Agility with uncertain tasks


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Presented at Agile Portugal, June 26th 2010 at Porto. See

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Agility with uncertain tasks

  1. 1. Agility with uncertain tasks Joaquim Baptista Director, Technical Documentation @pxquim ©1993-2010 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. Small team rediscovers agile Inspiration for uScrum (uncertainty scrum):  Classify tasks by order of ignorance.  Manage efforts instead of tasks.  Over-commit, delegate micro-management to writers. Home-brew method created out of need:  Team of 3, down from 8.  Half manager, half writer, half everything else.  Desire to limit “management interruptions”.  Yearly team meeting for introspection.  Rationalized for SIGDOC’08 in Lisbon. ©1993-2010 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 2
  3. 3. Altitude Software Altitude Software sells software for contact centers:  Product.  Setup services.  Customization. Employees:  150 in Lisbon (including R&D).  150 worldwide. ©1993-2010 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 3
  4. 4. Team evolution and uScrum 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Joaquim Derek Ouweiz Célia Leontina António Agile Anna Marie Mário Paula Training Soledade Pedro Paulo Wiki Alexandre Rui XML DITA Anabela Samuel Localization SIGDOC’08 Patrícia ©1993-2010 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 4
  5. 5. Writing, metrics, orders of ignorance Writing requires (lots of) learning:  70% Learn and organize info.  10% Write first draft.  20% Revise to final.  Metrics since 2000. Puzzling: Estimates either good or completely off the mark! Philip Armour, “The laws of software process”, CACM Jan-2001:  0oi: Everything is known.  1oi: Gather information for known output.  2oi: Follow process to determine output.  3oi: Hard problem, not sure how to proceed (no process). ©1993-2010 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 5
  6. 6. uScrum principles Over-commit writers:  Let writers micro-manage their daily work.  Ideal for 1oi tasks. Measure:  Use metrics to figure out where did the time go.  Let writers help each other and do ad hoc work. Inspect and react:  Decide whether to continue tasks after each sprint. ©1993-2010 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 6
  7. 7. uScrum sprint styles Scheduling of simple tasks Scheduling of harder tasks Get things done Just try • Tasks at 0oi,1oi • Break a 2oi task • Many finished at end of sprint Try with fallback Cannot go back • Advance 2oi task • Disruptive • 0oi and 1oi as filler reorganization ©1993-2010 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 7
  8. 8. Scrum and uScrum have different assumptions Assumptions Scrum uScrum Product Top is prioritized and 2oi tasks cannot be estimated. backlog estimated. Sprint goal Demo at sprint review. Results for effort invested. Team Work tightly coordinated Work mostly independent of among members. other writers. Sprint tasks Backlog broken into 4 to 16 What to do is large part, cannot hour tasks in first day. be fully anticipated. Progress Burndown chart. Nothing to count down. Obstacles Scrum master can quickly Some obstacles cannot be remove any obstacle. removed or anticipated. ©1993-2010 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 8
  9. 9. Conclusion: what’s the place of uScrum? Continuum from predictable (waterfall) to unpredictable (chaos). Waterfall Scrum uScrum Chaos Control tasks Control tasks of Control effort Efforts have of project. sprint. Waterfall of sprint. unpredictable for sprints? results. Agility is never “done”:  Method evolves with team and work at hand.  Adapt meetings to needs. Thanks! — @pxquim — ©1993-2010 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 9