Category Archives: Agile

2 Week Sprints!

Both of our applications that use the Scrum development framework have now halved their iteration cycles from 4 weeks to 2 weeks.

This felt rather daunting at first. I was worried that there just wouldn’t be enough time to actually develop something of billable, business value for our customers. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by the universal acceptance of this change. Developers, analysts and managers all report to less confusion about the relevant content of the Product Backlog – this has many cross-overs with some Getting Things Done principles regarding removing clutter.
With this one simple process change we now feel much more ‘sprinty’: able to really focus on a smaller number of work items. We have also doubled the amount of feedback measured and adaption possible; velocity is also more meaningful.
So, highly recommended. I wonder if we’ll move to a one week sprint as Ken Schwaber currently recommends? Xtreme sprinting!
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Posted by on November 3, 2009 in Agile


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"We Don’t Have Time to Implement Scrum!"

This is a statement I hear frequently in my company from POs and managers. Ken Schwaber recommends that, when starting out with Scrum, not to implement it on a low risk, manageable project ‘cos everyone will say “So what? It was gonna work anyway!”. Much better to pick a project that is critical and is just about to fail.

Problem with that is that it’s nearly impossible to convince the PO to allocate any time to setting up even one sprint. Today I was on the receiving end of “We just need to get it done!”. “Well”, I said, “when’s that gonna be?”. “I don’t know, but we don’t have time for all this planning and stuff.”.
On one hand I do understand where the PO is coming from but at what point do you stop and make some space to implement something that should reap massive benefits?
Slightly disappointing, but how can you argue with the PO?
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Posted by on February 27, 2009 in Agile


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Separation of Responsibilities in a Scrum Team

We are now halfway through our second 2 week exploratory sprint. The team consists of 4 pigs:

  1. Team Member, Developer, Scrum Master (myself)
  2. Team Member, Tester, Product Owner
  3. Team Member, Developer
  4. Team Member, Tester
Both developers have fully embraced the methodology and the associated tools (TFS); however, the other 2 team members have greeted it with a less-than-enthusiastic attitude. Both seem to view it as an unnecessary overhead.
2 specific problems have arisen…
1. Product Ownership
The Product Owner (PO) has a very relaxed attitude to who can add items into the Scrum. To him this is sensible as we should all have an understanding of priorities. To me it makes everyone’s job harder. I think I wanted the PO to have total responsibility for this area so that the Team Members (TMs) are free to just develop what’s in front of them. This also removes any burden of ‘why did you do that?’ from the TMs.
2. Time Boxing
The PO is quite unwilling to defer tasks even though it is clear from the Scrum Burndown Chart that we are not going to finish all the work items in this sprint. Does this matter? I have tried to explain that one of the benefits of time-boxing and this trend data is that we can make decisions early and inform stakeholders and customers that certain deliverables will be delayed. This can now be done weeks in advance of the deadline (as opposed to the morning of the delivery!).
Hopefully, these issues can be addressed more fully in the retrospective.
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Posted by on February 18, 2009 in Agile


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