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53937Re: [scrumdevelopment] Size of team a barrier to SCRUM and Agile

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  • RonJeffries
    Jan 18, 2012
      Hello Mike,

      It is time for some tough love here ...

      On Jan 13, 2012, at 10:26 AM, Mike Frymyer wrote:

      I am a project manager and I work for an IT department that has 5 developers. Those 5 developers are working on 4 - 5 projects at any given time. They are also responsible for support and maintenance.

      How's that working for you? My guess: horribly. There's a reason:

      Suppose each project would require five weeks. Assuming perfect task switching, your delivery plans look like this:


      But you won't get perfect task switching. There will be overhead and mistakes. It looks more like this:

      If you work on one thing at a time it would look like this:
       xxxxxSHIP  SHIP  SHIP  SHIP  SHIP
      My CIO is very frustrated with the fact that they are unable to provide goo levels of efforts for their work. This leads to late deliverables. He is also pushing us very hard toward Agile methods thinking that will fix all of our problems.

      BULL. There are no late deliverables due to "inability to provide good levels of effort". There is only bad product management. The team should be assumed to be working as effectively as they can under the (let's face it, not very bright) conditions they've been put under. Once you learn to manage that flow, you can work to improve it. You do this by removing impediments, not by applying more pressure or adding in more work.

      The problem of MANAGEMENT is to select work in such a way as to get the best possible product by the desired delivery date. This will be a lot easier for everyone if the team only works on one thing at a time. Since it will also have lower overhead and produce fewer errors while delivering much sooner, it only has one downside: it will require some managers to make some decisions, which by the way is their job.
      A typical development timeframe for the vast majority of our products is between 40 and 400 hours. This is for .NET and Business Objects reporting.

      OK ... How do you get these numbers? Are they estimated by the sales department? By the CIO? By you? By the developers? 
      I have taken the SCRUMMaster classes and from all that I see you need to have dedicated teams to a specific work effort. This is due in large part that a developer needs to be present at all times; such as during the User Story definition and then decomposing the User Stories into more detailed requirements during the development or SPRINT.

      A developer present at all times? Do you perhaps mean a Product Owner? Tell me about your Product Owners, who must be business-side people, fully empowered to decide what goes into the product, and what does not. Did you notice in your ScrumMaster training that the Product Owner is solely responsible for the delivery of the best possible product by the deadline?
      I have been trying to capture the detailed requirements for the backlog to eliminate the need tp have a developer spend time with the customer, but my boss says I am taking too long on the requirements (usually about 30 hours in as coompressed a time span as schedules will allow).

      You are a project manager. This is not a Scrum role as far as I am aware. Perhaps you are trying to take on the Product Owner role? If so, have you had Product Owner training?

      It also sounds to me as if no one in management is on board with doing Scrum, much less understands what it means. Am I getting the wrong impression here?
      I am looking for suggestions on what I may be doing wrong and how I might be able to utilize Agile without a dedicated development team to each effort.

      If you are going to spread your teams over multiple projects, that is such a bad idea, that I implore you, as one of the authors of the Agile manifesto, to call your process anything else but not Agile.

      Ron Jeffries
      There's no word for accountability in Finnish. Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted. 
      --Pasi Sahlberg

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