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RE: [scrumdevelopment] Splinter Department

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  • Paul Clanton
    I ve found that there are occasions when you may want to break away from the team. For example, more risk averse organizations may not ever put experimental
    Message 1 of 29 , Feb 5, 2002
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      I’ve found that there are occasions when you may want to break away from the team.  For example, more risk averse organizations may not ever put experimental stuff at the top of the backlog.  A team member may just need a break to do something different, stretch their mental legs, learn something new, whatever. 

       

      One approach that I have had success with is to allow team members to take a short (e.g., two weeks) “sabatical” once or twice a year to explore other things.  This might be some unique training or noodling around with a crazy idea or two.  The deliverable is not a working piece of software—although it’s not discouraged—but rather knowledge gained and/or a fresh perspective that’s presented at a meeting on the last day of their sabatical.  There is no _handoff_ but rather a _sharing_ that occurs.  It’s sufficiently short so that the rework, if any, is minimal.  At the same time, it’s long enough for them to have taken the idea beyond the “thinking about it” stage. It helps everybody to recharge their batteries at regular intervals.  Moreover, you get new ideas and/or a fresh perspective without having to break in a new team member! 

       

      In contrast to the splinter department, this gives everybody an equal shot so that nobody can be accused of “running away”.  It happens at a regular, scheduled time, so nobody is surprised.  Finally, it makes good on the promise that many organizations seem to forget about regular training.

       

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
      Sent: Monday, February 04, 2002 9:50 AM
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Splinter Department

       

      Thanks for your answer!

      It seems more reasonable to handle it (experiments/prototypes) within the
      team. And if people run away all the time, from the team, to do experiments
      I suspect the team will have a harder time to jell.

      Regards,
      Jonas

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Mike Beedle [mailto:beedlem@...]
      > Sent: Monday, February 04, 2002 4:51 PM
      > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Splinter Department
      >
      >
      > Jonas Bengtsson wrote:
      > > Hi,
      > > I've just read "Exploiting Chaos: Cashing in
      > > on the Realities of Software Development" by
      > > Dave Olson. In his book he proposes a
      > > "splinter department".  This department is a place
      > > where very uncertain ideas can be tested, a
      > > nursery for new ideas. For instance, if a person
      > > gets a bright idea he can, with the management's
      > > approval, go to the splinter department for a couple
      > > of months and experimenting with the idea. If the
      > > experiments turn out good he might start a pilot
      > > project and so forth.
      > >
      > > The main reason for this department is that
      > > some ideas are too risky to explore inside a
      > > project and that some ideas are distractions
      > > from the main goal of a project.
      > >
      > > Is there a need for such a department in a Scrum
      > > "environment"?
      >
      > Jonas:
      >
      > I am familiar with the book.  I read it in the mid-90s.
      >
      > Scrum uses a more reengineered approach, a Case Team,
      > in Hammer's terminology.  A Case Team, by definition,
      > avoids hand-offs among teams, that require iteration
      > and rework among different teams, because those are
      > exactly the reasons why things get slowed down:
      >
      > 1) you need managers to talk and agree to do work
      > 2) you need workers to take instructions from
      > managers/team leaders
      > 3) you need workers to report to management what
      > is going on, and
      > 4) managers to report to each other on progress,
      > etc.
      > (All the bureaucratic stuff that is undesirable and
      > slows things down, albeit, some of it is always
      > unavoidable.)
      >
      > Instead in Scrum, new ideas are tried from within
      > the team, that is iteration and rework, if any,
      > stays within a single team.  Experiments or prototypes
      > are labeled as such in the Product Backlog.
      > And they are implemented when they are allocated
      > to the Sprint Backlog within a Sprint.  Progress
      > is reported through the Daily Scrums and the
      > decision to continue or to stop with the "experiment"
      > is evaluated daily.
      >
      > In other words, Scrum mechanisms treat experiments
      > like any other task.  In that sense, Scrum techniques
      > are universal i.e. they work for _any_ kind of
      > work that the team needs to accomplish,
      >
      > - Mike
      >
      > To Post a message, send it to:  
      scrumdevelopment@...
      > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
      > scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.




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    • Mike Beedle
      Interesting. Now we really have the full spectrum: 1) integrated (within the Scrum team) 2) loosely coupled but same team (sabbatical) 3) splinter team For
      Message 2 of 29 , Feb 5, 2002
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        Interesting. Now we really have the full spectrum:

        1) integrated (within the Scrum team)
        2) loosely coupled but same team (sabbatical)
        3) splinter team

        For most clients I run several Scrum or XP applications
        teams at once with one shared services or architecture
        team that develops infrastructure related
        stuff and releases reusable components developed by
        all of the teams. But this functionality is _always_
        related to the application needs.
        (Ch 7 in the Scrum book, btw.)

        So the Splinter team in our case is the shared services
        or architecture team - this team develops new
        infrastructure and releases any reusable components,
        for example:

        javascript libraries,
        tag libraries,
        web services,
        business services (EJB, servlet-based),
        transactions,
        business objects, and
        architectural services
        etc.

        More info about this at http://www.xbreed.net

        (I take this opportunity to apologize for the
        brevity of contents there. It will be shortly expanded.)

        - Mike

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Paul Clanton [mailto:pclanton@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2002 9:05 AM
        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Splinter Department


        I’ve found that there are occasions when you may want to break away from the
        team. For example, more risk averse organizations may not ever put
        experimental stuff at the top of the backlog. A team member may just need a
        break to do something different, stretch their mental legs, learn something
        new, whatever.

        One approach that I have had success with is to allow team members to take a
        short (e.g., two weeks) “sabatical” once or twice a year to explore other
        things. This might be some unique training or noodling around with a crazy
        idea or two. The deliverable is not a working piece of software—although it
        ’s not discouraged—but rather knowledge gained and/or a fresh perspective
        that’s presented at a meeting on the last day of their sabatical. There is
        no _handoff_ but rather a _sharing_ that occurs. It’s sufficiently short so
        that the rework, if any, is minimal. At the same time, it’s long enough for
        them to have taken the idea beyond the “thinking about it” stage. It helps
        everybody to recharge their batteries at regular intervals. Moreover, you
        get new ideas and/or a fresh perspective without having to break in a new
        team member!

        In contrast to the splinter department, this gives everybody an equal shot
        so that nobody can be accused of “running away”. It happens at a regular,
        scheduled time, so nobody is surprised. Finally, it makes good on the
        promise that many organizations seem to forget about regular training.

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
        Sent: Monday, February 04, 2002 9:50 AM
        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Splinter Department

        Thanks for your answer!

        It seems more reasonable to handle it (experiments/prototypes) within the
        team. And if people run away all the time, from the team, to do experiments
        I suspect the team will have a harder time to jell.

        Regards,
        Jonas

        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Mike Beedle [mailto:beedlem@...]
        > Sent: Monday, February 04, 2002 4:51 PM
        > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Splinter Department
        >
        >
        > Jonas Bengtsson wrote:
        > > Hi,
        > > I've just read "Exploiting Chaos: Cashing in
        > > on the Realities of Software Development" by
        > > Dave Olson. In his book he proposes a
        > > "splinter department". This department is a place
        > > where very uncertain ideas can be tested, a
        > > nursery for new ideas. For instance, if a person
        > > gets a bright idea he can, with the management's
        > > approval, go to the splinter department for a couple
        > > of months and experimenting with the idea. If the
        > > experiments turn out good he might start a pilot
        > > project and so forth.
        > >
        > > The main reason for this department is that
        > > some ideas are too risky to explore inside a
        > > project and that some ideas are distractions
        > > from the main goal of a project.
        > >
        > > Is there a need for such a department in a Scrum
        > > "environment"?
        >
        > Jonas:
        >
        > I am familiar with the book. I read it in the mid-90s.
        >
        > Scrum uses a more reengineered approach, a Case Team,
        > in Hammer's terminology. A Case Team, by definition,
        > avoids hand-offs among teams, that require iteration
        > and rework among different teams, because those are
        > exactly the reasons why things get slowed down:
        >
        > 1) you need managers to talk and agree to do work
        > 2) you need workers to take instructions from
        > managers/team leaders
        > 3) you need workers to report to management what
        > is going on, and
        > 4) managers to report to each other on progress,
        > etc.
        > (All the bureaucratic stuff that is undesirable and
        > slows things down, albeit, some of it is always
        > unavoidable.)
        >
        > Instead in Scrum, new ideas are tried from within
        > the team, that is iteration and rework, if any,
        > stays within a single team. Experiments or prototypes
        > are labeled as such in the Product Backlog.
        > And they are implemented when they are allocated
        > to the Sprint Backlog within a Sprint. Progress
        > is reported through the Daily Scrums and the
        > decision to continue or to stop with the "experiment"
        > is evaluated daily.
        >
        > In other words, Scrum mechanisms treat experiments
        > like any other task. In that sense, Scrum techniques
        > are universal i.e. they work for _any_ kind of
        > work that the team needs to accomplish,
        >
        > - Mike
        >
        > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
        > scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.





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      • mpoppendieck
        ... I can offer one more option. 3M has it s famous 15% rule. This rule says that anyone can charge up to 15% of their time to a shush fund and use it to
        Message 3 of 29 , Feb 6, 2002
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          --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Mike Beedle" <beedlem@e...> wrote:
          >
          > Interesting. Now we really have the full spectrum:
          >
          > 1) integrated (within the Scrum team)
          > 2) loosely coupled but same team (sabbatical)
          > 3) splinter team
          >

          I can offer one more option.

          3M has it's famous 15% rule. This rule says that anyone can charge
          up to 15% of their time to a 'shush fund' and use it to explore new
          ideas. In practice, it is frequently used, because it allows anyone
          with a great idea to get others to help them out, with no approval
          necessary.

          Say you are working on a cool new idea, both in your 15% time and
          even in your spare time. But you need help. You can go up to
          anyone else and ask them to help you out. If they think your idea
          is cool, they will spend their 15% time on it. Both of you are
          still doing your regular jobs, but are exploring this side idea
          also.

          Because using the 15% time is strongly encouraged, it is easy to put
          together quite a team to work on splinter ideas, even as they are
          all working on normal projects. There is virtually no oversight and
          no accountability for the cool new idea. Any lab equipment
          (computers for instance) and a minor amount of material is avaiable
          at no cost. This continues until the assembled team decides to ask
          for more resources than they can scrape together in the 15% time.
          By that time, enough risk has been removed from the idea that it can
          get legitimate funding.
        • Mike Beedle
          Very interesting. Relating this back to Scrum a bit, this would mean that the task was assigned on the Product Backlog -- because all the planned work needs
          Message 4 of 29 , Feb 6, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            Very interesting. Relating this back to Scrum a bit, this
            would mean that the task was assigned on the Product Backlog --
            because all the planned work needs to be there, and that to
            accomplish this work it would have to be allocated to the
            Sprint Backlog with special rules:
            1) do this optionally, 2) use up to 15% of your time on it,
            3) engage others as needed, 4) report progress in the Daily
            Scrums.

            This is a very interesting approach, Product Backlog and
            Sprint Backlog with rules.

            On occasion, we have had some of that, but I don't think it
            has been formalized by anyone. I think this is a valid and
            productive way of doing things. The Scrum Master would
            help the team members enforce the rules, of course.

            The only qualm I would have, is that it can get fairly
            complicated as the number of rules increases, but I guess
            different teams would have different rule tolerances ;-)

            If you don't mind Mary, I'd like to borrow this one for
            my next Scrum project,

            - Mike


            -----Original Message-----
            From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
            Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 1:40 PM
            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department


            --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Mike Beedle" <beedlem@e...> wrote:
            >
            > Interesting. Now we really have the full spectrum:
            >
            > 1) integrated (within the Scrum team)
            > 2) loosely coupled but same team (sabbatical)
            > 3) splinter team
            >

            I can offer one more option.

            3M has it's famous 15% rule. This rule says that anyone can charge
            up to 15% of their time to a 'shush fund' and use it to explore new
            ideas. In practice, it is frequently used, because it allows anyone
            with a great idea to get others to help them out, with no approval
            necessary.

            Say you are working on a cool new idea, both in your 15% time and
            even in your spare time. But you need help. You can go up to
            anyone else and ask them to help you out. If they think your idea
            is cool, they will spend their 15% time on it. Both of you are
            still doing your regular jobs, but are exploring this side idea
            also.

            Because using the 15% time is strongly encouraged, it is easy to put
            together quite a team to work on splinter ideas, even as they are
            all working on normal projects. There is virtually no oversight and
            no accountability for the cool new idea. Any lab equipment
            (computers for instance) and a minor amount of material is avaiable
            at no cost. This continues until the assembled team decides to ask
            for more resources than they can scrape together in the 15% time.
            By that time, enough risk has been removed from the idea that it can
            get legitimate funding.


            To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
            To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
            scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...

            Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
          • Paul
            I love 3M s 15% idea. It s a win-win for everyone! -- Paul ... __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Send FREE Valentine eCards
            Message 5 of 29 , Feb 6, 2002
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              I love 3M's 15% idea. It's a win-win for everyone!

              -- Paul

              --- mpoppendieck <mary@...> wrote:
              > --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Mike Beedle"
              > <beedlem@e...> wrote:
              > >
              > > Interesting. Now we really have the full
              > spectrum:
              > >
              > > 1) integrated (within the Scrum team)
              > > 2) loosely coupled but same team (sabbatical)
              > > 3) splinter team
              > >
              >
              > I can offer one more option.
              >
              > 3M has it's famous 15% rule. This rule says that
              > anyone can charge
              > up to 15% of their time to a 'shush fund' and use it
              > to explore new
              > ideas. In practice, it is frequently used, because
              > it allows anyone
              > with a great idea to get others to help them out,
              > with no approval
              > necessary.
              >
              > Say you are working on a cool new idea, both in your
              > 15% time and
              > even in your spare time. But you need help. You
              > can go up to
              > anyone else and ask them to help you out. If they
              > think your idea
              > is cool, they will spend their 15% time on it. Both
              > of you are
              > still doing your regular jobs, but are exploring
              > this side idea
              > also.
              >
              > Because using the 15% time is strongly encouraged,
              > it is easy to put
              > together quite a team to work on splinter ideas,
              > even as they are
              > all working on normal projects. There is virtually
              > no oversight and
              > no accountability for the cool new idea. Any lab
              > equipment
              > (computers for instance) and a minor amount of
              > material is avaiable
              > at no cost. This continues until the assembled team
              > decides to ask
              > for more resources than they can scrape together in
              > the 15% time.
              > By that time, enough risk has been removed from the
              > idea that it can
              > get legitimate funding.
              >
              >


              __________________________________________________
              Do You Yahoo!?
              Send FREE Valentine eCards with Yahoo! Greetings!
              http://greetings.yahoo.com
            • mpoppendieck
              Mike, I don t think I explained the 15% rule well enough. People are specifically NOT working on Backlog in their 15% time. They are working on their own
              Message 6 of 29 , Feb 7, 2002
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                Mike, I don't think I explained the 15% rule well enough. People
                are specifically NOT working on Backlog in their 15% time. They are
                working on their own cool idea. Generally it is not related to any
                projects they are assigned to in the other 85% of their time. The
                whole point is that people are free to tackle anything they are
                interested in during this time. If they had to get their idea from
                a Backlog, that would defeat the purpose.

                By the way, this is how 3M starts up hundreds of new product
                projects every year, and is able to continually diversify into new
                businesses.

                Mary

                --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Mike Beedle" <beedlem@e...> wrote:
                >
                > Very interesting. Relating this back to Scrum a bit, this
                > would mean that the task was assigned on the Product Backlog --
                > because all the planned work needs to be there, and that to
                > accomplish this work it would have to be allocated to the
                > Sprint Backlog with special rules:
                > 1) do this optionally, 2) use up to 15% of your time on it,
                > 3) engage others as needed, 4) report progress in the Daily
                > Scrums.
                >
                > This is a very interesting approach, Product Backlog and
                > Sprint Backlog with rules.
                >
                > On occasion, we have had some of that, but I don't think it
                > has been formalized by anyone. I think this is a valid and
                > productive way of doing things. The Scrum Master would
                > help the team members enforce the rules, of course.
                >
                > The only qualm I would have, is that it can get fairly
                > complicated as the number of rules increases, but I guess
                > different teams would have different rule tolerances ;-)
                >
                > If you don't mind Mary, I'd like to borrow this one for
                > my next Scrum project,
                >
                > - Mike
                >
              • Jonas Bengtsson
                How do you manage this when times get rough? For instance in the end of a sprint when you realise that the group won t be able to fulfil its commitment - do
                Message 7 of 29 , Feb 7, 2002
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                  How do you manage this when times get rough? For instance in the end of a
                  sprint when you realise that the group won't be able to fulfil its
                  commitment - do you allow the 15% than?
                  Won't adding such things to the backlog and reporting in the daily scrums
                  lead to unnecessary noise?
                  What kind of activities will you approve?

                  /Jonas

                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: Mike Beedle [mailto:beedlem@...]
                  > Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 9:56 PM
                  > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Very interesting. Relating this back to Scrum a bit, this
                  > would mean that the task was assigned on the Product Backlog --
                  > because all the planned work needs to be there, and that to
                  > accomplish this work it would have to be allocated to the
                  > Sprint Backlog with special rules:
                  > 1) do this optionally, 2) use up to 15% of your time on it,
                  > 3) engage others as needed, 4) report progress in the Daily
                  > Scrums.
                  >
                  > This is a very interesting approach, Product Backlog and
                  > Sprint Backlog with rules.
                  >
                  > On occasion, we have had some of that, but I don't think it
                  > has been formalized by anyone. I think this is a valid and
                  > productive way of doing things. The Scrum Master would
                  > help the team members enforce the rules, of course.
                  >
                  > The only qualm I would have, is that it can get fairly
                  > complicated as the number of rules increases, but I guess
                  > different teams would have different rule tolerances ;-)
                  >
                  > If you don't mind Mary, I'd like to borrow this one for
                  > my next Scrum project,
                  >
                  > - Mike
                  >
                  >
                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
                  > Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 1:40 PM
                  > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Mike Beedle" <beedlem@e...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Interesting. Now we really have the full spectrum:
                  > >
                  > > 1) integrated (within the Scrum team)
                  > > 2) loosely coupled but same team (sabbatical)
                  > > 3) splinter team
                  > >
                  >
                  > I can offer one more option.
                  >
                  > 3M has it's famous 15% rule. This rule says that anyone can charge
                  > up to 15% of their time to a 'shush fund' and use it to explore new
                  > ideas. In practice, it is frequently used, because it allows anyone
                  > with a great idea to get others to help them out, with no approval
                  > necessary.
                  >
                  > Say you are working on a cool new idea, both in your 15% time and
                  > even in your spare time. But you need help. You can go up to
                  > anyone else and ask them to help you out. If they think your idea
                  > is cool, they will spend their 15% time on it. Both of you are
                  > still doing your regular jobs, but are exploring this side idea
                  > also.
                  >
                  > Because using the 15% time is strongly encouraged, it is easy to put
                  > together quite a team to work on splinter ideas, even as they are
                  > all working on normal projects. There is virtually no oversight and
                  > no accountability for the cool new idea. Any lab equipment
                  > (computers for instance) and a minor amount of material is avaiable
                  > at no cost. This continues until the assembled team decides to ask
                  > for more resources than they can scrape together in the 15% time.
                  > By that time, enough risk has been removed from the idea that it can
                  > get legitimate funding.
                  >
                  >
                  > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                  > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                  > scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                  >
                  >
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                  > ADVERTISEMENT
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                  >
                  >
                  >
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                • mpoppendieck
                  The trick is that the the use of the 15% rule must be encouraged across the organization. This is sort of built-in organizational Slack (see Tom DeMarco s
                  Message 8 of 29 , Feb 7, 2002
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                    The trick is that the the use of the 15% rule must be encouraged
                    across the organization. This is sort of built-in organizational
                    Slack (see Tom DeMarco's book by the same title).

                    Mary

                    --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., Paul <horked_noodle@y...> wrote:
                    > I love 3M's 15% idea. It's a win-win for everyone!
                    >
                    > -- Paul
                    >
                  • Paul Clanton
                    For the sake of continuity, I ve cobbled together some of the threads of this e-mail because I think that Mary and I have been saying similar things about the
                    Message 9 of 29 , Feb 7, 2002
                    • 0 Attachment

                      For the sake of continuity, I’ve cobbled together some of the threads of this e-mail because I think that Mary and I have been saying similar things about the splinter projects and Jonas has raised some very good questions about the realities of life.

                       

                      Here’s my take on things. 

                      (1)   These projects take place outside of the Scrum and need no approval.  Oversight is minimal.  In terms of the Scrum process, these projects are a way to explore potential projects to add to the backlog.

                      (2)   These projects are not optional (although your participation in somebody else’s project is).  Innovation is a life and death question for most organizations.  This is a relatively inexpensive way to ensure that innovation occurs.

                      (3)   These projects are more important than any other projects (see #2 above) so even when times get rough, these projects are not sacrificed.  The one exception would be the project that MUST finish by a certain date or the company will suffer a major setback.  This same situation would trigger a canceling of all vacations and training, mandate overtime, etc. (Hopefully these are few and far between.)

                       

                      In comparing Mary’s 3M approach and the sabbatical idea I raised, I think the differences are superficial.  I suggested a two-week (i.e., 4%) sabbatical _at least_ once a year.  This does not preclude spending 15% (i.e., 7.5 weeks).  I am not sure how 3M expects this time to be allocated (e.g., continuous on a daily basis or in chunks) but I personally favor chunking it up.  After all, continuous, short, uninterrupted work is the essence of Scrum.  Moreover, this gives people time to recharge their work batteries just as a vacation gives them time to recharge their personal batteries.

                       

                      As always, comments, suggestions, slurs, and character assassinations are welcome.

                      Paul

                       

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
                      Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 8:43 AM
                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

                       

                      The trick is that the the use of the 15% rule must be encouraged
                      across the organization.  This is sort of built-in organizational
                      Slack (see Tom DeMarco's book by the same title).

                      Mary

                       

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Jonas Bengtsson [mailto:jonas.b@...]
                      Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 8:38 AM
                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

                       

                      How do you manage this when times get rough? For instance in the end of a
                      sprint when you realise that the group won't be able to fulfil its
                      commitment - do you allow the 15% than?
                      Won't adding such things to the backlog and reporting in the daily scrums
                      lead to unnecessary noise?
                      What kind of activities will you approve?

                      /Jonas

                       


                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
                      Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 8:34 AM
                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

                       

                      Mike, I don't think I explained the 15% rule well enough.  People
                      are specifically NOT working on Backlog in their 15% time.  They are
                      working on their own cool idea.  Generally it is not related to any
                      projects they are assigned to in the other 85% of their time.  The
                      whole point is that people are free to tackle anything they are
                      interested in during this time.  If they had to get their idea from
                      a Backlog, that would defeat the purpose. 

                      By the way, this is how 3M starts up hundreds of new product
                      projects every year, and is able to continually diversify into new
                      businesses.

                      Mary


                      > -----Original Message-----
                      From: Mike Beedle [mailto:beedlem@...]
                      Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 9:56 PM
                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

                      Very interesting.  Relating this back to Scrum a bit, this
                      would mean that the task was assigned on the Product Backlog --
                      because all the planned work needs to be there, and that to
                      accomplish this work it would have to be allocated to the
                      Sprint Backlog with special rules:
                      1) do this optionally, 2) use up to 15% of your time on it,
                      3) engage others as needed, 4) report progress in the Daily
                      Scrums.

                      This is a very interesting approach, Product Backlog and
                      Sprint Backlog with rules.

                      On occasion, we have had some of that, but I don't think it
                      has been formalized by anyone.  I think this is a valid and
                      productive way of doing things.  The Scrum Master would
                      help the team members enforce the rules, of course.

                      The only qualm I would have, is that it can get fairly
                      complicated as the number of rules increases, but I guess
                      different teams would have different rule tolerances ;-)

                      If you don't mind Mary, I'd like to borrow this one for
                      my next Scrum project,

                      - Mike

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
                      Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 1:40 PM
                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department


                      --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Mike Beedle" <beedlem@e...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Interesting.  Now we really have the full spectrum:
                      >
                      > 1) integrated (within the Scrum team)
                      > 2) loosely coupled but same team (sabbatical)
                      > 3) splinter team
                      >

                      I can offer one more option.

                      3M has it's famous 15% rule.  This rule says that anyone can charge
                      up to 15% of their time to a 'shush fund' and use it to explore new
                      ideas.  In practice, it is frequently used, because it allows anyone
                      with a great idea to get others to help them out, with no approval
                      necessary.

                      Say you are working on a cool new idea, both in your 15% time and
                      even in your spare time.  But you need help.  You can go up to
                      anyone else and ask them to help you out.  If they think your idea
                      is cool, they will spend their 15% time on it.  Both of you are
                      still doing your regular jobs, but are exploring this side idea
                      also.

                      Because using the 15% time is strongly encouraged, it is easy to put
                      together quite a team to work on splinter ideas, even as they are
                      all working on normal projects. There is virtually no oversight and
                      no accountability for the cool new idea.  Any lab equipment
                      (computers for instance) and a minor amount of material is avaiable
                      at no cost.  This continues until the assembled team decides to ask
                      for more resources than they can scrape together in the 15% time.
                      By that time, enough risk has been removed from the idea that it can
                      get legitimate funding.

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Mike Beedle [mailto:beedlem@...]
                      Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2002 11:59 PM
                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Splinter Department

                       


                      Interesting.  Now we really have the full spectrum:

                      1) integrated (within the Scrum team)
                      2) loosely coupled but same team (sabbatical)
                      3) splinter team

                      For most clients I run several Scrum or XP applications
                      teams at once with one shared services or architecture
                      team that develops infrastructure related
                      stuff and releases reusable components developed by
                      all of the teams.  But this functionality is _always_
                      related to the application needs.
                      (Ch 7 in the Scrum book, btw.)

                      So the Splinter team in our case is the shared services
                      or architecture team - this team develops new
                      infrastructure and releases any reusable components,
                      for example:

                      javascript libraries,
                      tag libraries,
                      web services,
                      business services (EJB, servlet-based),
                      transactions,
                      business objects, and
                      architectural services
                      etc.

                      More info about this at http://www.xbreed.net

                      (I take this opportunity to apologize for the
                      brevity of contents there.  It will be shortly expanded.)

                      - Mike

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Paul Clanton [mailto:pclanton@...]
                      Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2002 9:05 AM
                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Splinter Department


                      I’ve found that there are occasions when you may want to break away from the
                      team.  For example, more risk averse organizations may not ever put
                      experimental stuff at the top of the backlog.  A team member may just need a
                      break to do something different, stretch their mental legs, learn something
                      new, whatever.

                      One approach that I have had success with is to allow team members to take a
                      short (e.g., two weeks) “sabatical” once or twice a year to explore other
                      things.  This might be some unique training or noodling around with a crazy
                      idea or two.  The deliverable is not a working piece of software—although it
                      ’s not discouraged—but rather knowledge gained and/or a fresh perspective
                      that’s presented at a meeting on the last day of their sabatical.  There is
                      no _handoff_ but rather a _sharing_ that occurs.  It’s sufficiently short so
                      that the rework, if any, is minimal.  At the same time, it’s long enough for
                      them to have taken the idea beyond the “thinking about it” stage. It helps
                      everybody to recharge their batteries at regular intervals.  Moreover, you
                      get new ideas and/or a fresh perspective without having to break in a new
                      team member!

                      In contrast to the splinter department, this gives everybody an equal shot
                      so that nobody can be accused of “running away”.  It happens at a regular,
                      scheduled time, so nobody is surprised.  Finally, it makes good on the
                      promise that many organizations seem to forget about regular training.
                       

                    • mpoppendieck
                      The important thing about new product development at 3M is that the champion of a new product develops a passion about that product, and inspires passion in
                      Message 10 of 29 , Feb 8, 2002
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                        The important thing about new product development at 3M is that
                        the 'champion' of a new product develops a passion about that
                        product, and inspires passion in others. It's very much like a
                        new
                        business venture. People who have a passion about something find
                        the time to work on it, lunch time, come in early, stay late,
                        weekends, whenever. People whose regular jobs get demanding simply
                        spend less time on the `unofficial' project. The 15% is just
                        a
                        term, it is not a hard and fast number. People do what they can,
                        when they can, and are particularly careful not to let their regular
                        jobs suffer.

                        As an example, I led a team which met every week for 3 years at 7:30
                        on Wednesday mornings. This was so regularly scheduled meetings,
                        which tended to start at 8:30, would not interfere. At the end of
                        the 3 years, attendance was averaging 25+ every single week, while
                        there were less than 10 people officially assigned to the program.
                        It was sort of like a Scrum meeting only it lasted about an hour.
                        Almost everyone came to the weekly meeting; often that was the only
                        thing that people did. But when they had an interest, could spare
                        the time, and were needed, they would do more.

                        People are very good about being dedicated to their regular jobs,
                        and if they are totally captivated by their regular job, they are
                        less likely to use any 15% time. Some people are bored by their
                        jobs and some people just want to do new things. Having a way to
                        get engaged with an endeavor of their own choosing gives these
                        people a chance to follow a dream. At the same time – my
                        observation – their regular work does not suffer at all. They
                        are
                        careful to be sure that their assignments get a fair share of their
                        attention, perhaps *because* they had found a new interest in life,
                        or perhaps in appreciation of being allowed to work on the new idea.

                        There was really very little effort to track how scientists spend
                        their time at 3M when I worked there. Sometimes government
                        contracts required careful tracking, but in general, no one counted
                        hours. I think that leaving the problem of handling a crisis to the
                        people involved is the sensible approach. People who are motivated
                        will do right by their employers and will come through when needed.
                        Trying too hard to set up a structure is more or less an insult to
                        the people who are capable of figuring this out for themselves.

                        Mary

                        --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Jonas Bengtsson" <jonas.b@h...> wrote:
                        > How do you manage this when times get rough? For instance in the
                        end of a
                        > sprint when you realise that the group won't be able to fulfil its
                        > commitment - do you allow the 15% than?
                        > Won't adding such things to the backlog and reporting in the daily
                        scrums
                        > lead to unnecessary noise?
                        > What kind of activities will you approve?
                        >
                        > /Jonas
                        >
                      • Mike Beedle
                        ... Mary: Thanks for the clarification. One of the promises that we make in Scrum is focus and commitment of every resources in delivering software according
                        Message 11 of 29 , Feb 9, 2002
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                          Mary wrote:
                          > Mike, I don't think I explained the 15% rule well enough.
                          > People are specifically NOT working on Backlog in their
                          > 15% time. They are working on their own cool idea. Generally
                          > it is not related to any projects they are assigned
                          > to in the other 85% of their time. The whole point is
                          > that people are free to tackle anything they are
                          > interested in during this time. If they had to get
                          > their idea from a Backlog, that would defeat the purpose.

                          Mary:

                          Thanks for the clarification.

                          One of the promises that we make in Scrum is focus and
                          commitment of every resources in delivering software
                          according to the customer priorities. And the customer
                          priorities are kept in the prioritized product backlog.

                          So this would be difficult, but maybe not impossible in
                          a traditional Scrum team.

                          Paul's sabbatical would be more feasible, as long as the
                          team member on sabbatical is _not_ in the Scrum team, he/she
                          may spend time doing something else without dragging
                          anyone with him/her,

                          - Mike
                        • Mike Beedle
                          ... Paul, Sorry I didn t get the same idea after Mary s clarification: Isn t the sabbatical outside the team and the 15%-exploratory inside the team as Mary
                          Message 12 of 29 , Feb 9, 2002
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                            Paul Clanton wrote:
                            > In comparing Mary’s 3M approach and the sabbatical
                            >idea I raised, I think the differences are
                            >superficial. I suggested a two-week (i.e., 4%)
                            >sabbatical _at least_ once a year. This does
                            >not preclude spending 15% (i.e., 7.5 weeks).
                            >I am not sure how 3M expects this time to be
                            >allocated (e.g., continuous on a daily basis
                            >or in chunks) but I personally favor chunking
                            >it up. After all, continuous, short, uninterrupted
                            >work is the essence of Scrum. Moreover, this
                            >gives people time to recharge their work batteries
                            >just as a vacation gives them time to recharge
                            >their personal batteries.

                            Paul,

                            Sorry I didn't get the same idea after Mary's
                            clarification:

                            Isn't the sabbatical outside the team and
                            the 15%-exploratory inside the team as Mary
                            described it?

                            (meta-comment "Here is my Scrum-centric mind
                            taking over my hands.")

                            This difference is significant. In Scrum, we
                            promise that the team will be focused and committed
                            and that it won't be working on anything else except
                            the Sprint Backlog, (which of course came from the
                            Product Backlog, and therefore came from
                            Customer's priorities).

                            I am starting to think the sabbatical is more
                            compatible with Scrum, if the activities are
                            not related to the customer's needs.

                            OTOH, if they are, they should be in the Product
                            Backlog, and prioritized and assigned to Sprint
                            Backlog like any other task,

                            - Mike
                          • mpoppendieck
                            When people go home from work, they coach their kids sports or volunteer at church or train for triathlons or engage in other passions. We certainly don t
                            Message 13 of 29 , Feb 9, 2002
                            • 0 Attachment
                              When people go home from work, they coach their kids sports or
                              volunteer at church or train for triathlons or engage in other
                              passions. We certainly don't expect them to give this up for
                              work,
                              except maybe temporarily in a crisis. Some people come home from
                              working on a Scrum team and work on some Open Source code or put
                              together a database for a boy scout troop, and so on. The point of
                              the 15% rule is that people who get passionate about something other
                              than their regular jobs (but related to their company interests) are
                              encouraged to pursue the idea while on the job. By leveraging this
                              kind of passion, 3M gets hundreds of new products every year.

                              I wonder how we can expect every member of a Scrum team to be
                              totally committed to do nothing but work on the backlog over the
                              several months a project might run. It seems rather pretentious to
                              assume this. I suspect that a well-led Scrum team will motivate all
                              the team members to work only on the customer backlog. But if Scrum
                              becomes a way of life in an organization, it seems to me that the
                              organization should admit that some people on some Scrum teams might
                              get distracted and want to do something else some of the time. If
                              they can't do it at work, they will do it at home. 3M provides a
                              simple mechanism to allow everyone some slack, so they can follow
                              their passions at work, and in exchange, the company cashes in on
                              the results.

                              So I would argue that allowing (not scheduling, allowing) slack in
                              everyone's normal schedule, instead of expecting everyone to be
                              100%
                              committed to what their management wants them to do, is a good
                              thing.


                              --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Mike Beedle" <beedlem@e...> wrote:
                              >
                              > One of the promises that we make in Scrum is focus and
                              > commitment of every resources in delivering software
                              > according to the customer priorities. And the customer
                              > priorities are kept in the prioritized product backlog.
                              >
                              > So this would be difficult, but maybe not impossible in
                              > a traditional Scrum team.
                              >
                              > Paul's sabbatical would be more feasible, as long as the
                              > team member on sabbatical is _not_ in the Scrum team, he/she
                              > may spend time doing something else without dragging
                              > anyone with him/her,
                              >
                              > - Mike
                            • Mike Cohn
                              I ve dealt with this two ways in the past: 1) allowing teams to take every Friday afternoon for use in pursuing any company they want *except* work on
                              Message 14 of 29 , Feb 9, 2002
                              • 0 Attachment

                                I’ve dealt with this two ways in the past:

                                1)       allowing teams to take every Friday afternoon for use in pursuing any company they want *except* work on the main project to which they are assigned (whether Scrum-managed or not). This works well because it gives each person about 10% of their time to spend on any wild ideas they want. I’ve had individuals use this time for reading, for learning new languages, for “study groups” to go over important books in detail, to write magazine articles, etc. I don’t allow people to use the time to work on items in the current sprint backlog because sometimes that leads to peer pressure that forces others to work on the backlog.

                                2)       There is almost always some “friction” or slow time between sprints at some point on a project. In a typically well-run project there might be 3 – 4 sprints that can follow one right after another but usually after that you hit a period where somebody isn’t really ready for a new round of sprints (or they’re barely ready). A lot of times this will be the product management group (or whatever group in an organization defines the backlog/requirements). They may need to go do research with customers (that should have been done sooner) or such and there is a period where the team just doesn’t need to go full speed on the project. This is a great time to encourage people to get creative with how they spend their time.

                                 

                                Also, a fairly relevant question in all of this is whether most developers (programmers and otherwise) will come up with “new products” when left to their own devices for 15% of their time. It sounds like a small percentage of time but it’s not really and I’m not really sure it pays off to the benefits of a business to have every employee spend that much time “away” from mainline work.

                                 

                                In terms of just plain including slack in a schedule, that is very much a necessity but it’s different from telling people to spend 15% of their time on whatever they want. Every team is of course different so percentages are somewhat meaningless but I typically encourage a team to target around 60-70% occupied when they move items into a sprint backlog. So: if the sprint is 20 days * 8 hours that is 160 hours. I’ll encourage teams to pull in about 100 hours each of identified backlog. The rest is spent on whatever else takes up that team’s day (meetings, email, washing my car, etc.) but it also puts them into a mode right off where there isn’t undue pressure that leads to shortcuts. This is different from commitment to the project, though. The team is expected to be committed to the project 100% but slack is allowed in their schedules because they are all trusted to know how best to spend that time.  DeMarco’s latest book, “Slack” appropriately enough, is pretty good on the subject but gets pretty repetitious by the end.

                                 

                                --Mike

                                 

                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
                                Sent:
                                Saturday, February 09, 2002 9:14 AM
                                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

                                 

                                When people go home from work, they coach their kids sports or
                                volunteer at church or train for triathlons or engage in other
                                passions.  We certainly don't expect them to give this up for
                                work,
                                except maybe temporarily in a crisis.  Some people come home from
                                working on a Scrum team and work on some Open Source code or put
                                together a database for a boy scout troop, and so on.  The point of
                                the 15% rule is that people who get passionate about something other
                                than their regular jobs (but related to their company interests) are
                                encouraged to pursue the idea while on the job.  By leveraging this
                                kind of passion, 3M gets hundreds of new products every year.

                                I wonder how we can expect every member of a Scrum team to be
                                totally committed to do nothing but work on the backlog over the
                                several months a project might run.  It seems rather pretentious to
                                assume this.  I suspect that a well-led Scrum team will motivate all
                                the team members to work only on the customer backlog.  But if Scrum
                                becomes a way of life in an organization, it seems to me that the
                                organization should admit that some people on some Scrum teams might
                                get distracted and want to do something else some of the time. If
                                they can't do it at work, they will do it at home.  3M provides a
                                simple mechanism to allow everyone some slack, so they can follow
                                their passions at work, and in exchange, the company cashes in on
                                the results.

                                So I would argue that allowing (not scheduling, allowing) slack in
                                everyone's
                                normal schedule, instead of expecting everyone to be

                                100%
                                committed
                                to what their management wants them to do, is a good

                                thing. 

                                 

                              • mpoppendieck
                                I like your idea of Friday afternoon slack time. On the other hand, as you noted, not everyone has something they want to pursue during such time. That s why
                                Message 15 of 29 , Feb 9, 2002
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  I like your idea of Friday afternoon slack time. On the other hand,
                                  as you noted, not everyone has something they want to pursue during
                                  such time. That's why at 3M it is 'allowable' to charge 'up to' 15%
                                  of your time on something outside your regular assignment. In
                                  actual practice, at any given time, only a few people actually do
                                  this. So if slack time is scheduled for everyone, you may loose
                                  more time than you can afford.

                                  I am reading between the lines a possible assumption that everyone
                                  must work the same hours as everyone else on the team. Is this
                                  considered necessary? Is there a problem with someone taking the
                                  odd afternoon off to do something else, or leaving for an unrelated
                                  meeting here and there? Is there a problem with someone coming in
                                  at 7 and leaving at 4, while someone else comes in at 10 and leaves
                                  at 7 (both on a regular basis)?


                                  --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Mike Cohn" <mike@m...> wrote:
                                  > I've dealt with this two ways in the past:
                                  > 1) allowing teams to take every Friday afternoon for use in
                                  > pursuing any company they want *except* work on the main project to
                                  > which they are assigned (whether Scrum-managed or not). This works
                                  well
                                  > because it gives each person about 10% of their time to spend on
                                  any
                                  > wild ideas they want. I've had individuals use this time for
                                  reading,
                                  > for learning new languages, for "study groups" to go over important
                                  > books in detail, to write magazine articles, etc. I don't allow
                                  people
                                  > to use the time to work on items in the current sprint backlog
                                  because
                                  > sometimes that leads to peer pressure that forces others to work
                                  on the
                                  > backlog.
                                  > 2) There is almost always some "friction" or slow time
                                  between
                                  > sprints at some point on a project. In a typically well-run project
                                  > there might be 3 - 4 sprints that can follow one right after
                                  another but
                                  > usually after that you hit a period where somebody isn't really
                                  ready
                                  > for a new round of sprints (or they're barely ready). A lot of
                                  times
                                  > this will be the product management group (or whatever group in an
                                  > organization defines the backlog/requirements). They may need to
                                  go do
                                  > research with customers (that should have been done sooner) or
                                  such and
                                  > there is a period where the team just doesn't need to go full
                                  speed on
                                  > the project. This is a great time to encourage people to get
                                  creative
                                  > with how they spend their time.
                                  >
                                  > Also, a fairly relevant question in all of this is whether most
                                  > developers (programmers and otherwise) will come up with "new
                                  products"
                                  > when left to their own devices for 15% of their time. It sounds
                                  like a
                                  > small percentage of time but it's not really and I'm not really
                                  sure it
                                  > pays off to the benefits of a business to have every employee
                                  spend that
                                  > much time "away" from mainline work.
                                  >
                                  > In terms of just plain including slack in a schedule, that is very
                                  much
                                  > a necessity but it's different from telling people to spend 15% of
                                  their
                                  > time on whatever they want. Every team is of course different so
                                  > percentages are somewhat meaningless but I typically encourage a
                                  team to
                                  > target around 60-70% occupied when they move items into a sprint
                                  > backlog. So: if the sprint is 20 days * 8 hours that is 160 hours.
                                  I'll
                                  > encourage teams to pull in about 100 hours each of identified
                                  backlog.
                                  > The rest is spent on whatever else takes up that team's day
                                  (meetings,
                                  > email, washing my car, etc.) but it also puts them into a mode
                                  right off
                                  > where there isn't undue pressure that leads to shortcuts. This is
                                  > different from commitment to the project, though. The team is
                                  expected
                                  > to be committed to the project 100% but slack is allowed in their
                                  > schedules because they are all trusted to know how best to spend
                                  that
                                  > time. DeMarco's latest book, "Slack" appropriately enough, is
                                  pretty
                                  > good on the subject but gets pretty repetitious by the end.
                                  >
                                  > --Mike
                                  >
                                • Paul
                                  You just took a good idea and made it a bad one. I really don t like this arm-twisting idea that every Friday you will work on something outside of your
                                  Message 16 of 29 , Feb 9, 2002
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    You just took a good idea and made it a bad one. I
                                    really don't like this arm-twisting idea that every
                                    Friday you will work on something outside of your
                                    project. What happens when spring goals are not being
                                    met? The better idea was 3M which leaves the decision
                                    up to the individual who has other commitments (
                                    Sprint Goals ).

                                    -- Paul


                                    --- Mike Cohn <mike@...> wrote:
                                    > I've dealt with this two ways in the past:
                                    > 1) allowing teams to take every Friday
                                    > afternoon for use in
                                    > pursuing any company they want *except* work on the
                                    > main project to
                                    > which they are assigned (whether Scrum-managed or
                                    > not). This works well
                                    > because it gives each person about 10% of their time
                                    > to spend on any
                                    > wild ideas they want. I've had individuals use this
                                    > time for reading,
                                    > for learning new languages, for "study groups" to go
                                    > over important
                                    > books in detail, to write magazine articles, etc. I
                                    > don't allow people
                                    > to use the time to work on items in the current
                                    > sprint backlog because
                                    > sometimes that leads to peer pressure that forces
                                    > others to work on the
                                    > backlog.
                                    > 2) There is almost always some "friction" or
                                    > slow time between
                                    > sprints at some point on a project. In a typically
                                    > well-run project
                                    > there might be 3 - 4 sprints that can follow one
                                    > right after another but
                                    > usually after that you hit a period where somebody
                                    > isn't really ready
                                    > for a new round of sprints (or they're barely
                                    > ready). A lot of times
                                    > this will be the product management group (or
                                    > whatever group in an
                                    > organization defines the backlog/requirements). They
                                    > may need to go do
                                    > research with customers (that should have been done
                                    > sooner) or such and
                                    > there is a period where the team just doesn't need
                                    > to go full speed on
                                    > the project. This is a great time to encourage
                                    > people to get creative
                                    > with how they spend their time.
                                    >
                                    > Also, a fairly relevant question in all of this is
                                    > whether most
                                    > developers (programmers and otherwise) will come up
                                    > with "new products"
                                    > when left to their own devices for 15% of their
                                    > time. It sounds like a
                                    > small percentage of time but it's not really and I'm
                                    > not really sure it
                                    > pays off to the benefits of a business to have every
                                    > employee spend that
                                    > much time "away" from mainline work.
                                    >
                                    > In terms of just plain including slack in a
                                    > schedule, that is very much
                                    > a necessity but it's different from telling people
                                    > to spend 15% of their
                                    > time on whatever they want. Every team is of course
                                    > different so
                                    > percentages are somewhat meaningless but I typically
                                    > encourage a team to
                                    > target around 60-70% occupied when they move items
                                    > into a sprint
                                    > backlog. So: if the sprint is 20 days * 8 hours that
                                    > is 160 hours. I'll
                                    > encourage teams to pull in about 100 hours each of
                                    > identified backlog.
                                    > The rest is spent on whatever else takes up that
                                    > team's day (meetings,
                                    > email, washing my car, etc.) but it also puts them
                                    > into a mode right off
                                    > where there isn't undue pressure that leads to
                                    > shortcuts. This is
                                    > different from commitment to the project, though.
                                    > The team is expected
                                    > to be committed to the project 100% but slack is
                                    > allowed in their
                                    > schedules because they are all trusted to know how
                                    > best to spend that
                                    > time. DeMarco's latest book, "Slack" appropriately
                                    > enough, is pretty
                                    > good on the subject but gets pretty repetitious by
                                    > the end.
                                    >
                                    > --Mike
                                    >
                                    > -----Original Message-----
                                    > From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
                                    > Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 9:14 AM
                                    > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                    > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department
                                    >
                                    > When people go home from work, they coach their kids
                                    > sports or
                                    > volunteer at church or train for triathlons or
                                    > engage in other
                                    > passions. We certainly don't expect them to give
                                    > this up for
                                    > work,
                                    > except maybe temporarily in a crisis. Some people
                                    > come home from
                                    > working on a Scrum team and work on some Open Source
                                    > code or put
                                    > together a database for a boy scout troop, and so
                                    > on. The point of
                                    > the 15% rule is that people who get passionate about
                                    > something other
                                    > than their regular jobs (but related to their
                                    > company interests) are
                                    > encouraged to pursue the idea while on the job. By
                                    > leveraging this
                                    > kind of passion, 3M gets hundreds of new products
                                    > every year.
                                    >
                                    > I wonder how we can expect every member of a Scrum
                                    > team to be
                                    > totally committed to do nothing but work on the
                                    > backlog over the
                                    > several months a project might run. It seems rather
                                    > pretentious to
                                    > assume this. I suspect that a well-led Scrum team
                                    > will motivate all
                                    > the team members to work only on the customer
                                    > backlog. But if Scrum
                                    > becomes a way of life in an organization, it seems
                                    > to me that the
                                    > organization should admit that some people on some
                                    > Scrum teams might
                                    > get distracted and want to do something else some of
                                    > the time. If
                                    > they can't do it at work, they will do it at home.
                                    > 3M provides a
                                    > simple mechanism to allow everyone some slack, so
                                    > they can follow
                                    > their passions at work, and in exchange, the company
                                    > cashes in on
                                    > the results.
                                    >
                                    > So I would argue that allowing (not scheduling,
                                    > allowing) slack in
                                    > everyone's normal schedule, instead of expecting
                                    > everyone to be
                                    > 100%
                                    > committed to what their management wants them to do,
                                    > is a good
                                    > thing.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >


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                                  • Mike Cohn
                                    Personally, I ve always let people work the hours they want unless some big wig tells me I can t allow that. Many of the companies I ve worked with-especially
                                    Message 17 of 29 , Feb 9, 2002
                                    • 0 Attachment

                                      Personally, I’ve always let people work the hours they want unless some big wig tells me I can’t allow that. Many of the companies I’ve worked with—especially over the past 7 years—have been distributed across more than one time zone. At that point it’s irrelevant when people work or are in the office. In practice I never really care when people take their time off the mainline project. “Friday afternoon” was more symbolic than anything else. Certainly if someone wanted to attend a product user’s group meeting or such out of the office I’ve encouraged that whenever it was scheduled. The idea was to have the person spend some company time doing things that indirectly, rather than directly, benefit the project. Reading magazines, articles, web sites, etc. all count in that direction. Similarly, I’ve pushed programmers to attend conferences that are outside their normal realm in the past because I think these help encourage creative problem-solving. For example, I’ve sent C++ programmers to Eiffel conferences even though that company had no possibility of doing Eiffel programming. It just helps people learn to approach problems differently. That’s a good benefit to encouraging time away from the mainline project.

                                       

                                      -----Original Message-----
                                      From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
                                      Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 1:16 PM
                                      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

                                       

                                      I like your idea of Friday afternoon slack time.  On the other hand,
                                      as you noted, not everyone has something they want to pursue during
                                      such time.  That's why at 3M it is 'allowable' to charge 'up to' 15%
                                      of your time on something outside your regular assignment.  In
                                      actual practice, at any given time, only a few people actually do
                                      this.  So if slack time is scheduled for everyone, you may loose
                                      more time than you can afford.

                                      I am reading between the lines a possible assumption that everyone
                                      must work the same hours as everyone else on the team.  Is this
                                      considered necessary?  Is there a problem with someone taking the
                                      odd afternoon off to do something else, or leaving for an unrelated
                                      meeting here and there?  Is there a problem with someone coming in
                                      at 7 and leaving at 4, while someone else comes in at 10 and leaves
                                      at 7 (both on a regular basis)?


                                      --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Mike Cohn" <mike@m...> wrote:
                                      > I've dealt with this two ways in the past:
                                      > 1)       allowing teams to take every Friday afternoon for use in
                                      > pursuing any company they want *except* work on the main project to
                                      > which they are assigned (whether Scrum-managed or not). This works
                                      well
                                      > because it gives each person about 10% of their time to spend on
                                      any
                                      > wild ideas they want. I've had individuals use this time for
                                      reading,
                                      > for learning new languages, for "study groups" to go over important
                                      > books in detail, to write magazine articles, etc. I don't allow
                                      people
                                      > to use the time to work on items in the current sprint backlog
                                      because
                                      > sometimes that leads to peer pressure that forces others to work
                                      on the
                                      > backlog.
                                      > 2)       There is almost always some "friction" or slow time
                                      between
                                      > sprints at some point on a project. In a typically well-run project
                                      > there might be 3 - 4 sprints that can follow one right after
                                      another but
                                      > usually after that you hit a period where somebody isn't really
                                      ready
                                      > for a new round of sprints (or they're barely ready). A lot of
                                      times
                                      > this will be the product management group (or whatever group in an
                                      > organization defines the backlog/requirements). They may need to
                                      go do
                                      > research with customers (that should have been done sooner) or
                                      such and
                                      > there is a period where the team just doesn't need to go full
                                      speed on
                                      > the project. This is a great time to encourage people to get
                                      creative
                                      > with how they spend their time.

                                      > Also, a fairly relevant question in all of this is whether most
                                      > developers (programmers and otherwise) will come up with "new
                                      products"
                                      > when left to their own devices for 15% of their time. It sounds
                                      like a
                                      > small percentage of time but it's not really and I'm not really
                                      sure it
                                      > pays off to the benefits of a business to have every employee
                                      spend that
                                      > much time "away" from mainline work.

                                      > In terms of just plain including slack in a schedule, that is very
                                      much
                                      > a necessity but it's different from telling people to spend 15% of
                                      their
                                      > time on whatever they want. Every team is of course different so
                                      > percentages are somewhat meaningless but I typically encourage a
                                      team to
                                      > target around 60-70% occupied when they move items into a sprint
                                      > backlog. So: if the sprint is 20 days * 8 hours that is 160 hours.
                                      I'll
                                      > encourage teams to pull in about 100 hours each of identified
                                      backlog.
                                      > The rest is spent on whatever else takes up that team's day
                                      (meetings,
                                      > email, washing my car, etc.) but it also puts them into a mode
                                      right off
                                      > where there isn't undue pressure that leads to shortcuts. This is
                                      > different from commitment to the project, though. The team is
                                      expected
                                      > to be committed to the project 100% but slack is allowed in their
                                      > schedules because they are all trusted to know how best to spend
                                      that
                                      > time.  DeMarco's latest book, "Slack" appropriately enough, is
                                      pretty
                                      > good on the subject but gets pretty repetitious by the end.

                                      > --Mike





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                                    • Mike Cohn
                                      You re right-there can be problems with telling individuals on a team that the Friday afternoon should or must be spent off the project. I ve never had a
                                      Message 18 of 29 , Feb 9, 2002
                                      • 0 Attachment

                                        You’re right—there can be problems with telling individuals on a team that the Friday afternoon “should” or “must” be spent off the project. I’ve never had a programmer consider it “arm-twisting” though. Usually what happens is that the programmer knows that Friday afternoon is his for anything remotely related to work as long as he has made respectable progress on his assignments and almost every programmer I’ve worked with will do whatever they can to be able to have that time for pursuing their own special interests.

                                         

                                        Of course I’ve never truly forced a programmer not to work on the main project and work on outside things. If a project is behind, desperately needs a few hours, or was going to be in a position where people were going to come in over the weekend (rather voluntarily or not) it would be criminal to tell people not to code on Friday but to be in on Saturday. My comment about telling people that I don’t want them to work on the mainline task is more to fully get the point across that they are not going to impress me with their dedication or commitment by working on the project on Friday afternoon in most cases. With most developers it is very hard to convince them of your sincerity when you tell them you would really rather have them with their feet pitched up reading a good book or contributing to an open source project or such for that few hours a week.

                                         

                                        Also, I want to be clear that I started my comment with “I’ve dealt with this two ways in the past…”.  While I think giving people dedicated time to pursue beneficial tasks outside the mainline project it is not how I’ve been doing it with teams over the past few years. I actually find it much better to just underallocate tasks to the sprint and establish a culture where people know it is OK to spend a little time each week (as appropriate, depending on where the project is and how the sprint is going) on unplanned tasks. However, it is not easy to establish this as part of the culture in most organizations, usually there’s a CEO or CFO or someone who walks around asking “why isn’t Johnny coding?”

                                         

                                        -----Original Message-----
                                        From: Paul [mailto:horked_noodle@...]
                                        Sent
                                        : Saturday, February 09, 2002 1:43 PM
                                        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                        Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

                                         

                                        You just took a good idea and made it a bad one.  I
                                        really don't like this arm-twisting idea that every
                                        Friday you will work on something outside of your
                                        project.  What happens when spring goals are not being
                                        met?  The better idea was 3M which leaves the decision
                                        up to the individual who has other commitments (
                                        Sprint Goals ).

                                            -- Paul


                                        --- Mike Cohn <mike@...> wrote:
                                        > I've dealt with this two ways in the past:
                                        > 1)       allowing teams to take every Friday
                                        > afternoon for use in
                                        > pursuing any company they want *except* work on the
                                        > main project to
                                        > which they are assigned (whether Scrum-managed or
                                        > not). This works well
                                        > because it gives each person about 10% of their time
                                        > to spend on any
                                        > wild ideas they want. I've had individuals use this
                                        > time for reading,
                                        > for learning new languages, for "study groups" to go
                                        > over important
                                        > books in detail, to write magazine articles, etc. I
                                        > don't allow people
                                        > to use the time to work on items in the current
                                        > sprint backlog because
                                        > sometimes that leads to peer pressure that forces
                                        > others to work on the
                                        > backlog.
                                        > 2)       There is almost always some "friction" or
                                        > slow time between
                                        > sprints at some point on a project. In a typically
                                        > well-run project
                                        > there might be 3 - 4 sprints that can follow one
                                        > right after another but
                                        > usually after that you hit a period where somebody
                                        > isn't really ready
                                        > for a new round of sprints (or they're barely
                                        > ready). A lot of times
                                        > this will be the product management group (or
                                        > whatever group in an
                                        > organization defines the backlog/requirements). They
                                        > may need to go do
                                        > research with customers (that should have been done
                                        > sooner) or such and
                                        > there is a period where the team just doesn't need
                                        > to go full speed on
                                        > the project. This is a great time to encourage
                                        > people to get creative
                                        > with how they spend their time.

                                        > Also, a fairly relevant question in all of this is
                                        > whether most
                                        > developers (programmers and otherwise) will come up
                                        > with "new products"
                                        > when left to their own devices for 15% of their
                                        > time. It sounds like a
                                        > small percentage of time but it's not really and I'm
                                        > not really sure it
                                        > pays off to the benefits of a business to have every
                                        > employee spend that
                                        > much time "away" from mainline work.

                                        > In terms of just plain including slack in a
                                        > schedule, that is very much
                                        > a necessity but it's different from telling people
                                        > to spend 15% of their
                                        > time on whatever they want. Every team is of course
                                        > different so
                                        > percentages are somewhat meaningless but I typically
                                        > encourage a team to
                                        > target around 60-70% occupied when they move items
                                        > into a sprint
                                        > backlog. So: if the sprint is 20 days * 8 hours that
                                        > is 160 hours. I'll
                                        > encourage teams to pull in about 100 hours each of
                                        > identified backlog.
                                        > The rest is spent on whatever else takes up that
                                        > team's day (meetings,
                                        > email, washing my car, etc.) but it also puts them
                                        > into a mode right off
                                        > where there isn't undue pressure that leads to
                                        > shortcuts. This is
                                        > different from commitment to the project, though.
                                        > The team is expected
                                        > to be committed to the project 100% but slack is
                                        > allowed in their
                                        > schedules because they are all trusted to know how
                                        > best to spend that
                                        > time.  DeMarco's latest book, "Slack" appropriately
                                        > enough, is pretty
                                        > good on the subject but gets pretty repetitious by
                                        > the end.

                                        > --Mike

                                        > -----Original Message-----
                                        > From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
                                        > Sent:
                                        Saturday, February 09, 2002 9:14 AM
                                        > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                        > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

                                        > When people go home from work, they coach their kids
                                        > sports or
                                        > volunteer at church or train for triathlons or
                                        > engage in other
                                        > passions.  We certainly don't expect them to give
                                        > this up for
                                        > work,
                                        > except maybe temporarily in a crisis.  Some people
                                        > come home from
                                        > working on a Scrum team and work on some Open Source
                                        > code or put
                                        > together a database for a boy scout troop, and so
                                        > on.  The point of
                                        > the 15% rule is that people who get passionate about
                                        > something other
                                        > than their regular jobs (but related to their
                                        > company interests) are
                                        > encouraged to pursue the idea while on the job.  By
                                        > leveraging this
                                        > kind of passion, 3M gets hundreds of new products
                                        > every year.
                                        >
                                        > I wonder how we can expect every member of a Scrum
                                        > team to be
                                        > totally committed to do nothing but work on the
                                        > backlog over the
                                        > several months a project might run.  It seems rather
                                        > pretentious to
                                        > assume this.  I suspect that a well-led Scrum team
                                        > will motivate all
                                        > the team members to work only on the customer
                                        > backlog.  But if Scrum
                                        > becomes a way of life in an organization, it seems
                                        > to me that the
                                        > organization should admit that some people on some
                                        > Scrum teams might
                                        > get distracted and want to do something else some of
                                        > the time. If
                                        > they can't do it at work, they will do it at home.
                                        > 3M provides a
                                        > simple mechanism to allow everyone some slack, so
                                        > they can follow
                                        > their passions at work, and in exchange, the company
                                        > cashes in on
                                        > the results.
                                        >
                                        > So I would argue that allowing (not scheduling,
                                        > allowing) slack in
                                        > everyone's normal schedule, instead of expecting
                                        > everyone to be
                                        > 100%
                                        > committed to what their management wants them to do,
                                        > is a good
                                        > thing. 
                                        >

                                        >


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                                      • mpoppendieck
                                        ... team ... project. ... Usually ... his ... respectable ... worked with ... main ... desperately ... were ... would ... to work ... they are ... working ...
                                        Message 19 of 29 , Feb 10, 2002
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Mike Cohn" <mike@m...> wrote:
                                          > You're right-there can be problems with telling individuals on a
                                          team
                                          > that the Friday afternoon "should" or "must" be spent off the
                                          project.
                                          > I've never had a programmer consider it "arm-twisting" though.
                                          Usually
                                          > what happens is that the programmer knows that Friday afternoon is
                                          his
                                          > for anything remotely related to work as long as he has made
                                          respectable
                                          > progress on his assignments and almost every programmer I've
                                          worked with
                                          > will do whatever they can to be able to have that time for pursuing
                                          > their own special interests.
                                          >
                                          > Of course I've never truly forced a programmer not to work on the
                                          main
                                          > project and work on outside things. If a project is behind,
                                          desperately
                                          > needs a few hours, or was going to be in a position where people
                                          were
                                          > going to come in over the weekend (rather voluntarily or not) it
                                          would
                                          > be criminal to tell people not to code on Friday but to be in on
                                          > Saturday. My comment about telling people that I don't want them
                                          to work
                                          > on the mainline task is more to fully get the point across that
                                          they are
                                          > not going to impress me with their dedication or commitment by
                                          working
                                          > on the project on Friday afternoon in most cases. With most
                                          developers
                                          > it is very hard to convince them of your sincerity when you tell
                                          them
                                          > you would really rather have them with their feet pitched up
                                          reading a
                                          > good book or contributing to an open source project or such for
                                          that few
                                          > hours a week.
                                          >
                                          > Also, I want to be clear that I started my comment with "I've
                                          dealt with
                                          > this two ways in the past.". While I think giving people
                                          dedicated time
                                          > to pursue beneficial tasks outside the mainline project it is not
                                          how
                                          > I've been doing it with teams over the past few years. I actually
                                          find
                                          > it much better to just underallocate tasks to the sprint and
                                          establish a
                                          > culture where people know it is OK to spend a little time each
                                          week (as
                                          > appropriate, depending on where the project is and how the sprint
                                          is
                                          > going) on unplanned tasks. However, it is not easy to establish
                                          this as
                                          > part of the culture in most organizations, usually there's a CEO
                                          or CFO
                                          > or someone who walks around asking "why isn't Johnny coding?"
                                          >
                                          > -----Original Message-----
                                          > From: Paul [mailto:horked_noodle@y...]
                                          > Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 1:43 PM
                                          > To: scrumdevelopment@y...
                                          > Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department
                                          >
                                          > You just took a good idea and made it a bad one. I
                                          > really don't like this arm-twisting idea that every
                                          > Friday you will work on something outside of your
                                          > project. What happens when spring goals are not being
                                          > met? The better idea was 3M which leaves the decision
                                          > up to the individual who has other commitments (
                                          > Sprint Goals ).
                                          >
                                          > -- Paul
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > --- Mike Cohn <mike@m...> wrote:
                                          > > I've dealt with this two ways in the past:
                                          > > 1) allowing teams to take every Friday
                                          > > afternoon for use in
                                          > > pursuing any company they want *except* work on the
                                          > > main project to
                                          > > which they are assigned (whether Scrum-managed or
                                          > > not). This works well
                                          > > because it gives each person about 10% of their time
                                          > > to spend on any
                                          > > wild ideas they want. I've had individuals use this
                                          > > time for reading,
                                          > > for learning new languages, for "study groups" to go
                                          > > over important
                                          > > books in detail, to write magazine articles, etc. I
                                          > > don't allow people
                                          > > to use the time to work on items in the current
                                          > > sprint backlog because
                                          > > sometimes that leads to peer pressure that forces
                                          > > others to work on the
                                          > > backlog.
                                          > > 2) There is almost always some "friction" or
                                          > > slow time between
                                          > > sprints at some point on a project. In a typically
                                          > > well-run project
                                          > > there might be 3 - 4 sprints that can follow one
                                          > > right after another but
                                          > > usually after that you hit a period where somebody
                                          > > isn't really ready
                                          > > for a new round of sprints (or they're barely
                                          > > ready). A lot of times
                                          > > this will be the product management group (or
                                          > > whatever group in an
                                          > > organization defines the backlog/requirements). They
                                          > > may need to go do
                                          > > research with customers (that should have been done
                                          > > sooner) or such and
                                          > > there is a period where the team just doesn't need
                                          > > to go full speed on
                                          > > the project. This is a great time to encourage
                                          > > people to get creative
                                          > > with how they spend their time.
                                          > >
                                          > > Also, a fairly relevant question in all of this is
                                          > > whether most
                                          > > developers (programmers and otherwise) will come up
                                          > > with "new products"
                                          > > when left to their own devices for 15% of their
                                          > > time. It sounds like a
                                          > > small percentage of time but it's not really and I'm
                                          > > not really sure it
                                          > > pays off to the benefits of a business to have every
                                          > > employee spend that
                                          > > much time "away" from mainline work.
                                          > >
                                          > > In terms of just plain including slack in a
                                          > > schedule, that is very much
                                          > > a necessity but it's different from telling people
                                          > > to spend 15% of their
                                          > > time on whatever they want. Every team is of course
                                          > > different so
                                          > > percentages are somewhat meaningless but I typically
                                          > > encourage a team to
                                          > > target around 60-70% occupied when they move items
                                          > > into a sprint
                                          > > backlog. So: if the sprint is 20 days * 8 hours that
                                          > > is 160 hours. I'll
                                          > > encourage teams to pull in about 100 hours each of
                                          > > identified backlog.
                                          > > The rest is spent on whatever else takes up that
                                          > > team's day (meetings,
                                          > > email, washing my car, etc.) but it also puts them
                                          > > into a mode right off
                                          > > where there isn't undue pressure that leads to
                                          > > shortcuts. This is
                                          > > different from commitment to the project, though.
                                          > > The team is expected
                                          > > to be committed to the project 100% but slack is
                                          > > allowed in their
                                          > > schedules because they are all trusted to know how
                                          > > best to spend that
                                          > > time. DeMarco's latest book, "Slack" appropriately
                                          > > enough, is pretty
                                          > > good on the subject but gets pretty repetitious by
                                          > > the end.
                                          > >
                                          > > --Mike
                                          > >
                                          > > -----Original Message-----
                                          > > From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@p...]
                                          > > Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 9:14 AM
                                          > > To: scrumdevelopment@y...
                                          > > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department
                                          > >
                                          > > When people go home from work, they coach their kids
                                          > > sports or
                                          > > volunteer at church or train for triathlons or
                                          > > engage in other
                                          > > passions. We certainly don't expect them to give
                                          > > this up for
                                          > > work,
                                          > > except maybe temporarily in a crisis. Some people
                                          > > come home from
                                          > > working on a Scrum team and work on some Open Source
                                          > > code or put
                                          > > together a database for a boy scout troop, and so
                                          > > on. The point of
                                          > > the 15% rule is that people who get passionate about
                                          > > something other
                                          > > than their regular jobs (but related to their
                                          > > company interests) are
                                          > > encouraged to pursue the idea while on the job. By
                                          > > leveraging this
                                          > > kind of passion, 3M gets hundreds of new products
                                          > > every year.
                                          > >
                                          > > I wonder how we can expect every member of a Scrum
                                          > > team to be
                                          > > totally committed to do nothing but work on the
                                          > > backlog over the
                                          > > several months a project might run. It seems rather
                                          > > pretentious to
                                          > > assume this. I suspect that a well-led Scrum team
                                          > > will motivate all
                                          > > the team members to work only on the customer
                                          > > backlog. But if Scrum
                                          > > becomes a way of life in an organization, it seems
                                          > > to me that the
                                          > > organization should admit that some people on some
                                          > > Scrum teams might
                                          > > get distracted and want to do something else some of
                                          > > the time. If
                                          > > they can't do it at work, they will do it at home.
                                          > > 3M provides a
                                          > > simple mechanism to allow everyone some slack, so
                                          > > they can follow
                                          > > their passions at work, and in exchange, the company
                                          > > cashes in on
                                          > > the results.
                                          > >
                                          > > So I would argue that allowing (not scheduling,
                                          > > allowing) slack in
                                          > > everyone's normal schedule, instead of expecting
                                          > > everyone to be
                                          > > 100%
                                          > > committed to what their management wants them to do,
                                          > > is a good
                                          > > thing.
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          >
                                          >
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                                        • Paul Clanton
                                          With Mary’s subsequent clarification, I agree that the difference is significant. The way I’ve treated the sabbatical in the past is pretty much as
                                          Message 20 of 29 , Feb 11, 2002
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                                            With Mary’s subsequent clarification, I agree that the difference is significant.  The way I’ve treated the sabbatical in the past is pretty much as you’ve described it, namely outside the team and outside the backlogs for a concentrated stretch.

                                             

                                            -----Original Message-----
                                            From: Mike Beedle [mailto:beedlem@...]
                                            Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 2:01 AM
                                            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                            Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

                                             

                                            Paul Clanton wrote:

                                            > In comparing Mary’s 3M approach and the sabbatical
                                            >idea I raised, I think the differences are
                                            >superficial.  I suggested a two-week (i.e., 4%)
                                            >sabbatical _at least_ once a year.  This does
                                            >not preclude spending 15% (i.e., 7.5 weeks).
                                            >I am not sure how 3M expects this time to be
                                            >allocated (e.g., continuous on a daily basis
                                            >or in chunks) but I personally favor chunking
                                            >it up.  After all, continuous, short, uninterrupted
                                            >work is the essence of Scrum.  Moreover, this
                                            >gives people time to recharge their work batteries
                                            >just as a vacation gives them time to recharge
                                            >their personal batteries.

                                            Paul,

                                            Sorry I didn't get the same idea after Mary's
                                            clarification:

                                            Isn't the sabbatical outside the team and
                                            the 15%-exploratory inside the team as Mary
                                            described it?

                                            (meta-comment "Here is my Scrum-centric mind
                                            taking over my hands.")

                                            This difference is significant.  In Scrum, we
                                            promise that the team will be focused and committed
                                            and that it won't be working on anything else except
                                            the Sprint Backlog, (which of course came from the
                                            Product Backlog, and therefore came from
                                            Customer's priorities).

                                            I am starting to think the sabbatical is more
                                            compatible with Scrum, if the activities are
                                            not related to the customer's needs.

                                            OTOH, if they are, they should be in the Product
                                            Backlog, and prioritized and assigned to Sprint
                                            Backlog like any other task,

                                            - Mike



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                                          • Paul Clanton
                                            I think Mike s just touched on one of the major issues. All the good ideas we have been tossing around (and they _are_ all good) depend heavily on the culture
                                            Message 21 of 29 , Feb 11, 2002
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                                              I think Mike’s just touched on one of the major issues.  All the good ideas we have been tossing around (and they _are_ all good) depend heavily on the culture of the organization.  What works in one organization may not work in another.  3M’s 15% works because it’s a part of their culture.  The sabbatical worked for me because it fit the culture of the organization I’d worked for at the time.  Mike’s Friday afternoon idea worked with the culture at one place but not another. 

                                               

                                              We’re really talking about encouraging innovation.  If the culture doesn’t support innovation then none of what we’re talking about may be possible.  In this case, I would suggest either working very hard to change that culture or starting to look for another job before the company folds!  On the other hand, if the company does support innovation, one of these approaches may be a good solution.

                                               

                                              I personally favor the sabbatical approach for the same reasons that I find Scrum works well for me, namely that it promotes a concentrated, uninterrupted time for people to become immersed in something.  However, the central theme is encouraging innovation by allowing people time to do something outside of their regular project tasks and that’s more important than the mechanics.  Find something that works and consistently push at it.

                                               

                                              -----Original Message-----
                                              From: Mike Cohn [mailto:mike@...]
                                              Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 4:15 PM
                                              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                              Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

                                               

                                              You’re right—there can be problems with telling individuals on a team that the Friday afternoon “should” or “must” be spent off the project. I’ve never had a programmer consider it “arm-twisting” though. Usually what happens is that the programmer knows that Friday afternoon is his for anything remotely related to work as long as he has made respectable progress on his assignments and almost every programmer I’ve worked with will do whatever they can to be able to have that time for pursuing their own special interests.

                                               

                                              Of course I’ve never truly forced a programmer not to work on the main project and work on outside things. If a project is behind, desperately needs a few hours, or was going to be in a position where people were going to come in over the weekend (rather voluntarily or not) it would be criminal to tell people not to code on Friday but to be in on Saturday. My comment about telling people that I don’t want them to work on the mainline task is more to fully get the point across that they are not going to impress me with their dedication or commitment by working on the project on Friday afternoon in most cases. With most developers it is very hard to convince them of your sincerity when you tell them you would really rather have them with their feet pitched up reading a good book or contributing to an open source project or such for that few hours a week.

                                               

                                              Also, I want to be clear that I started my comment with “I’ve dealt with this two ways in the past…”.  While I think giving people dedicated time to pursue beneficial tasks outside the mainline project it is not how I’ve been doing it with teams over the past few years. I actually find it much better to just underallocate tasks to the sprint and establish a culture where people know it is OK to spend a little time each week (as appropriate, depending on where the project is and how the sprint is going) on unplanned tasks. However, it is not easy to establish this as part of the culture in most organizations, usually there’s a CEO or CFO or someone who walks around asking “why isn’t Johnny coding?”

                                               

                                              -----Original Message-----
                                              From: Paul [mailto:horked_noodle@...]
                                              Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 1:43 PM
                                              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                              Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

                                               

                                              You just took a good idea and made it a bad one.  I
                                              really don't like this arm-twisting idea that every
                                              Friday you will work on something outside of your
                                              project.  What happens when spring goals are not being
                                              met?  The better idea was 3M which leaves the decision
                                              up to the individual who has other commitments (
                                              Sprint Goals ).

                                                  -- Paul


                                              --- Mike Cohn <mike@...> wrote:

                                              > I've dealt with this two ways in the past:
                                              > 1)       allowing teams to take every
                                              Friday
                                              > afternoon for use in
                                              > pursuing any company they want *except* work on the
                                              > main project to
                                              > which they are assigned (whether Scrum-managed or
                                              > not). This works well
                                              > because it gives each person about 10% of their time
                                              > to spend on any
                                              > wild ideas they want. I've had individuals use this
                                              > time for reading,
                                              > for learning new languages, for "study groups" to go
                                              > over important
                                              > books in detail, to write magazine articles, etc. I
                                              > don't allow people
                                              > to use the time to work on items in the current
                                              > sprint backlog because
                                              > sometimes that leads to peer pressure that forces
                                              > others to work on the
                                              > backlog.
                                              > 2)       There is almost always some
                                              "friction" or
                                              > slow time between
                                              > sprints at some point on a project. In a typically
                                              > well-run project
                                              > there might be 3 - 4 sprints that can follow one
                                              > right after another but
                                              > usually after that you hit a period where somebody
                                              > isn't really ready
                                              > for a new round of sprints (or they're barely
                                              > ready). A lot of times
                                              > this will be the product management group (or
                                              > whatever group in an
                                              > organization defines the backlog/requirements). They
                                              > may need to go do
                                              > research with customers (that should have been done
                                              > sooner) or such and
                                              > there is a period where the team just doesn't need
                                              > to go full speed on
                                              > the project. This is a great time to encourage
                                              > people to get creative
                                              > with how they spend their time.

                                              > Also, a fairly relevant question in all of this is
                                              > whether most
                                              > developers (programmers and otherwise) will come up
                                              > with "new products"
                                              > when left to their own devices for 15% of their
                                              > time. It sounds like a
                                              > small percentage of time but it's not really and I'm
                                              > not really sure it
                                              > pays off to the benefits of a business to have every
                                              > employee spend that
                                              > much time "away" from mainline work.

                                              > In terms of just plain including slack in a
                                              > schedule, that is very much
                                              > a necessity but it's different from telling people
                                              > to spend 15% of their
                                              > time on whatever they want. Every team is of course
                                              > different so
                                              > percentages are somewhat meaningless but I typically
                                              > encourage a team to
                                              > target around 60-70% occupied when they move items
                                              > into a sprint
                                              > backlog. So: if the sprint is 20 days * 8 hours that
                                              > is 160 hours. I'll
                                              > encourage teams to pull in about 100 hours each of
                                              > identified backlog.
                                              > The rest is spent on whatever else takes up that
                                              > team's day (meetings,
                                              > email, washing my car, etc.) but it also puts them
                                              > into a mode right off
                                              > where there isn't undue pressure that leads to
                                              > shortcuts. This is
                                              > different from commitment to the project, though.
                                              > The team is expected
                                              > to be committed to the project 100% but slack is
                                              > allowed in their
                                              > schedules because they are all trusted to know how
                                              > best to spend that
                                              > time.  DeMarco's latest book, "Slack" appropriately
                                              > enough, is pretty
                                              > good on the subject but gets pretty repetitious by
                                              > the end.

                                              > --Mike

                                              > -----Original Message-----
                                              > From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
                                              > Sent: Saturday, February 09,
                                              2002 9:14 AM
                                              > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                              > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

                                              > When people go home from work, they coach their kids
                                              > sports or
                                              > volunteer at church or train for triathlons or
                                              > engage in other
                                              > passions.  We certainly don't expect them to give
                                              > this up for
                                              > work,
                                              > except maybe temporarily in a crisis.  Some people
                                              > come home from
                                              > working on a Scrum team and work on some Open Source
                                              > code or put
                                              > together a database for a boy scout troop, and so
                                              > on.  The point of
                                              > the 15% rule is that people who get passionate about
                                              > something other
                                              > than their regular jobs (but related to their
                                              > company interests) are
                                              > encouraged to pursue the idea while on the job.  By
                                              > leveraging this
                                              > kind of passion, 3M gets hundreds of new products
                                              > every year.
                                              >
                                              > I wonder how we can expect every member of a Scrum
                                              > team to be
                                              > totally committed to do nothing but work on the
                                              > backlog over the
                                              > several months a project might run.  It seems rather
                                              > pretentious to
                                              > assume this.  I suspect that a well-led Scrum team
                                              > will motivate all
                                              > the team members to work only on the customer
                                              > backlog.  But if Scrum
                                              > becomes a way of life in an organization, it seems
                                              > to me that the
                                              > organization should admit that some people on some
                                              > Scrum teams might
                                              > get distracted and want to do something else some of
                                              > the time. If
                                              > they can't do it at work, they will do it at home.
                                              > 3M provides a
                                              > simple mechanism to allow everyone some slack, so
                                              > they can follow
                                              > their passions at work, and in exchange, the company
                                              > cashes in on
                                              > the results.
                                              >
                                              > So I would argue that allowing (not scheduling,
                                              > allowing) slack in
                                              > everyone's normal schedule, instead of expecting
                                              > everyone to be
                                              > 100%
                                              > committed to what their management wants them to do,
                                              > is a good
                                              > thing. 
                                              >

                                              >


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                                            • Jonas Bengtsson
                                              Hi all, I m going to write a paper about product-lines (for a course called product-line architecture). So I thought of writing about how product-lins are
                                              Message 22 of 29 , Feb 20, 2002
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                                                Hi all,

                                                I'm going to write a paper about product-lines (for a course called
                                                product-line architecture). So I thought of writing about how product-lins
                                                are managed in agile development. Most literature I've read state that a
                                                planned BDUF is the only way to go.
                                                * Are there any articles etc that describes how to deal with product-lines
                                                in agile development?
                                                * Does anyone have any experiences with product-lines in agile development?

                                                Thanks in advance,
                                                Jonas
                                              • mpoppendieck
                                                Jonas, You might want to check out the following page, titled Lean Design , on my web site: http://www.poppendieck.com/design.htm A good article to check out
                                                Message 23 of 29 , Feb 21, 2002
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                                                  Jonas,

                                                  You might want to check out the following page, titled 'Lean
                                                  Design', on my web site:

                                                  http://www.poppendieck.com/design.htm

                                                  A good article to check out is "How Microsoft Makes Large Teams Work
                                                  Like Small Teams", Michael Cusumano, Sloan Management Review, Fall
                                                  1997 which is an excerpt of the book "Microsoft Secrets" by the same
                                                  author.

                                                  Another good source of information is material on how Toyota does
                                                  new product development. Since Toyota is by far the most agile
                                                  automobile developer, I think you can learn a lot from how they
                                                  develop products. Some of the more relevant articles are:

                                                  The Second Toyota Paradox: How Delaying Decisions Can Make Better
                                                  Cars Faster, Sloan Management Review, Spring `95, Allen Ward,
                                                  Jeffrey Liker, John Cristiano, Durward Sobek

                                                  Another Look at how Toyota Integrates Product Development, Durward
                                                  Sobek, Jeffrey Liker, Allen Ward, Harvard Business Review, July-
                                                  August, 1998.

                                                  Toyota's Principles of Set-Based Concurrent Engineering, Sloan
                                                  Management Review, Winter `99, Sobek, Allen, Liker

                                                  You basically need access to a business library to get at these
                                                  articles, but they are very good.

                                                  --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Jonas Bengtsson" <jonas.b@h...> wrote:
                                                  > Hi all,
                                                  >
                                                  > I'm going to write a paper about product-lines (for a course called
                                                  > product-line architecture). So I thought of writing about how
                                                  product-lins
                                                  > are managed in agile development. Most literature I've read state
                                                  that a
                                                  > planned BDUF is the only way to go.
                                                  > * Are there any articles etc that describes how to deal with
                                                  product-lines
                                                  > in agile development?
                                                  > * Does anyone have any experiences with product-lines in agile
                                                  development?
                                                  >
                                                  > Thanks in advance,
                                                  > Jonas
                                                • Jonas Bengtsson
                                                  Thank you Mary! I found all the articles except Another Look at how Toyota Integrates Product Development . I will look into all the articles later! /Jonas
                                                  Message 24 of 29 , Feb 25, 2002
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                                                    Thank you Mary!
                                                    I found all the articles except "Another Look at how Toyota Integrates
                                                    Product Development". I will look into all the articles later!

                                                    /Jonas

                                                    > -----Original Message-----
                                                    > From: mpoppendieck [mailto:mary@...]
                                                    > Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 10:34 PM
                                                    > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                                    > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Product-lines
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    > Jonas,
                                                    >
                                                    > You might want to check out the following page, titled 'Lean
                                                    > Design', on my web site:
                                                    >
                                                    > http://www.poppendieck.com/design.htm
                                                    >
                                                    > A good article to check out is "How Microsoft Makes Large Teams Work
                                                    > Like Small Teams", Michael Cusumano, Sloan Management Review, Fall
                                                    > 1997 which is an excerpt of the book "Microsoft Secrets" by the same
                                                    > author.
                                                    >
                                                    > Another good source of information is material on how Toyota does
                                                    > new product development. Since Toyota is by far the most agile
                                                    > automobile developer, I think you can learn a lot from how they
                                                    > develop products. Some of the more relevant articles are:
                                                    >
                                                    > The Second Toyota Paradox: How Delaying Decisions Can Make Better
                                                    > Cars Faster, Sloan Management Review, Spring `95, Allen Ward,
                                                    > Jeffrey Liker, John Cristiano, Durward Sobek
                                                    >
                                                    > Another Look at how Toyota Integrates Product Development, Durward
                                                    > Sobek, Jeffrey Liker, Allen Ward, Harvard Business Review, July-
                                                    > August, 1998.
                                                    >
                                                    > Toyota's Principles of Set-Based Concurrent Engineering, Sloan
                                                    > Management Review, Winter `99, Sobek, Allen, Liker
                                                    >
                                                    > You basically need access to a business library to get at these
                                                    > articles, but they are very good.
                                                    >
                                                    > --- In scrumdevelopment@y..., "Jonas Bengtsson" <jonas.b@h...> wrote:
                                                    > > Hi all,
                                                    > >
                                                    > > I'm going to write a paper about product-lines (for a course called
                                                    > > product-line architecture). So I thought of writing about how
                                                    > product-lins
                                                    > > are managed in agile development. Most literature I've read state
                                                    > that a
                                                    > > planned BDUF is the only way to go.
                                                    > > * Are there any articles etc that describes how to deal with
                                                    > product-lines
                                                    > > in agile development?
                                                    > > * Does anyone have any experiences with product-lines in agile
                                                    > development?
                                                    > >
                                                    > > Thanks in advance,
                                                    > > Jonas
                                                    >
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