Saturday, April 11, 2009

Newbie to Agile.. Some random things based on my experience so far..

1. Scrum is only one of the Agile methods. There are many. But at the moment Scrum is the most popular due to its simplicity and not forgetting the scrum alliance marketing effort too.. ;-)

2. I had a situation where the product owner had an idea.. Agile is no documentation.. period!.. This is not right! If you look at what Agile Manifesto says “they prefer working software over comprehensive documentation and not over any documentation. The point is that more effort should be for making software and not for making documentation. But we always need simple good documentation in software. Which is a known factor.

3. Can the none technical Project Manager becomes the Scrum master? My answer is YES. But still if you have a choice, go for the technical guy. Because in Scrum the “Management “ is very less. All what you have is team work and coordination and resolving impediments. When the Scrum master is a techie he will be very efficient in conducting the scrum stand up meetings in the morning and resolving technical impediments for the team members to sign in for respective tasks. But still if the scrum master is none technical.. its team work.. get the techies to help you in all the aspects…

4. Sometimes I see many think that you don’t have to commit on a release date in scrum. No.. in real world it doesn’t happen like that. There is always a tentative date.. But what happens is that based on the changes to the PB, your time expansions or reductions become much more visible to the product owner. Therefore there will be lesser problems to convince on expanded time lines

5. How do we do the DB design , Architecture UI themes etc? Part by part for each delivery? No what best I have experienced is that have a pre sprint on those high level tasks which you need to perform for the whole project at once. But minimize them and have only the vital ones.

6. How do we use Scrum for research projects? – I think it’s the ideal. Very uncertain type of work.. Scrum works fine !

7. Do we still have to do reporting to the management? YeAAS – Recently I read an Article by Mike and he suggest to continue the same type of reporting as much as possible till Agile thinking mature in the organization.

8. Is Gantt charts needed.. For me the answer is “NO” but again Ive seen many agile gurus have mentioned that .. use it as a communication tool if really needed by someone.. But personally I don’t like Gantt charts..

9. Is MS Project needed for Scrum : NOOOOO

10. How about the WBS ? I say keep it as the component diagram for the project.. this has many advantages over disadvantages.

11. How long a waterfall team will take to convert to a scrum team: My experience is 2 days most the time.

12. Is planning Poker a must? Nope Nope.. But when you don’t play cards some team members start to play ;-) specially in SL context not all team members talk. Planning poker help to define your ideas and stand by it ., then there will be so much valuable points coming from the team about a particular user story. I find it helpful.

13. Do you only assign the weight to a task in the sprint? No for me number of hours at this point is also important.. the secret is not more than 16 hours per task.

14. Can you compare velocity of multiple teams to identify team performance? : NO because there is no base for that. Different team may assess weight to similar tasks differently.

15. How do you practice scrum in outsourced Projects? A million dollar question. But still possible.. there are many tools which may help with customer communication when it comes to product backlog and sprint backlog. The secret is ask the product backlog in advance.. so you can be well prepared..

16. Will the PO always write user stories?.. Hmm…….. :)Somebody has to do all the work sometimes…

17. One tip I would give is that when playing planning poker.. get the moderator to write notes about the requirements elaborated by the PO and the team. Recording the conversation is really a good idea.



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