Re: I smell a rat! Or is it just stinky cheese?
- William - More great feedback on co-location, sprint cycle, hours, business expectations
and shared team goals/motivation.
Unfortunately our teams are not co-located, we are in 4 different locations. And there is
no actual daily overlap between 2 of those locations, except for sprint planning.
We are on a 2 week sprint cycle, we used to do 1 week sprints which I liked but the devs
felt it required too much work to get build stable, too much time required to prep for the
demo and hence we had loads of hangover. To some degree we have less hangover. And
we have worked hard to get the team to understand the demos need not be so formal, etc.
The devs are working 40 hours if not less. We are a team of outsourced and offshore
partners plus some onshore distributed contractors. I know the contractors have other
clients and am confident this is some of the drain on velocity at times. I have traveled to
work at our offshore partners location and know they keep 40 hours plus time during the
day is playful. I don't think we are overworking them.
Business expectations are probably misaligned. Although after 9 months now with this
team, expectations have been significantly lowered. In my opinion, to the detriment of the
How do others get outsourced, offshore, distributed teams to motivate? I could get better
What is the success rate for a distributed, outsourced team models?
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "faithbolliger.sanfran"
>terms of real time, it's total
> On a side note: I continuously struggle to understand this in
> felt experience for me. Particularly towards the end of therelease when there are scraps
> of work to be done I feel as if our units of measurement areunhelpful. My lead tech will
> talk about the need to give each individual story a measurementeven if it doesn't seem
> worthy of say .5 because the sponsor needs to know there isa "cost".
>Everything that takes time to do, does have a cost. I'm guessing
these things you call "scraps of work" are tasks necessary to
get "release-ready" but maybe task lines are being drawn too finely
in order to have something that looks like a "story." If so, then
perhaps certain things could be grouped together under traditional
PMO-sounding tags so that they have more weight and visibility.
Without hard examples of these things you call "scraps" I'm not sure.
Maybe even some old-fasioned bug logging and tracking would resolve
> This perspective of everything having a cost, feels more like stickthan carrot (value).
>estimates in our planning
> Back to issue at hand: So the dev team collectively throws
> sessions, but as a rule of thumb we take the highest estimate. Ido see devs challenge
> each other occasionally but not often. In cases of one specifictech lead, if this person
> doesn't like a story he will continue to throw high numbers. Ihave noticed a pattern that
> kills further discussion, the dev will say "well it still thinkthere is complexity we aren't
> seeing and therefore I am not comfortable with anything lower thanX pts".
>highest estimate. Do others have this policy?
> I would like to change this rule of thumb that we go with the
>We don't go with the highest estimate. We go with the consensus or
most frequent estimate. That means we have a discussion about the
extremes. Can your tech lead get more specific, in a general way,
about his/her concerns? That is, can they enumerate aspects of the
card and relate them to previous examples or projects where surprises
happened? Perhps a trained facilitator could help with that.
And is it important that they get more specific? What I mean is, if
the track record for every card where they've voted high has
generally proven to have hidden complexity, then as a member of the
team, I am going to stop niggling over every card where this happens
and vote with the expert knowing that in time I'll experience what
he/she suspected and be better able to smell the smells and
articulate the concerns myself.
A lot of times, teams that have been together long function this way
because it's just more efficient to stop talking and start working.
- Hi, Faith. Great questions.
Do you have any data handy? For example, I'd love to see the velocities in each of the iterations for the last release. And maybe the individual story estimates from a typical iteration and one you think was off, like that bit right before release?
Hi William Thanks for your thoughtfulness. You said:
I think the bad estimates should be pretty easy to fix. There I'd use one of the Delphi method variants: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi_method The one I normally use is Planning Poker: http://www.planningpoker.com/detail.html In particular, I'd require that the team come to consensus on an estimate. If after a few rounds they can't, then have them explicitly identify the core of the disagreement, and give them explicit research time to resolve the difference. If everybody has to agree, they'll challenge one another's estimates, and I'm sure you won't be the only one to catch onto this pattern.
We do use planning poker, although the team does not like Fibonacci count and have settled on a system of .5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 On a side note: I continuously struggle to understand this in terms of real time, it's total felt experience for me. Particularly towards the end of the release when there are scraps of work to be done I feel as if our units of measurement are unhelpful. My lead tech will talk about the need to give each individual story a measurement even if it doesn't seem worthy of say .5 because the sponsor needs to know there is a "cost". This perspective of everything having a cost, feels more like stick than carrot (value). Back to issue at hand: So the dev team collectively throws estimates in our planning sessions, but as a rule of thumb we take the highest estimate. I do see devs challenge each other occasionally but not often. In cases of one specific tech lead, if this person doesn't like a story he will continue to throw high numbers. I have noticed a pattern that kills further discussion, the dev will say "well it still think there is complexity we aren't seeing and therefore I am not comfortable with anything lower than X pts". I would like to change this rule of thumb that we go with the highest estimate. Do others have this policy? fb ------------------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Links <*> To visit your group on the web, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/agile-usability/ <*> Your email settings: Individual Email | Traditional <*> To change settings online go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/agile-usability/join (Yahoo! ID required) <*> To change settings via email: mailto:email@example.com mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: email@example.com <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/