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

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  • Ian Collins
    ... On my last project the product manager was unsure about the cards, so we put him in charge of them. He wrote them and kept the yet to be done cards.
    Message 1 of 121 , May 1, 2006
      Steven Ropa wrote:

      >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.
      >
      >
      >
      On my last project the product manager was unsure about the cards, so we
      put him in charge of them. He wrote them and kept the yet to be done
      cards. After we had completed a story, we gave the card back to him.

      It wasn't long before he appreciated their value and when the first bach
      ran out, we went to the store and paid for the next batch wit his own
      money. I'm sure he realised the value of something he could spread out
      on a table, shuffle and use to plan the next deliverable.

      Ian
    • 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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