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RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Splinter Department

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 of 29 , Feb 20, 2002
                    • 0 Attachment
                      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 10 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 11 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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