Project Management

Scrum

Scrum Terminology

Scrum Team consists of:

  • Product Owner - defines the product
  • Scrum Master - keeps the project on track and removed roadblocks
  • Development Team - implements the product

Product Backlog: an ordered list of the work to be done (stories) in order to create, maintain and sustain a product. Managed by the Product Owner. Stories are actionable, well defined and measurable. All development work can and should be represented in stories.

A story is either in the product backlog, under development, or has been release to production.

Sprints

A 2 (or 4) week timeframe where product backlog items are delivered. At the beginning of a Sprint the Scrum Team meets to decide on the list of product backlog items that will be worked out.

Once a Sprint is started, no items can be added or removed from that Sprint.

Small batch sizes are preferred over large batches.

Points and Velocity

Each product backlog item will be estimated relative to other items. This is since relative time estimation is more accurate than absolute estimation. Estimation is done as a unitless quantity called ‘points’. Over time the team will establish their velocity (points per unit of time).

Points are estimated using ‘planning poker’ where the values are from the Fibonacci sequence, i.e. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21. For each development item, each member of the team independently estimates the points for that item. They then simultaneously reveal their estimates. Significant outliers are discussed and revotes are cast. When the discussion is over the votes are averaged for the estimate for that item.

Initially some level-setting will be required so that everyone has a good idea of what each point is ‘worth’. i.e. indentify a big project, and have the group ‘assign’ as a 21.

Daily Standup

Each day, at the same time, the team will meet for 15 minutes (or less). Each developer will list:

  • what they did since the last standup
  • what they are going to do today
  • what impediments they have

Impediments are often not solved in the meeting. Rather, an owner is assigned (as appropriate) and they are addressed after the standup.

Burndown

A burndown chart is created at the beginning of a Sprint that is the sum of all the points of all the items for that Sprint. As development items are completed (transition to Done) they are reflected (subtracted) in the burndown chart. The goal is to burn down to zero on or before the end of the Sprint.

Unplanned Work

There will be unplanned work. This however will be tracked and reviewed in the Sprint retrospective. The goal is to have little to no unplanned work. This is achievable with good stories.

Sprint Retrospective and Planning

At the end of a Sprint, a project retrospective and planning will take place. It identifies issues and opportunities, as well as the items to be worked on for the next Sprint.

Visibility

All team members and management have access to Scrum data - the product backlog, current Sprint items, burndown, etc.

Tools

Jira, etc.

Strategic Long Range Planning

Strategic Long Range Plans (SLRP) looks out 2 years and identifies the desired business outcomes. Even though SLRP is a multi-year plan, it is refreshed every 6 months. SLRP feeds the product backlog.