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Scrum Excel add-in - Product Backlog worksheet

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  • rwaltersiii
    I recently obtained the latest Scrum Excel add-in and user guide from the Scrum Alliance web site. It is not clear to me when and how one should update the
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 2, 2003
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      I recently obtained the latest Scrum Excel add-in and user guide from
      the Scrum Alliance web site. It is not clear to me when and how one
      should update the product backlog estimates.

      The first thing that throws me off a bit is the "days of work
      remaining" columns, 31 of them, which implies we are managing the
      product backlog on a day-by-day basis. I'm assuming the columns
      should really reflect the iterations. And as the methodology
      document (version 0.9) explains, when new product backlog is thought
      of, it should be entered into the column of the currently running
      iteration.

      The main issue puzzling me, is when, if at all, do you update the
      estimates in the product backlog -- during a sprint to reflect what
      is in a more detailed form on the sprint backlog, at the end of a
      sprint, never...?

      Rusty Walters
    • Deb
      Hi Rusty... Backlog estimates are adjusted when items are assigned to a Sprint. This is because the initial estimate is made in a bit of a vacuum, but the
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 10, 2003
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        Hi Rusty...

        Backlog estimates are adjusted when items are assigned to a Sprint.
        This is because the initial estimate is made in a bit of a vacuum,
        but the rubber hits the road when you assign it to a Sprint. Once you
        know which Sprint, you know the staffing, location and other factors
        that may force adjustments - things like: junior staff members, or
        team that has not worked together before, etc.

        This is covered in the Certification training materials
        under "Activity: 1.4 Adjust Backlog Estimates", which includes an
        example table of "drag" factors for different combinations of the
        following: "# years team working together", "knowledge of
        technology", "knowledge of domain". (Page 157 on my copy).

        Note that this is just an example, and that different factors may
        crop up where you work. The Adjustment activity is there to make the
        Owner aware of mitigating factors *before* the fact. Alistair
        Cockburn in Agile Software Development cites other factors such
        as "non-colocated team". From experience, I'd also consider "slow
        desktop CPU speed" as a significant drag factor when using continuous
        integration with XP. (The appearance of this factor in your planning
        could theoretically prompt a discussion between your Customer and
        whoever approves IT hardware budgets... which could be good, right? :-
        )

        Here's what Activity: 1.4 says...

        <snip - from Ken Schwaber's ScrumMaster Certif. materials 2003, p155>
        Purpose:
        To adjust the product backlog estimates to reflect any factors
        reducing team effectiveness. Scrum assumes an optimal work
        environment. This activity forces an understanding that suboptimal
        product factors have a cost.

        Assumptions:
        This activity is not mechanical, plugging in factors. Instead, it is
        intended to provide cost awareness. Every decision regarding the team
        working environment has an impact on their productivity and an
        attendant cost. If the management is aware of this, this activity is
        merely a reminder of these costs. If management is not aware of these
        costs, this activity provides a monetary cost to suboptimal
        environments.

        Risks:
        Don't quibble about the factor values. They are generalized and not
        intended to be precise for every situation.
        <snip>

        Ciao!
        deb

        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "rwaltersiii"
        <rusty.walters@e...> wrote:
        > I recently obtained the latest Scrum Excel add-in and user guide
        from
        > the Scrum Alliance web site. It is not clear to me when and how
        one
        > should update the product backlog estimates.
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