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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

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  • Paul
    I love 3M s 15% idea. It s a win-win for everyone! -- Paul ... __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Send FREE Valentine eCards
    Message 1 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.
      >
      >


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    • 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 2 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 3 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.
          >
          >
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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 4 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 5 of 29 , Feb 7, 2002
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              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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 of 29 , Feb 9, 2002
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                      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 10 of 29 , Feb 9, 2002
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                        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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 16 of 29 , Feb 11, 2002
                                  • 0 Attachment

                                    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 17 of 29 , Feb 11, 2002
                                    • 0 Attachment

                                      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 18 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 19 of 29 , Feb 21, 2002
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          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 20 of 29 , Feb 25, 2002
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            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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