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RE: [XP] XPlanner...Does anyone have experience with it?

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  • Steven Ropa
    Ilja, I know we ve gone our rounds on the question of tools before, but I really wanted to share a story with you. When last we corresponded, I had told you
    Message 1 of 121 , May 1, 2006
      Ilja,

      I know we've gone our rounds on the question of tools before, but I
      really wanted to share a story with you. When last we corresponded, I
      had told you that I use the wall of cards in conjunction with Version
      One. I found the cards to be fantastic for the collocated part of the
      team, and V1 supported the distributed team.

      Then, an interesting thing happened. All of a sudden, I found that the
      Product Management side was really ticked off at me. After a lot of
      investigation, I discovered, and I am not making this up, that the thing
      that they were upset about was this wall of index cards! They felt that
      the cards were unprofessional, and had complained to my VP that it was
      wrong for a technology company to use something as low tech as index
      cards. My VP and I decided that of all the battles to fight, index
      cards just weren't that high on the list.

      I don't know that there's any lesson to be drawn from this, but I do
      miss my index cards.


      Steve

      >-----Original Message-----
      >From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      >[mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ilja Preuss
      >Sent: Thursday, April 20, 2006 7:34 AM
      >To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: RE: [XP] XPlanner...Does anyone have experience with it?
      >
      >> Because we are looking at picking it up for tracking some of our
      >> teams' development...along with scrum.
      >
      >Are your teams colocated? Then I'd *highly* recommend using a
      >"wall of cards" instead of a software tool. And I'm very, very
      >serious about this.
      >
      >Cheers, Ilja
      >
      >
      >
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    • Ilja Preuss
      ... Steve, you continue to say that as if it were a major disadvantage. Do you feel that way? ... We also report at the story level. I have written a small,
      Message 121 of 121 , May 15, 2006
        > Our distances from the board were about the same as yours. Even at
        > 5 feet cards start to be a bit hard to read unless you write the
        > story title so that the letters are relatively large. However, any
        > further details (other than the colored dots) were practically
        > inaccessible even at about that distance. At 20 feet, the
        > pattern of colored dots were the primary information.

        Steve, you continue to say that as if it were a major disadvantage. Do you
        feel that way?


        > We never used cards for reporting. We also copied some of
        > the card data to a spreadsheet. However, we provided
        > reporting visibility at the story level. The data copying
        > was a nontrivial activity. After moving the XPlanner, we
        > didn't have this duplication and the metrics and charts
        > were generated automatically (and after every change in
        > progress during an iteration).

        We also report at the story level. I have written a small, custom CSV export
        for Xplanner to support it (management uses a spreadsheet for further
        processing).

        I also update a burn up chart daily. We discussed automating that, too, but
        I find that doing it manually has enough advantages that automation wouldn't
        be a good idea.


        > I don't know if this is significant, but we didn't have
        > a conventional manager. The team was self-managed
        > and reported directly to the CTO who was more interested
        > in technologies and product features than management per
        > se. He was interested in progress relative to the plan,
        > but the development team was just as interested (if not
        > more so) and was the primary user of the plan status.

        We do have a manager, but the team becomes more and more self-managing.
        Currently, management is responsible for release planning, but iteration
        planning is under full control of the developers. So we are very interested
        in plan status, too.


        > At this point, I think they are
        > both legitimate forms of planning support tools and it's
        > better to understand in what situations each is used most
        > beneficially.

        It's hard to disagree with that last sentence... :)

        On the other hand, I think it's hard to really grok the advantages of cards
        until you have experienced them. As far as I can tell, most people don't
        have. That's where my desire is coming from to nudge them to try cards.

        Cheers, Ilja
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