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Switching to XP planning

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  • Daði Ingólfsson
    I´m having a bit of trouble with a project I´m currently working on. This particular project is a legacy ASP+SQ Server mess that we want to start putting
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 2, 2003
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      I´m having a bit of trouble with a project I´m currently working on. This
      particular project is a legacy ASP+SQ Server mess that we want to start
      putting right. I won´t talk about why it´s such a mess, instead I would like
      some help on the planning aspect. This project is comprised of me and one
      other guy with my company who has been with this project from the beginning.
      Then there are 2 customers that we are working for and they are definitely
      NOT on-site, but they care about this project and it means a great deal to
      their business so it´s not hard to get information from them on the phone or
      from visits. Neither of us developers work on this project full time, but
      when I work on it I usually work on it full time for a week or two.

      The way things work right now is basically like this: we meet with the
      customers periodically to discuss the status of the project and to go over
      stuff that they want done. If there are stories they want done they ask us
      to go over them later and give them an estimate of how long they might take
      in hours. We go back, estimate the stories and at the next meeting or over
      the phone/email they say go/no-go. In between, one of those 2 customers
      calls us and asks us to fix a problem that NEEDS to be fixed right NOW.
      Usually it´s some trivial thing and we fix it within minutes. Other times,
      however, these turn out to be major bugs or feature requests that will take
      more time and those we write down and go over at the next status meeting.

      In many ways this arrangement is not so bad. What we want to fix is the
      quality of the app itself (start unit testing, creating customer tests,
      refactoring, doing simple design, fix build and deployment issues, ...)
      and the way stories are scheduled and accepted by the customer. It´s the
      scheduling issue that I´m not quite sure of how best to implement.
      Obviously, we need to start with the Planning Game, but I´m not even sure it
      should begin with a Release Plan or just go straight to an Iteration Plan.
      The reason I´m not sure about the Release Plan is because I´m not sure the
      customers have anything long term in mind! Maybe, I should just ask them ;-)
      Anyway, what should be my plan of action when I ask them to accept estimates
      on the stories that are not connected to billable hours? I have some stories
      and I estimate them relative to each other, so I have stories A, B and C
      that are 1, 2 and 3 points, respectively. How can I tell my customers how
      much that could possibly cost them?

      I have more question regarding the XP implementation of this project, but I
      think I´ll start with this.

      Any help will be truly appreciated.

      Regards,
      Dadi.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ron Jeffries
      ... Given the list of things to fix above, tell me more about what makes it obvious that you should start with the planning game? ... How long does it take
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 2, 2003
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        On Thursday, October 2, 2003, at 11:05:50 AM, Daði Ingólfsson wrote:

        > In many ways this arrangement is not so bad. What we want to fix is the
        > quality of the app itself (start unit testing, creating customer tests,
        > refactoring, doing simple design, fix build and deployment issues, ...)
        > and the way stories are scheduled and accepted by the customer. It´s the
        > scheduling issue that I´m not quite sure of how best to implement.
        > Obviously, we need to start with the Planning Game,

        Given the list of things to fix above, tell me more about what makes it
        "obvious" that you should start with the planning game?

        > but I´m not even sure it
        > should begin with a Release Plan or just go straight to an Iteration Plan.
        > The reason I´m not sure about the Release Plan is because I´m not sure the
        > customers have anything long term in mind! Maybe, I should just ask them ;-)
        > Anyway, what should be my plan of action when I ask them to accept estimates
        > on the stories that are not connected to billable hours? I have some stories
        > and I estimate them relative to each other, so I have stories A, B and C
        > that are 1, 2 and 3 points, respectively. How can I tell my customers how
        > much that could possibly cost them?

        How long does it take to do a one-point story? How much do you want to bill
        them for that amount of time?

        How sure are you that your estimate of how long it takes is good? How much
        evidence of how long a one-point story takes do you have? How would you
        adjust your billing to take that uncertainty into account?

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Sigs are like I Ching or Tarot. They don't mean anything,
        but sometimes if you think about them you'll get a useful idea.
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