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Re: [XP] Prioritizing the backlog.

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  • 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 1 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 2 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
        > >
        > > --
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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

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      • 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 3 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

          --

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        • 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 4 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 5 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 6 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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