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39270Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Plans are there for planning

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  • George Dinwiddie
    Jun 18, 2009
      It's obvious that you're in a tough spot. The CEO seems to think that
      you're a manager who has made a commitment rather than a scrummaster who
      has communicated an estimate made by the team. It also seems that the
      PO is standing back so as not to be closely association with what is
      likely to be labeled a failure.

      In your first message, where the CEO asked about the roadmap, I would be
      tempted to reply, "Let's sit down with the PO and see what our roadmap
      will be."

      I see also (I think) that the PO is outside your company. He may not
      care to get the most success possible if he can, instead, blame you and
      your company. You may need a PO Proxy within your company if the
      current PO isn't collaborative enough. It's not an ideal solution.

      I wonder if the CEO has communicated false expectations to the other
      company?

      inanc_gumus wrote:
      > hello Roy,
      > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Roy Morien <roymorien@...> wrote:
      >>
      >> If so, why aren't you able to do exactly what the CEO is asking
      >> for? (leaving aside the question of exactly who should beasked for
      >> what).
      >>
      >
      > We try to use scrum. I am able to do what the CEO is asking for,
      > because we have a PB, iterations history, remaining stories etc. I
      > think, what is not clear is: CEO is not seeing progress on business
      > value. Because, we may be slower than he thinks. They want results
      > faster (big results!) then we could do.

      Why is the CEO not seeing progress on business value? The speed is not
      the primary issue--visibility is. Could it be that the stories do not
      each demonstrate some small business value? Could it be that they are
      not clumped into groups that seem valuable enough? Could it be that the
      less-valuable stories in each clump are being done at the same time as
      the more-valuable ones, delaying work on more-valuable stories in the
      next clump?

      Try to think of the view seen by the CEO and the PO. How can you
      display the data of your progress such that it makes sense to them at a
      glance?

      I don't know these people, or the project, but if you take the story
      cards and lay them out on a table in stacks of priority order, then you
      can put label cards on top of them:

      Feature A, essential
      Feature B, essential
      Feature C, essential
      ...
      Feature C, embellishments
      ...
      Feature C, handling rare types of errors
      ...

      > But, I think the team is working at full capacity. He asks us for
      > increasing our velocity (he also suggests doing overtime), but I as a
      > SM am trying to prevent him to apply this ineffective idea.

      As much as I hate to say it, fighting overtime might be the wrong battle
      for the moment. Let him know your fears that overtime may make internal
      code quality go down and result in even slower velocity.

      Also talk with the team. "We've got a problem. We're not producing
      functionality as fast as the CEO and PO would like to see it. I'm
      working on some issues around the perception of progress, but what can
      we do to speed up? What's getting in our way and slowing us down?" I'm
      sure there's much the team can do. There generally is. But with
      pressure to go faster, few teams take the time to sharpen the saw.


      > CEO queries PB and asks: "The items I saw recently is not there.
      > Where are they gone?". Because, we are splitting stories to smaller
      > stories to show progress.

      Do those smaller stories have functionality? Beware of splitting to
      technical tasks that have no meaning to the CEO & PO. Beware of
      reporting to the CEO stories that are so thin that they don't make sense
      to him. You need to roll things up in a meaningful way.

      > We did not delivered what is asked for a month, and our estimations
      > were ~%50 wrong. But we have delivered in tiny pieces of increments
      > of the same story (which is then realized that it was a theme not a
      > story!). So he says that: "Deliver what you have committed". I am
      > trying to explain, "estimates are not commitments". We are generating
      > knowledge and this can cause to create new stories. But he sees this
      > as progress is slowing down. And holds us responsible for not
      > delivering on time.

      1. Are you estimating in units of time? That's a common contributor to
      people taking estimates as commitments.

      2. Are you working on new stories as they're discovered? If they
      weren't important enough to notice earlier, why not defer them until later?

      > PO is not attending standups, he is attending only to review and
      > planning meetings. And he is also not much happy w/our progress. He
      > does not participate our failure, he sees is as our failure, not his.
      > And he demands us to deliver more, and faster.

      Obviously this is a client, not a PO. A PO participates and steers the
      project. You _need_ a PO, even if a proxy.

      > He asks for a --clear deadline-- and does not accept surprises. I
      > think, this is a way very wrong. But, what can we do about it? We are
      > in a same company, and we are not thinking to leave. We think we
      > better fix the processes.

      The PO or the CEO?

      > We as a team are not happy with our velocity because we are dealing
      > with a legacy software which is very uncertain and slows us down
      > w/surprises. And another impediment is CEO sees velocity as a product
      > metric but I also try to explain him it's not. But he wants
      > productivity metrics of how the team is doing progress, how are they
      > exactly be done.

      I suspect the team is also sabotaging itself by trying to fix all the
      problems uncovered as they are uncovered. I suspect that the newly
      discovered stories are being prioritized by the team rather than by the
      PO. If these suspicions are true, then then team is setting itself up
      for failure.

      Why did the CEO and PO opt for Scrum in the first place? What were they
      hoping to gain?

      - George

      --
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
      Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
      Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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