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Re: Splinter Department

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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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