Planning.

Does this sound about right?

11:21 am September 7, 2015

Both Scrum and Nexus is simple to understand but difficult to master.
So, don’t overthink it to avoid stepping into the text trap.

The Product Owner is not the Team Owner.
The Product Owner is responsible for Product not for the Team solely.

The Product Owner is responsible for maximize the VALUE of the product and the VALUE of the work of the Development Team.

So, there is one Product Owner for one Product no matter how many teams collaborating to develop the product.

For PBIs, there are clearer processes described in the “Nexus Flow Process” section.

Per my experiences, there are some thoughts to share as follows. In fact, most of my Scrum experiences are scaled Scrum teams.

A Nexus consists of 3-9 Scrum teams which may have different structure and competencies.

Product Backlog items are refined into thinly sliced pieces of functionality and the team likely to do the work should be identified as early as possible.

Appropriate representatives from each Scrum Team meet to discuss and review the refined Product Backlog. They select Product Backlog items for each team.

The representatives select the PBIs based on competencies, dependencies, capacities.

Each Scrum Team then plans its own Sprint, interacting with other teams as appropriate.

Interacting and communicating are very important at this moment.
Each team must negotiate with other team to set the order of the selected PBIs to minimize or remove the dependencies.
In chance there are two dependent PBIs selected by different team due to competencies or capacities. The teams could renegotiate with the Product Owner to refine or to combine the dependent PBIs.

The outcome is a set of Sprint Goals that align with the overarching Nexus Goal, each Scrum Team's Sprint Backlog and a single Nexus Sprint Backlog.

This definition of outcome is very clear. It does not need to explain more.

The Nexus Sprint Backlog makes the Scrum Team's selected Product Backlog items and any dependencies transparent.

Per my experiences, there is indeed a Nexus Sprint Backlog.
The purpose of the Nexus Sprint Backlog is to remind the owner, the Scrum Team, of each Item, and to make any dependencies transparent.

Just for your reference.

01:12 pm September 7, 2015

> So there does seem to be some selecting of PBIs by the representatives before
> the separate Sprint Planning events. I now suspect that maybe both is true? That
> there is that first "pre-selection" by the representatives, which serves as an
> assumption to build the Nexus Sprint Goal and to start the separate Sprint Planning
> events. But that the "real" planning of the Nexus Sprint Backlog happens in the
> individual team Sprint Planning, which concludes the Nexus Sprint Planning.

Before individual team Sprint Planning, there must be a forecast of PBI's that will serve the Nexus Sprint Goal, and any integration dependencies will need to be addressed. With an agreed Nexus Sprint Goal and "ready" Product Backlog Items, individual team Sprint Planning can take place.

However, there's nothing in the Nexus Guide which says that the Nexus Sprint Backlog represents such a forecast (or pre-selection) of PBI's for individual team Sprint Planning. This would make sense, because in Scrum it is up to individual teams to plan their own Sprint Backlogs...nothing is "pre-selected". Moreover, the Nexus Guide says "A Nexus Sprint Backlog is the composite of all Product Backlog Items from the Sprint Backlogs of the individual Scrum Teams." The conclusion I would thus draw is that the Nexus Sprint Backlog does not (and will not) exist until the teams have planned their individual Sprint Backlogs. During Nexus Sprint Planning, teams go into individual team Sprint Planning equipped with a Nexus Sprint Goal and PBI's that are ready for planning.

01:25 pm September 7, 2015

> It made me wonder what would happen if Nexus Integration Team Members were *not* firmly
> rooted in the Scrum Teams' work. The risk might be to get some kind of "ivory tower" Nexus
> Integration Team, which is probably an anti-pattern to the values of Scrum.

Bear in mind however that even if Nexus Integration Team members are not also Scrum Team members, they can still perform work on the increment. This might involve integration tasks that cut across multiple Sprint Backlogs.

02:52 am September 9, 2015

As always, thanks a lot for your input. It helped my understanding a lot!

08:50 am February 5, 2018

Who defines "DONE" in scaled scrum (nexus)?

05:10 am February 6, 2018

What do the Scrum and Nexus Guides say about this? Things to consider:

- Might the organization have an input?

- Where a Nexus is involved, which authority is accountable for assuring transparency over integration?

- Who actually does the work when creating a “Done” increment and therefore has an interest in assuring quality and standards?

02:50 pm February 11, 2018

Is the NIT responsible for creation of Nexus Goal? DoD?