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Re: [XP] Prioritizing the backlog.

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  • Ron Jeffries
    Hi John, ... Why would you try? Why not just figure out NOW what the most valuable things to do NOW are, and do them? Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com I have
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 23, 2013
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      Hi John,

      On Jan 23, 2013, at 7:13 PM, John Carter <john.carter@...> wrote:

      > How do you prioritise a list that is longer than anyone can keep in their
      > head, taking into account competing customers and interests?


      Why would you try? Why not just figure out NOW what the most valuable things to do NOW are, and do them?

      Ron Jeffries
      www.XProgramming.com
      I have two cats, and a big house full of cat stuff.
      The cats fight and divide up the house, messing up their own lives.
      Nice work cats.
      Meow.



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Eric Tiongson
      Your cup is full, you need to empty it. ... Do nothing. For several minutes. Clear your head and think. What is it that s really important - today. :-) ...
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 23, 2013
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        Your cup is full, you need to empty it.

        > How do you do it?
        >

        Do nothing.

        For several minutes.

        Clear your head and think.

        What is it that's really important - today. :-)


        On Jan 24, 2013, at 8:13 AM, John Carter <john.carter@...> wrote:

        > So over the years the backlog grows.
        >
        > Defects, enhancements, technical debt, wish lists, good ideas, .....
        >
        > Yes, yes, yes, I know about the planning game.
        >
        > But the fact is it grows, it ages, better ideas come along, really really
        > Good ideas get buried, priorities shift, customers come and go, customers
        > have competing interests and different sized pocket books....
        >
        > The order in which stories are done often influences the total cost.
        >
        > How do you prioritise a list that is longer than anyone can keep in their
        > head, taking into account competing customers and interests?
        >
        > Gotchas I have seen with "The Obvious" approaches are...
        >
        > * Important stuff that is hard to do gets infinitely deferred, because,
        > "not now". And yet, if I look back, we would have gone faster if we bit the
        > bullet years back and did it then.
        > * Important stuff just gets forgotten... because our brains are too full
        > of other "important" stuff.
        > * Minor stuff, but utterly trivial to do gets, infinitely delayed, but
        > again, if we just did it, we would have gone faster.
        > * Stuff that was ranked important... but delayed, remains important even
        > after the need for it has evaporated.
        >
        > All easy problems to solve....
        >
        > ...but become hard when the list is on the wrong side of 500 and the number
        > of customers and interests are on the wrong side of 10.
        >
        > How do you do it?
        >
        > --
        > John Carter Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
        > Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
        > PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email : john.carter@...
        > New Zealand
        >
        > --
        >
        > ------------------------------
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      • Ron Jeffries
        +1 ... Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 23, 2013
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          +1

          On Jan 23, 2013, at 8:17 PM, Eric Tiongson <tiongks@...> wrote:

          > Your cup is full, you need to empty it.


          Ron Jeffries
          www.XProgramming.com
          Everything that needs to be said has already been said.
          But since no one was listening, everything must be said again. -- Andre Gide



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Kevin Trethewey
          In the same position we deleted our backlog and switched to a top 10 (obviously with plenty communication). We felt like a weight was lifted and our customers
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 23, 2013
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            In the same position we deleted our backlog and switched to a top 10 (obviously with plenty communication).

            We felt like a weight was lifted and our customers no longer referred to our backlog as 'the black hole'.

            It means you sometimes have to deliver a difficult message to the stories that can't make the current top 10, but realistically if they can't then its not something we would be likely to be able to get to anyway.

            People take prioritisation a lot more seriously now as well.

            K

            --

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>
            Sender: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2013 20:31:20
            To: <extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com>
            Reply-To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [XP] Prioritizing the backlog.

            +1

            On Jan 23, 2013, at 8:17 PM, Eric Tiongson <tiongks@...> wrote:

            > Your cup is full, you need to empty it.


            Ron Jeffries
            www.XProgramming.com
            Everything that needs to be said has already been said.
            But since no one was listening, everything must be said again. -- Andre Gide



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Alexander Kriegisch
            How about resetting the backlog and creating a new one? Or if it seems to be too extreme even for an Extreme Programmer, kill everyting older than one year or
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 24, 2013
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              How about resetting the backlog and creating a new one?

              Or if it seems to be too extreme even for an Extreme Programmer, kill everyting older than one year or x months. If it is important, it will reappear.

              Question: How can it be that something is really important, but rotting in the backlog for a year or longer? ;-)
              --
              Alexander Kriegisch
              http://scrum-master.de


              Am 24.01.2013 um 01:13 schrieb John Carter <john.carter@...>:

              > So over the years the backlog grows.
              >
              > Defects, enhancements, technical debt, wish lists, good ideas, .....
              >
              > Yes, yes, yes, I know about the planning game.
              >
              > But the fact is it grows, it ages, better ideas come along, really really
              > Good ideas get buried, priorities shift, customers come and go, customers
              > have competing interests and different sized pocket books....
              >
              > The order in which stories are done often influences the total cost.
              >
              > How do you prioritise a list that is longer than anyone can keep in their
              > head, taking into account competing customers and interests?
              >
              > Gotchas I have seen with "The Obvious" approaches are...
              >
              > * Important stuff that is hard to do gets infinitely deferred, because,
              > "not now". And yet, if I look back, we would have gone faster if we bit the
              > bullet years back and did it then.
              > * Important stuff just gets forgotten... because our brains are too full
              > of other "important" stuff.
              > * Minor stuff, but utterly trivial to do gets, infinitely delayed, but
              > again, if we just did it, we would have gone faster.
              > * Stuff that was ranked important... but delayed, remains important even
              > after the need for it has evaporated.
              >
              > All easy problems to solve....
              >
              > ...but become hard when the list is on the wrong side of 500 and the number
              > of customers and interests are on the wrong side of 10.
              >
              > How do you do it?
              >
              > --
              > John Carter Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
              > Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
              > PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email : john.carter@...
              > New Zealand
              >
              > --
              >
              > ------------------------------
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              > immediately and erase all copies of the message and any attachments.
              > Unfortunately, we cannot warrant that the email has not been altered or
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              > damage or interfere with recipient data, hardware or software. The
              > recipient relies upon its own procedures and assumes all risk of use and of
              > opening any attachments.
              > ------------------------------
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
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              >
              >
              >

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Ron Jeffries
              Hi John, ... See also my old article about having no backlog: Petition the King. Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com I know we always like to say it ll be easier
              Message 6 of 12 , Jan 24, 2013
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                Hi John,

                On Jan 23, 2013, at 7:13 PM, John Carter <john.carter@...> wrote:

                > All easy problems to solve....
                >
                > ...but become hard when the list is on the wrong side of 500 and the number
                > of customers and interests are on the wrong side of 10.


                See also my old article about having no backlog: Petition the King.

                Ron Jeffries
                www.XProgramming.com
                I know we always like to say it'll be easier to do it now than it
                will be to do it later. Not likely. I plan to be smarter later than
                I am now, so I think it'll be just as easy later, maybe even easier.
                Why pay now when we can pay later?



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • John Carter
                Yup, been there done that. A couple of gotchas with that approach. 1) The test team tend to get demotivated when they report bugs, and sometime later retest
                Message 7 of 12 , Jan 28, 2013
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                  Yup, been there done that. A couple of gotchas with that approach.

                  1) The test team tend to get demotivated when they report bugs, and
                  sometime later retest and find the bugs is still there and the issue has
                  been Closed No Action.

                  2) Yup, some sort of "Age it out, is it still there? Is it still needed?"
                  process is definitely required. But unfortunately experience shows this
                  isn't an optimal way of doing it. Too much of real value / importance can
                  exist in the "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" corners, until an "Oh shit, we
                  should have remembered that, we deferred it from this release cycle, it got
                  sacrificed in the purge, we forgot it totally, and now we're going
                  ohshitohshitoshit."


                  Question: How can it be that something is really important, but rotting in
                  > the backlog for a year or longer? ;-)

                  Easy.

                  Anytime they say, "We really really need X, but it's really hard, and will
                  bump out W, Y, Z out of this release cycle, which we need almost as much."

                  Do that two or three times, people start to shorthand the logic chain, (X,
                  hard, not this cycle) and boomp! It falls victim to the purge.

                  And a cycle or five later somebody starts screaming "Hey! You could have
                  done X three times over by now! You promised it N years ago! What happened!
                  and then everyone looks shifty and somebody notes it is note even in the
                  backlog.

                  My current approach on handling that one is to break it into smaller
                  chunks, even if they have no customer value, so at least in each cycle we
                  can take one step towards eating the elephant.

                  On Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 9:20 PM, Alexander Kriegisch <
                  Kriegisch@...> wrote:

                  > How about resetting the backlog and creating a new one?
                  >
                  > Or if it seems to be too extreme even for an Extreme Programmer, kill
                  > everyting older than one year or x months. If it is important, it will
                  > reappear.
                  >
                  > Question: How can it be that something is really important, but rotting in
                  > the backlog for a year or longer? ;-)
                  > --
                  > Alexander Kriegisch
                  > http://scrum-master.de
                  >
                  >
                  > Am 24.01.2013 um 01:13 schrieb John Carter <john.carter@...>:
                  >
                  > > So over the years the backlog grows.
                  > >
                  > > Defects, enhancements, technical debt, wish lists, good ideas, .....
                  > >
                  > > Yes, yes, yes, I know about the planning game.
                  > >
                  > > But the fact is it grows, it ages, better ideas come along, really really
                  > > Good ideas get buried, priorities shift, customers come and go, customers
                  > > have competing interests and different sized pocket books....
                  > >
                  > > The order in which stories are done often influences the total cost.
                  > >
                  > > How do you prioritise a list that is longer than anyone can keep in their
                  > > head, taking into account competing customers and interests?
                  > >
                  > > Gotchas I have seen with "The Obvious" approaches are...
                  > >
                  > > * Important stuff that is hard to do gets infinitely deferred, because,
                  > > "not now". And yet, if I look back, we would have gone faster if we bit
                  > the
                  > > bullet years back and did it then.
                  > > * Important stuff just gets forgotten... because our brains are too full
                  > > of other "important" stuff.
                  > > * Minor stuff, but utterly trivial to do gets, infinitely delayed, but
                  > > again, if we just did it, we would have gone faster.
                  > > * Stuff that was ranked important... but delayed, remains important even
                  > > after the need for it has evaporated.
                  > >
                  > > All easy problems to solve....
                  > >
                  > > ...but become hard when the list is on the wrong side of 500 and the
                  > number
                  > > of customers and interests are on the wrong side of 10.
                  > >
                  > > How do you do it?
                  > >
                  > > --
                  > > John Carter Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
                  > > Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
                  > > PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email :
                  > john.carter@...
                  > > New Zealand
                  > >
                  > > --
                  > >
                  > > ------------------------------
                  > > This email, including any attachments, is only for the intended
                  > recipient.
                  > > It is subject to copyright, is confidential and may be the subject of
                  > legal
                  > > or other privilege, none of which is waived or lost by reason of this
                  > > transmission.
                  > > If you are not an intended recipient, you may not use, disseminate,
                  > > distribute or reproduce such email, any attachments, or any part thereof.
                  > > If you have received a message in error, please notify the sender
                  > > immediately and erase all copies of the message and any attachments.
                  > > Unfortunately, we cannot warrant that the email has not been altered or
                  > > corrupted during transmission nor can we guarantee that any email or any
                  > > attachments are free from computer viruses or other conditions which may
                  > > damage or interfere with recipient data, hardware or software. The
                  > > recipient relies upon its own procedures and assumes all risk of use and
                  > of
                  > > opening any attachments.
                  > > ------------------------------
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > ------------------------------------
                  > >
                  > > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                  > >
                  > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                  > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                  > >
                  > > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                  > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                  >
                  > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                  > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                  >
                  > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
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                  >
                  >
                  >


                  --
                  John Carter Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
                  Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
                  PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email : john.carter@...
                  New Zealand

                  --

                  ------------------------------
                  This email, including any attachments, is only for the intended recipient.
                  It is subject to copyright, is confidential and may be the subject of legal
                  or other privilege, none of which is waived or lost by reason of this
                  transmission.
                  If you are not an intended recipient, you may not use, disseminate,
                  distribute or reproduce such email, any attachments, or any part thereof.
                  If you have received a message in error, please notify the sender
                  immediately and erase all copies of the message and any attachments.
                  Unfortunately, we cannot warrant that the email has not been altered or
                  corrupted during transmission nor can we guarantee that any email or any
                  attachments are free from computer viruses or other conditions which may
                  damage or interfere with recipient data, hardware or software. The
                  recipient relies upon its own procedures and assumes all risk of use and of
                  opening any attachments.
                  ------------------------------


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • John Carter
                  ... Hmm. Partly a good idea, partly gives rise to Courtiers and the rise of an Obnoxracy. (Rule of the more persistent and obnoxious, rather than those with
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jan 28, 2013
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                    On Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 11:59 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

                    >
                    > On Jan 23, 2013, at 7:13 PM, John Carter <john.carter@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > > All easy problems to solve....
                    > >
                    > > ...but become hard when the list is on the wrong side of 500 and the
                    > number
                    > > of customers and interests are on the wrong side of 10.
                    >
                    >
                    > See also my old article about having no backlog: Petition the King.
                    >
                    >
                    Hmm. Partly a good idea, partly gives rise to Courtiers and the rise of an
                    Obnoxracy. (Rule of the more persistent and obnoxious, rather than those
                    with the best ideas.)

                    It's not as if we haven't had socialised discovery of importance aided by
                    technology for awhile now. eg. pagerank, www.reddit.com and slashdot.org

                    I hope there is a better way than that... I'm a terrible Courtier and I
                    hate dealing with Obnoxocrats.


                    --
                    John Carter Phone : (64)(3) 358 6639
                    Tait Electronics Fax : (64)(3) 359 4632
                    PO Box 1645 Christchurch Email : john.carter@...
                    New Zealand

                    --

                    ------------------------------
                    This email, including any attachments, is only for the intended recipient.
                    It is subject to copyright, is confidential and may be the subject of legal
                    or other privilege, none of which is waived or lost by reason of this
                    transmission.
                    If you are not an intended recipient, you may not use, disseminate,
                    distribute or reproduce such email, any attachments, or any part thereof.
                    If you have received a message in error, please notify the sender
                    immediately and erase all copies of the message and any attachments.
                    Unfortunately, we cannot warrant that the email has not been altered or
                    corrupted during transmission nor can we guarantee that any email or any
                    attachments are free from computer viruses or other conditions which may
                    damage or interfere with recipient data, hardware or software. The
                    recipient relies upon its own procedures and assumes all risk of use and of
                    opening any attachments.
                    ------------------------------


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Ron Jeffries
                    John, ... Only has to do that if the king listens to them. and why would he? Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com It s true hard work never killed anybody, but I
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jan 28, 2013
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                      John,

                      On Jan 28, 2013, at 8:08 PM, John Carter <john.carter@...> wrote:

                      > Hmm. Partly a good idea, partly gives rise to Courtiers and the rise of an
                      > Obnoxracy. (Rule of the more persistent and obnoxious, rather than those
                      > with the best ideas.)


                      Only has to do that if the king listens to them. and why would he?

                      Ron Jeffries
                      www.XProgramming.com
                      It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?
                      -- Ronald Reagan





                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • JackM
                      Thanks a ton for the awesome feedback and pointers to unit test resources. Much appreciate, Jack
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jan 30, 2013
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                        Thanks a ton for the awesome feedback and pointers to unit test resources.

                        Much appreciate,
                        Jack

                        --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries wrote:
                        >
                        > John,
                        >
                        > On Jan 28, 2013, at 8:08 PM, John Carter wrote:
                        >
                        > > Hmm. Partly a good idea, partly gives rise to Courtiers and the rise of an
                        > > Obnoxracy. (Rule of the more persistent and obnoxious, rather than those
                        > > with the best ideas.)
                        >
                        >
                        > Only has to do that if the king listens to them. and why would he?
                        >
                        > Ron Jeffries
                        > www.XProgramming.com
                        > It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?
                        > -- Ronald Reagan
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                      • Curtis Cooley
                        ... This is exactly what I thought of when I read the OP. I also thought about Lean Procrastination which is very similar to Kevin s top 10. Your customers
                        Message 11 of 12 , Jan 31, 2013
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                          On Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 4:59 AM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

                          > **
                          >
                          >
                          > Hi John,
                          >
                          > On Jan 23, 2013, at 7:13 PM, John Carter john.carter@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > > All easy problems to solve....
                          > >
                          > > ...but become hard when the list is on the wrong side of 500 and the
                          > number
                          > > of customers and interests are on the wrong side of 10.
                          >
                          > See also my old article about having no backlog: Petition the King.
                          >
                          > +1

                          This is exactly what I thought of when I read the OP.

                          I also thought about Lean Procrastination which is very similar to Kevin's
                          top 10. Your customers know more about the product and what they need
                          better than you ever will so outsource the backlog to them :)
                          --
                          --------------------------------------
                          Curtis Cooley
                          curtis@...


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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