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First pancake theory

April 30th, 2012 parašė Mantvydas Čekutis

Unevenly colored first-batch pancakes are caused by cooking on an improperly heated and oiled griddle, says Jon Liss, the corporate chef for the Original Pancake House Franchising Inc.

CHOW’s Nagging Question column - December 16, 2008

We knew it and we blew it.

For some unknown reason (most probably the main one - only POs were involved) Planning Phase (or pre analysis) wasn’t handled as a Sprint and due to that (or due to other reasons) we encountered quite a few problems.

So if You are only interested how we deal with SCRUM, you can skip this post. But I will try to put some findings I did during first two weeks and maybe they will help You in general.

The background

We planned 2 weeks period to have workshops with the client. The idea was to get familiar with their processes and high level requirements, map it into User Stories and create Product Backlog to be able to proceed with first Sprint.

So how I saw it in my head: First week will be full of workshops and User Stories will be created and the second week will be for estimating and planning + having few short meetings to prepare detailed User Stories for first sprint and answer questions that will appear.

Sad Burnt Pancake

Problems

Multitasking, Multitasking, Multitasking…

Most of people understand multitasking as working on a few different not related tasks at the same time. Of course that stays unchanged (in case You thought I am planning to deny it), but I have discovered another type of multitasking. Well, ok - can’t say that I discovered it, as I kind of knew it and it’s widely known by Agile community. Just I had a chance to feel it on myself: do not start another task while the current one you are work on is not finished. Ok, I know what will You say and I am not in the position to argue with your mind. But at least do not have it as a habit. This habit is very harmful. You ask WHY? The answer is simple.
As a manager I knew what topics my teams have covered during the workshops, but I had no clue how far they are in discussion and due to that I had no clue what current status is… And I will tell You, I hate it badly. So that’s actually the biggest lesson I wrote down into my log: have as little open tasks as possible. On top of that, it could have helped me to prevent the second problem as well

Communication

Another thing I have learned: do not assume that everybody reads your mind as in most cases it can turn against you. As I have mentioned, I planned that first week will be for major workshops and writing user stories and the second one will be for planning and additional required information gathering.
After first week when I finally started to talk to my team regarding what we have and where we are I found out that people are still planning meetings to discuss different topics. And in the end, on Friday, I missed the information required to prepare a report that had to be provided to the client on Monday. Nothing new You will say? I would say that it was simply pure planning due to my assumptions that the team will know what I want + of course multitasking story.

So maybe the first pancake wasn’t the best one, but it wasn’t totally burned. We ate it and already started our first sprint and that’s about what I will be talking in my next post. Stay tuned!

Rodyk draugams

Tommorow - KICK OFF

April 1st, 2012 parašė Mantvydas Čekutis

So, tomorrow is the day when we are kicking off the Project. I hope that I will keep to my promise which I made to myself - to blog as much as I can.

As the team is mixed and not everybody was fully familiar with SCRUM, just before the project we had a 2 days Agile and SCRUM training to get everyone on track. It was great not only for those who had no experience, but also for people who already tried SCRUM. Great presentation, exercises and discussions helped us to build a team that is ready to step into the project and take the challenge.

I more than recommend organizing the same thing in Your company just before the KICK OFF of new project like this. Thank You Vaidas.

Rodyk draugams

Lets get this party started

February 1st, 2012 parašė Mantvydas Čekutis

More than a year ago a company I am working in decided to dive in Agile methodology. Since then we invested quite some time in familiarizing ourselves with what Agile is and how can it help us to improve our projects delivery and make us more attractive to our customers and maybe even employees.
Besides reading books and loads of articles in the internet we also participated in Agile conferences (for now, only as guests), had a department day dedicated to an Agile methodology with external key note speaker (thank You Vaidas!) and on top of that conducted a few small projects based on Scrum (including offshore tasks, internal projects and some small customer requests). By saying small, I have in mind, that scope was <1000 man days.

And finally we are preparing for a new project that will run on Scrum. It’s a system implementation project and currently we plan to have two scrum teams of 7-8 people each and me nearby in a role of… hell knows. You can call me Scrum Master of Scrum Masters or a Scrum Coach (I would be proud to be called like that, but I don’t feel like having enough competence to carry one of the names), Project Manager (at least I have a few certificates to prove that) or in the name of some nonexistent mystical creature. But in general, my main concern is to MAKE IT WORK!
But let’s get back to the topic. Why have I started this blog? Well the main idea is to have a place, where I will be able to share with You main project problems when I will be totally lost and screwed. On the other hand, I believe that all this knowledge will be valuable for someone else, who will be doing his first Scrum project in parallel with us or even after some time when everything will be finished.
So please stay tuned as more posts are coming. And thank You for Your TIME!

Rodyk draugams