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Re: [XP] Project Planning and Tracking Tools

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  • Mark the Shark
    We ve installed XPlanner and are using it now, looks pretty good so far. We re using FDD (mainly) as the approach and are hoping to extend XPlanner to give the
    Message 1 of 22 , Jun 1, 2006
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      We've installed XPlanner and are using it now, looks pretty good so
      far. We're using FDD (mainly) as the approach and are hoping to extend
      XPlanner to give the standard tasks for a feature rather than entering
      it by hand each time.

      I'll put a post on about that

      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "SherlockSridhar"
      <sherlocksridhar@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Mark,
      >
      > XPlanner is a good tool to begin executing XP. Its fairly lightweight
      > and you can easily use a subset of its features.
      >
      > Regards
      > Sherlocksridhar
      >
      >
      > On Sat, 27 May 2006 16:23:24 -0400, "Dave Rooney"
      > <dave.rooney@...> said:
      > > Mark the Shark wrote:
      > > > Hi guys,
      > > >
      > > > I'm a PM who's used just getting into Agile projects. Can anyone
      > > > recommend the best tool for both planning and tracking progress
      > > > against Agile projects. I'm looking at using a mix of FDD and XP for
      > > > the delivery. The tools I've looked at so far do tracking quite well
      > > > but assume I've done planning (eg. length of time for developing
      each
      > > > Feature) somewhere else first. Is there anything that will cover
      > > > tracking and planning?
      > > >
      > > > Thanks in advance.
      > > >
      > > > Mark
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > > Hello Mark,
      > >
      > > Welcome to the Agile world!
      > >
      > > I realize that it's tough to let go of traditional PM tools, but
      this is
      > > likely a case where you would want to. One of the best bits of
      advice
      > > that I've seen is to start with nothing and only add a tool or
      practice
      > > when its need is readily apparent. At that time, add the simplest
      > > possible tool for the job.
      > >
      > > So with that in mind, my advice to you would be to get as many of the
      > > people involved in the project to work in a single area or room.
      Put as
      > > many whiteboards as possible on the walls. Get a few packages of
      index
      > > cards from your local stationary store. Have the people who are the
      > > product's Customer talk about what the product is supposed to do.
      Write
      > > down a sentence or two about each individual Story on a card,
      focusing
      > > solely on business details and not technical ones. Don't worry about
      > > "getting the Stories right", because you simply won't. The intent at
      > > that point is to get enough information to figure out if the
      product is
      > > an ant, a mouse, an elephant or a blue whale. The cards can then be
      > > used to physically gauge the size of the project.
      > >
      > > That's a relatively simple view of it, because even the process of
      > > defining the Stories is iterative in nature. However, it's based on
      > > communication between all people involved, ideally face to face.
      > >
      > > Someone mentioned VersionOne as a possible tool. I've had a look
      at it
      > > before, and it is indeed quite good. Where I see the need for a tool
      > > like that, though, is when you start dealing with multiple
      applications
      > > and possibly multiple teams. Until that time, like I said, start
      low or
      > > no-tech and only add tools when you're feeling enough pain.
      > >
      > > If you haven't already done so, I would highly recommend that you
      engage
      > > the services of an experienced agile coach to guide your team through
      > > the initial stages of adopting an agile methodology. An experienced
      > > person would help you considerably in avoiding many pitfalls that can
      > > beset teams early on. I think there are a few here on this list. ;)
      > >
      > > Dave Rooney
      > > Mayford Technologies
      > > http://www.mayford.ca
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
      > >
      > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
      > > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
      > >
      > > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
      > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      > -----------------------------
      > "A lot of preconceptions can be avoided by simply trying them out" -
      Bruce Eckel
      >
      > --
      > http://www.fastmail.fm - Does exactly what it says on the tin
      >
    • Ilja Preuss
      ... I wholeheartedly disagree. It s not that it s a bad tool, or a heavyweight tool. It s just that by using a software tool, you will never learn about the
      Message 2 of 22 , Jun 7, 2006
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        > XPlanner is a good tool to begin executing XP. Its fairly
        > lightweight and you can easily use a subset of its features.

        I wholeheartedly disagree. It's not that it's a bad tool, or a heavyweight
        tool. It's just that by using a software tool, you will never learn about
        the many subtle benefits of working with index cards.

        It might be a good tool to migrate to, under some circumstances. A good tool
        for someone new to XP to learn about how to implement "people and their
        interactions over processes and tools" - I don't think so at all.

        No hard feelings,

        Ilja

        --
        "Information Radiation in Practice -
        Communication Tools for Colocated Teams"

        Tutorial at the XP2006 conference, Oulu
        www.xp2006.org
        17.06.2006
      • Ilja Preuss
        ... That s one of the effects. Others include - collaboration is very easy (handing around cards, writing cards concurrently etc.) - organizing cards (such as
        Message 3 of 22 , Jun 7, 2006
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          > But it's worth asking, what do we lose by
          > not using real cardboard? Gathering round index cards forces people
          > to communicate, and that's really the bottom line.

          That's one of the effects. Others include

          - collaboration is very easy (handing around cards, writing cards
          concurrently etc.)

          - organizing cards (such as rearranging them) is easy and unrestricted

          - huge working areas with incredible resolution available, without any needs
          for scrolling

          - very natural and intuitive interface (even for things such as zooming...
          ;))

          - makes stories tangible

          Cheers, Ilja
        • Steven Ropa
          Ok Ilja, don t have a heart attack, but I agree with you 100%. Don t start with a tool. Start with index cards. If your situation then requires a tool, I
          Message 4 of 22 , Jun 7, 2006
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            Ok Ilja, don't have a heart attack, but I agree with you 100%. Don't
            start with a tool. Start with index cards. If your situation then
            requires a tool, I personally prefer Version One, but I hear a lot of
            good things about XPlanner also.

            But if you start with a tool, it will end up driving your process,
            rather than supporting it.

            Steve



            _____

            From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
            [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ilja Preuss
            Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 9:10 AM
            To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [XP] Project Planning and Tracking Tools



            > XPlanner is a good tool to begin executing XP. Its fairly
            > lightweight and you can easily use a subset of its features.

            I wholeheartedly disagree. It's not that it's a bad tool, or a
            heavyweight
            tool. It's just that by using a software tool, you will never
            learn about
            the many subtle benefits of working with index cards.

            It might be a good tool to migrate to, under some circumstances.
            A good tool
            for someone new to XP to learn about how to implement "people
            and their
            interactions over processes and tools" - I don't think so at
            all.

            No hard feelings,

            Ilja

            --
            "Information Radiation in Practice -
            Communication Tools for Colocated Teams"

            Tutorial at the XP2006 conference, Oulu
            www.xp2006.org
            17.06.2006







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Ilja Preuss
            ... Thanks for the warning! :D Regards, Ilja
            Message 5 of 22 , Jun 8, 2006
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              > Ok Ilja, don't have a heart attack, but I agree with you 100%.

              Thanks for the warning! :D

              Regards, Ilja
            • Cory Foy
              ... I agree with you Ilja. When we first started our new group, we were given instructions to be a cornerstone for setting new ways. So we threw out XPlanner
              Message 6 of 22 , Jun 8, 2006
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                Ilja Preuss wrote:
                > It might be a good tool to migrate to, under some circumstances. A good tool
                > for someone new to XP to learn about how to implement "people and their
                > interactions over processes and tools" - I don't think so at all.

                I agree with you Ilja. When we first started our new group, we were
                given instructions to be a cornerstone for setting new ways. So we threw
                out XPlanner and Excel, and went back to index cards. Once we got that
                down, then we switched to using ProjectCards.

                We still do our story planning sessions with real cards, on site, but I
                know that doesn't work for every team.

                And XPlanner is fine - until you have to reorganize the cards, rebalance
                your iterations, etc.

                --
                Cory Foy
                http://www.cornetdesign.com
              • Michael Dubakov
                I know there were many advices already. You don t have to have complex tool to start with XP. I won t recommend any of them. To feel XP, start with
                Message 7 of 22 , Jun 10, 2006
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                  I know there were many advices already.
                  You don't have to have complex tool to start with XP. I won't
                  recommend any of them. To 'feel' XP, start with dashboards, index
                  cards and so on. However, you may need Agile PM tool in several cases:
                  1. Team is remote, for example, developers and QA located at different
                  places
                  2. Project is quite large
                  3. You know XP pretty well and want to improve your development
                  process based on several metrics that hard to gather manually.

                  In case you still need online APM tool, you may take a look at
                  TargetProcess (http://www.targetprocess.com
                  <http://www.targetprocess.com> ).
                  It is comparable with VersionOne, but have own strengths.

                  Michael Dubakov,
                  TargetProcess Team
                  http://www.targetprocess.com/blog <http://www.targetprocess.com/blog>

                  --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Mark the Shark"
                  <markyboyuk@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi guys,
                  >
                  > I'm a PM who's used just getting into Agile projects. Can anyone
                  > recommend the best tool for both planning and tracking progress
                  > against Agile projects. I'm looking at using a mix of FDD and XP for
                  > the delivery. The tools I've looked at so far do tracking quite well
                  > but assume I've done planning (eg. length of time for developing each
                  > Feature) somewhere else first. Is there anything that will cover
                  > tracking and planning?
                  >
                  > Thanks in advance.
                  >
                  > Mark
                  >



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Ilja Preuss
                  ... That sounds interesting. What kind of metrics could that be? Curious, Ilja
                  Message 8 of 22 , Jun 11, 2006
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                    > However, you may need Agile PM tool in several cases:

                    > 3. You know XP pretty well and want to improve your development
                    > process based on several metrics that hard to gather manually.

                    That sounds interesting. What kind of metrics could that be?

                    Curious, Ilja
                  • Michael Dubakov
                    ... For example: 1. Estimates accuracy 2. Bug fixing velocity 3. Acceptance tests run over all builds stats 4. # of bugs for each user story 5. etc. Michael
                    Message 9 of 22 , Jun 13, 2006
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                      > That sounds interesting. What kind of metrics could that be?

                      For example:
                      1. Estimates accuracy
                      2. Bug fixing velocity
                      3. Acceptance tests run over all builds stats
                      4. # of bugs for each user story
                      5. etc.

                      Michael
                      http://www.targetprocess.com

                      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Ilja Preuss" <preuss@...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      > > However, you may need Agile PM tool in several cases:
                      >
                      > > 3. You know XP pretty well and want to improve your development
                      > > process based on several metrics that hard to gather manually.
                      >
                      > That sounds interesting. What kind of metrics could that be?
                      >
                      > Curious, Ilja
                      >
                    • Ilja Preuss
                      ... I m not sure I fully understand 3, though I could imagine that something like an build machine with automated reporting might come handy here. For the
                      Message 10 of 22 , Jun 14, 2006
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                        >>> However, you may need Agile PM tool in several cases:
                        >>
                        >>> 3. You know XP pretty well and want to improve your development
                        >>> process based on several metrics that hard to gather manually.

                        >> That sounds interesting. What kind of metrics could that be?
                        >
                        > For example:
                        > 1. Estimates accuracy
                        > 2. Bug fixing velocity
                        > 3. Acceptance tests run over all builds stats
                        > 4. # of bugs for each user story
                        > 5. etc.

                        I'm not sure I fully understand 3, though I could imagine that something
                        like an build machine with automated reporting might come handy here.

                        For the rest, it isn't obvious to me that those metrics are inherently hard
                        enough to measure at an accuracy we need for process improvement, that we'd
                        need an electronic tool.

                        Take estimates accuracy, for example: What would a tool give us that weekly
                        reflection based on notes on the story cards couldn't?

                        Curious, Ilja
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