619RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Alternative to EGroups + scrum in a "management" org
- Oct 7 8:19 AMYour assessment of xP and Scrum practices is correct, and collaboration is
of course the solution. And, in both, it is the team that selects how much
they can do. The customer says "what", the team commits to how much of
"what" and "how" they will turn the "what" into code.
The customer wants to commit a fixed amount of money and get a fixed amount
of functionality on a specified date. Just like at Dunkin Donuts, where
$2.49 buys 6 donuts right now. A bunch of answers:
1. Lay out the functionality and estimate it, just like you were bidding on
a fcfd (fixed cost,fixed date) contract using traditional methodologies. Of
course you are going to have to absorb some up front cost and effort to do
this, and you'll build that cost into the bid/estimate. And prioritize the
functionality. Collaborate with the customer that this functionality
delivered in this sequence will optimize his ability to get the value, to
deliver the vision, to redo the business operation, will deliver the system,
that he wants. Tell him that you need the functionality ordered like this
because you do iterative development and you want him to confirm that you
are on track every iteration. And that you will give him the ability to
change the requirements and their priority at the end of every iteration,
because you know that his mind will change as he sees the system emerge and
because his business conditions will change. And tell him that, in your
experience, he will probably get most of the value from just some of the
functionality, but you want him in charge of what functionality first. Then
start going and collaborate. This is what DSDM does with the premiss that
20% of the functionality will deliver 80% of the functionality. The
prioritized backlog or stories, projected forward with estimates, becomes
the contract bid.
2. Same as 1 except only lay out functionality for the first three months of
work. Bid the first three months as needed to really get a grasp on some
pretty complex requirements and technology. And that at the end of the three
months the customer will have the start of their system, potentially a first
release to implement, and know if they want to proceed with you and to build
the system or not. A proof of concept and engagement, except with real
working functionality. Then enter into a collaborative, iteration by
iteration (or 3x) contract. And switch the pressure, know that they know how
good you are and how you can satisfy their needs. Tell them that you may
need a longer committment so you can commit the resources to them.
3. Check with Alistair Cockburn and the DSDM people. They bid on a state of
Utah contract that was a fcfd rfp, and by using the first approach they
changed the way that the state people viewed bidding and contracting and -
in the process - may have become the preferred vendor.
4. Understand that some customers are such contractual pricks, going after
fcfp because they are lazy and don't intend to get involved, that you should
walk away because it's a losing proposition (yes, even in these economic
times ... remember that grocery stores still need baggers).
BTW, I was so pleased when I read one of your last emails and you said that
I was a better, better man. Thanks!
From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@...]
Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 9:57 AM
Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Alternative to EGroups + scrum in a
On Monday, October 7, 2002, at 9:46:28 AM, Ken Schwaber wrote:
> Ron's right, the developers (team) commits to completing as much as they
> of the product backlog, aiming as the sprint goal to which they committed.
> The goal is the overall purpose of the sprint, the backlog is what they
> to turn into product functionality to meet the goal. They are free to add
> and subtract (with the customers colaboration) from the backlog as long as
> they meet the goal. If the requirements become irrelevant or the
> untractable during the sprint so that they can't meet the goal, the sprint
> can be abnormally terminated either by the customer or the team.
Now, this may be exactly what Mike meant by "committing to what they
sign up for". Let me try out some differences between Scrum and XP to
see if I understand. These are in the form of statements, but they are
In Scrum, the developers pick from an ordered list of backlog, that
is the Backlog Owner says what the priorities are and the team does
the top N that they feel they can commit to, based on their
assessment of their velocity.
In XP, based on existing estimates for stories and on the team's
measured velocity, the customer picks stories that s/he next wants
to see done. The team signs up for those.
Comparing, in Scrum the team commits to the high level goals but not
to the details, nor to the how. In XP, the team undertakes to meet
the Customer's detailed acceptance tests, but still not to the how,
and renegotiates when it appears that they will fall short. XP
involves the Customer in the tradeoff decision, while by definition,
pardon the term, Scrum does not. (I'll bet that in practice, Scrum
teams do commonly go to the owner and offer alternatives when
there's tradeoff to be done.)
So there's an equivalent amount of real "commitment", I'd say. Now
> Rather, I just describe an approach--stress that you're doing the
> project in one month increments and that during that one month the
> developers commit to completing everything they sign up for and that you
> want the business to commit to not changing things (that doesn't sound
> like a problem in your case). Describe how you'll meet at the start of
> the month to create the "sprint backlog" and how the marketing person (a
> "product manager" or in Scrum terms the "Product Owner") completely owns
> the prioritization but that the team will draw a line under the tasks
> they can commit to.
In a recent conversation on the xp group, Bill Walton who bravely came
and talked with us after writing an op/ed piece that many XPers
roundly trounced, made the point that in his experience, managers want
hard answers as to how much some project will cost. He feels that they
will not sit still for approaches like the above, because they don't
let them decide go / nogo on a project and its budget.
Do you feel the same pressure to come up with a complete answer? How
do you deal with it?
To be on the wire is life. The rest is waiting. --Karl Wallenda
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