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Re: Variable sprint lengths

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  • Petri Heiramo
    Hi, ... limited ... lengthen ... at the ... I consider these things as one of those just have to manage with situations. You should keep trying to set up a
    Message 1 of 10 , Oct 2, 2007
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      Hi,


      > I'm wondering what to do about the variability of our sprint lengths. It
      > makes it a bit harder to monitor our velocity, but our PO has very
      limited
      > availability and way too much leave time, so we've had to slightly
      lengthen
      > or shorten our sprint lengths so far in order to have the PO present
      at the
      > review session. How much of an issue is this?

      I consider these things as one of those "just have to manage with"
      situations. You should keep trying to set up a regular cycle, but
      until that day happens (if it ever does), you'll have to try to set up
      each sprint as a timeboxed iteration with a predefined end date
      _at_the_start_ of the sprint. So even if each sprint is slightly of
      different length, they are all of predefined length. Try to get the PO
      committed to each sprint review session well in advance. Changing end
      date _during_ the sprint should be avoided. Then again, if you can't
      avoid that, then just replan a little based on new end date.

      I know that's not a book example but reality never is. Remember the
      purpose of iterations, never lose sight of that (i.e. clear checkpoint
      to see where the project is, a replanning and communications session
      with the product owner, and an opportunity to meet stakeholders for
      feedback). You should be fine.


      Petri Heiramo
      Senior Process Improvement Manager
      SYSOPENDIGIA Plc., Finland
    • Petri Heiramo
      Wolfgang has a very good list of why you should try to get to the regular release cycle. :) I agree with all that. Bring it to the attention of the PO. See if
      Message 2 of 10 , Oct 2, 2007
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        Wolfgang has a very good list of why you should try to get to the
        regular release cycle. :)

        I agree with all that. Bring it to the attention of the PO. See if
        he/she can sort the participation. But I don't think you can just say
        "I refuse to co-operate until you agree to a fixed schedule".
        Communicate with patience and try to work out a solution.


        Petri Heiramo
        Senior Process Improvement Manager
        SYSOPENDIGIA Plc., Finland


        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Wolfgang Schulze Zachau"
        <wolfgang@...> wrote:
        >
        > This is a wonderful example of how Scrum exposes weaknesses in an
        > organization, which now has a chance to reconsider various options
        and the
        > importance of Scrum.
        > The very simply answer is: Don't. Do not vary the length of your
        sprints. It
        > plays havoc with all sorts of things. Your velocity is never really
        quite
        > clear, people have trouble with committment, your customers cannot
        rely on a
        > regular cycle of delivery, and the list doesn't stop here. We did
        it, and
        > our troubles only stopped when we stopped modifying sprint length
        (and some
        > other things). It's one of those rules that cannot be bent or broken
        without
        > braking the whole thing.
        > The underlying problem is that your PO is not committed. If (s)he
        was, (s)he
        > would make sure to be there when needed. If someone has a
        responsibility,
        > but cannot or won't fulfil it, it shows a lack of accountability and
        > committment (or authority, but I don't think that's the case here).
        So now
        > the question is: why? Is (s)he working fulltime as a PO? Or is this
        just one
        > of a list of activites for her/him? If yes, why? Does the top brass
        believe
        > in Scrum? Do they understand how it works? Are they pulling the PO in
        > different directions? Or is it the PO herself/himself?
        > (and there are more questions to ask).
        > And yes, you are right: there is absolutely no point in closing a sprint
        > without the PO.
        >
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        > Wolfgang
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > _____
        >
        > From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Emiliano Heyns
        > Sent: 02 October 2007 10:38
        > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Variable sprint lengths
        >
        >
        >
        > Hi,
        >
        > I'm wondering what to do about the variability of our sprint lengths. It
        > makes it a bit harder to monitor our velocity, but our PO has very
        limited
        > availability and way too much leave time, so we've had to slightly
        lengthen
        > or shorten our sprint lengths so far in order to have the PO present
        at the
        > review session. How much of an issue is this?
        >
        > We're managing so far, but that may be because we're just getting
        ramped up
        > on scrum, so we may not be noticing how much we're missing. I can't
        really
        > force the PO to be present, however, and closing the sprint without him
        > would be pointless.
        >
        > Emile
        >
      • David Milner
        Having a proxy PO is a good idea. Also an option would be to make a business analyst of some sort who works in the same area as the PO the official PO, and
        Message 3 of 10 , Oct 2, 2007
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          Having a proxy PO is a good idea.  Also an option would be to make a business analyst of some sort who works in the same area as the PO the "official" PO, and move the part-time PO just to a stakeholder type of position just based upon availability.  If the current PO has great business sense, experience, and is valuable that's a good way to keep them in the loop while not sacrificing Scrum principles.
           
          Dave


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