Time box scheduling

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One notion of agile development and "NoEstimates is "we know the budget and we know the period of performance, so we're done. Not quite, you need to know your capacity for work and the work demand to see if it fits in the "time box." Both those needs estimates.

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Time box scheduling

  1. 1. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 Time Box Scheduling Technology is not the strongest driver of productivity for a software project.
  2. 2. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 If Technology Isn’t, Then what is? ♦  The length of a project is the single most important factor influencing productivity. ♦  Short projects with smaller teams are more productive than longer projects with larger teams. ♦  This is a “simple” concept, but it is also complex since time boxing requires: –  Commitment from all participants –  Rethinking the traditional management engagement process. –  Strict control over the inclusion of requirements in each cycle.
  3. 3. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 Components of Time Box Scheduling ♦  User Involvement ♦  Senior Management Agreement ♦  Business Objectives ♦  Project Empowerment ♦  Scheduling ♦  Backing Out Changes ♦  Testing
  4. 4. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 User Involvement ♦  Users must agree with the approach and be involved through at all times. ♦  Users must acknowledge that priorities must be set and observed. ♦  This is a departure from the normal “analysis and design” processes. ♦  Schedule comes first, features come second. ♦  Priorities for managing “requirements in the box” –  Essential requirements –  Required but could be in the future –  Include only if effort is available –  Specifically not included
  5. 5. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 Senior Management Agreement ♦  Senior management must agree on the time box approach ♦  They must resist any attempts to break the time box ♦  With only a few exceptions, 6 months is a maximum duration for a time box project ♦  Staying with the time box is a matter of resolve by all the participants
  6. 6. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 Business Objectives ♦  Focus on key business objectives –  Critical success factors can be used to define these objectives –  Iterative deliverables can verify that value is being produced ♦  “Business needs” are the goal, not how they are met –  Delivery of value needs to be controlled by architecture –  If the delivered component fits the architecture, its internals are subject to local optimizaiton ♦  Nothing requires a specific technology or toolset, provided the requirements are focused on the business needs
  7. 7. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 Project Empowerment ♦  Teams make better decisions than individuals. But teams must : –  Be dedicated to rapid decision making –  Be accountable to their clients –  Not use the consensus process as an excuse for inaction ♦  The team must be allowed to make decisions in order to maintain the schedule ♦  Project sponsor must be available at all times. They must be: –  Capable –  Involved –  Responsible –  Decisive ♦  Make decisions within the framework of the business objectives, supported by the architecture
  8. 8. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 Scheduling ♦  It’s easier to estimate how much work can be done in a fixed amount of time, than how much time it will take to do a fixed amount of work ♦  Time boxing restricts “scope creep” ♦  The focus on deadlines allows resources to be added at the end and still maintain the schedule ♦  Experience says “time lost can NEVER be made up”
  9. 9. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 Backing Out Changes ♦  Features that are not feasible or break the time box must be removed ♦  Good configuration management is essential –  Undoing a feature should be a matter of regressing the configuration –  Continuous testing (test first development) allows regressions to take place in a seamless manner
  10. 10. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 Testing ♦  Continuous integration and testing is essential for staying on schedule ♦  In phased–based system only unit tests can be performed before the system is assembled –  These interfaces tests form the basis of time boxing the delivery. –  The system runs the unit tests at all times
  11. 11. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 Win / Win ♦  Core Requirements ♦  Commitment ♦  Resources
  12. 12. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 Core Requirements ♦  Ensures that only key requirements are developed –  The duration is fixed –  The features can come or go ♦  “Nice to haves” are deferred to the next release cycle.
  13. 13. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 Commitment ♦  Over time enthusiasm diminishes –  Staying on schedule requires constant vigilance ♦  Once important items are forgotten all is lost –  Continuous testing against essential deliverables ♦  Six month time boxing maximizes enthusiasm
  14. 14. Glen B. Alleman, Copyright ©, 2002 Resources ♦  Finishing on time, on budget removes the backlog for the next phase ♦  Pressure on the next phase is removed in the beginning of this phase

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