Dead Zone (updated version with Sprint Zero section)

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Common Scrum practices offer various instruments for team work visualization: product/sprint backlog, daily standups, burndown/burnup charts. However, this tool set is rarely found sufficient for large project teams which are distributed between different locations and suffering time zones difference.

How to understand whether backlog items prioritized correctly? Do teams understand priorities for next sprint and release? Are user stories refined enough for development? Many of these questions are often found in a "dead zone" which causes a lot of trouble with scaling. On top of that, many distributed teams often suffer from gaps in communication with business stakeholders.

In this presentation I review a couple of practices for backlog structuring and visualization, using product discovery techniques for building shared understanding between all parts of distributed team, bottleneck identification and elimination, definitions of "done" for backlog items refinement process.

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Dead Zone (updated version with Sprint Zero section)

  1. 1. Dead Zone Streamlining requirements flow in distributed projects Luxoft 3 October 2013 Sergey Prokhorenko
  2. 2. Agile at Luxoft Experience       Since 2005 15+ customers 50+ ongoing projects 700+ Agile practitioners 100+ Certified Scrum Masters 15+ internal Agile Coaches Agile Practice DEDICATED CoE START NEW AGILE ENGAGEMENTS TRANSITION EXISTING TO AGILE PERFORMANCE BOOSTS BOTH LUXOFT AND CLIENT TEAMS 4 February 2014 2
  3. 3. Agile as a Silver Bullet Agile provides Business value driven prioritization Pay for DONE Change without penalty Client is in full control of the project 4 February 2014 Client problem vs vs Sometimes 16% Always late with the things we really need Paying for the wrong things Actual use of requested features vs Too expensive to make even little changes vs Often 13% Always 7% Rarely 19% Never 45% Difficult to understand where we are right now Source: The CHAOS Manifesto, The Standish Group, 2011 3
  4. 4. Simple Rulebook 289 pages vs 16 pages Product Owner Scrum Master Team SM PO Daily Scrum 15 min Sprint Planning Part 1 (What?) 2-4 h Product Backlog (Features) Sprint Planning Part 2 (How?) 2-4 h 1 Day Sprint Review 2-4 h 2-4 weeks Sprint Sprint Backlog (Tasks) Product Backlog Refinement 5-10% of Sprint Sprint Retrospective 1,5-3 h Potentially Shippable Product Increment 4
  5. 5. Not Every Rule is Easy to Follow 5
  6. 6. PO in a “Land of Milk and Honey”  Responsible for maximizing the value of the product and the work of the Development Team  Sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog – – – Power Expertise Dedication  Does Sprint Planning and PBR with the Development Team  Tracks total work remaining at least every Sprint Review 6
  7. 7. “Wake Up, Neo” 7
  8. 8. ScrumButt 8
  9. 9. Process Becomes Cargo Cult 9
  10. 10. How Did We End Up Like This? Product Owner Scrum Master Team SM PO Daily Scrum 15 min Sprint Planning Part 1 (What?) 2-4 h Sprint Planning Part 2 (How?) 2-4 h Product Backlog (Features) 1 Day 2-4 weeks Sprint Sprint Backlog (Tasks) Product Backlog Refinement 5-10% of Sprint New stories (no time to PBR!) No sprint commitment! Sprint Retrospective 1,5-3 h Potentially Shippable Product Increment Team Product Owner PO Sprint Review 2-4 h Scrum Master SM L Daily Scrum 15 min Sprint Planning Part 1 (What?) 2-4 h Product Backlog (Features) Sprint Planning Part 2 (How?) 2-4 h 1 Day Sprint Review 2-4 h 2-4 weeks Sprint Sprint Backlog (Tasks) Product Backlog Refinement 5-10% of Sprint Sprint Retrospective 1,5-3 h Potentially Shippable Product Increment 10
  11. 11. Sprint-Level Visualization 11
  12. 12. 12
  13. 13. Dead Zone Management Developers  Are we on track to deliver release scope on time?  What is the goal of current release?  When release epics will be ready and what is the current status?  Are we on track to deliver it on time?   What are other teams doing?  Does PO or BA have enough requirements?  What are PO (BA, pPO) doing? Do they have any blockers?  How many stories are ready for the next sprint?  Are we ready for the next release planning? Are there any dependencies on a project level? 13
  14. 14. Interactions and People 14
  15. 15. Divide and Conquer If you don’t live in a “Land of Milk and Honey” – THAT’S OK! 15
  16. 16. Clear Roles and Responsibilities Expertise Communication Prioritization 16
  17. 17. Processes and Tools 17
  18. 18. Kanban at Project (Program) Level 4 February 2014 18
  19. 19. High-level Flow Request from stakeholders Backlog prioritization Backlog refinement Ready for development Sprint Ready for release 19
  20. 20. 20
  21. 21. Value Stream Mapping Request from business sponsors Program initiation Project chartering Epics breakdown User story drafting User story grooming Ready for sprint In development Ready for demo Ready for UAT In UAT Ready for release 21
  22. 22. DoD Agreements (Analysis Phases) Program initiation • PID is shared with BAs • Project charter is drafted and shared with business sponsors and BAs Project chartering • Charter is approved by business sponsors • Final charter is reviewed with BAs in a meeting Epics breakdown • Charter breakdown into epics is approved by PO • All epics are described in Confluence with: • Business context • Problem statement • High-level acceptance criteria • All epics are presented to the team(s) • Epics are included into backlog and prioritized • Business contacts identified User story drafting • User story is wellanalyzed by BA and conform to INVEST criteria • Detailed BDD scenarios are created • Mockups are created (where applicable) • Data requirements specified (if any) • Business logic is specified (if any) • US reviewed with business SME • Acceptance criteria are reviewed by business SME • US is prioritized in backlog and priority approved by PO User story grooming • Team reviewed and agreed that US conforms to INVEST criteria • BDD acceptance scenarios are well understood by team and approved by business • All research spikes identified and completed • US breakdown is approved by team (and re-approved by business if any changes) • Business contacts are shared with the team • Design is approved DoD for last analysis phase = DoR for sprint 4 February 2014 22
  23. 23. Limit WIP 23
  24. 24. Backlog Grooming Ground Rules Regular • At least once a week, scheduled with PO • Started upfront (at least a week before planning) Timeboxed • 15-20 min per story • If timebox isn’t enough – go offline and prepare for the next session Includes whole team • All team members ask questions upfront • Team members (not only PO/pPO) describe story value and scenarios Strict DoD • If artifact doesn’t follow agreed DoD it isn’t moved to the next phase 4 February 2014 24
  25. 25. Effective Collaboration Cross-functional teams Single Product Owner  Feature Team US 2 Scrum of Scrums   Scrum of Scrums    Feature Team US 1 Joint release planning Single backlog with unified estimates Proxy Product Owners for each location Feature Team UA 2 Feature Team UA 1 25
  26. 26. Creating Backlog 26
  27. 27. Product Vision and Goals    Tell me why Long term goals Shared understanding of business 27
  28. 28. Story Mapping    High level features Ordered from user perspective Marked with skills needed to build    Actual actions performed Forming workflows Prioritizing by business value 28
  29. 29. Initial Backlog 29
  30. 30. Understanding Story Points 30
  31. 31. Working Agreements      Definition of Done Definition of Ready WIP limits Working schedule Everything else 31
  32. 32. What’s Next? 32
  33. 33. Big Picture 33
  34. 34. Anything Depends on Everything vs 34
  35. 35. Inspect and Adapt! 35
  36. 36. Suggested Reading 36
  37. 37. Your QR Code Luxoft 3 October 2013 Sergey Prokhorenko sprokhorenko@luxoft.com ua.linkedin.com/in/sergeyprokhorenko

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