adopt the new / forgot the old
Past months I focused on introducing agile methods of software development or more precisely work on a more transparent way of handling business requests. So, what we (which is the team and I) have so far is:
- White board to watch notes moving from left to right
- A – now single – backlog, which is edited by the business responsible and me, and contains abstract effort points
- Daily sprint at 11:30
- 3 week planning iterations, retrospective meetings and planning sessions
The days before I had a more or less huge MS PowerPoint presentation with a slide for each issue I was interested in. Every evening I updated my set of slides and printed out the new version (4 slides a page). I had everything in hand.
What is the difference, and most important: What are the benefits? In our case team building was my strongest driver to move away from weekly status meeting to daily 10 minutes stand ups, and a board holding all the current activities. IMHO the level of details is now too high, at least for Data Warehouse developments. Splitting requests into smaller features is difficult (I’ll never say impossible), or needs abilities we currently have access (like advanced data modelling techniques) to.
What else? Our sprints cross the system releases. I think that this is good practice. First of all we could easily find arguments for additional sub releases, because tested features are available, and a reduced time to market could help business to gain profits (you knwo the arguments). Secondly we could plan released based activities close to the moment they are needed and not 2.5 months ahead.
The time: We started with the Daily sprint at 13:00, directly after lunch. What happend? The degree of attendence was low, also the blood preasure. We moved to 11:30, but also discussed 9am. Later one is a bad idea for us due to ongoing meeting requests commonly starting in the morning. With 11:30 we could do some sort of Camp David approach, keep the session after the Daily scrum going until we found solutions or could finish the discussion. The preasure to do so is much higher because of, hunger. Does not happen often, but …
I think that I’ll take another step: Reduce the number of different cards to three: 1 for real activities, limited to the effort of maximum 2 days, and 1 for activities to be finished outside the team. The 3rd category is for Incidents and other urgent requests.management,
I didn’t used my slides for weeks, but I think I’ll re-invent them for my personal usage. The board is not the place for everything, but neither are the slides. The agile hype is gone, now we see how things are a working.