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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Iteration Length

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  • acockburn@aol.com
    I read this as we Industrial Logic, with various clients .... some clients get 1-week iterations, some get 2-week iterations. The clients getting 2-week
    Message 1 of 27 , Feb 8, 2004
      I read this as "we" Industrial Logic, with various clients .... some clients get 1-week iterations, some get 2-week iterations. The clients getting 2-week iterations tend to be those using C++.  I don't see an indication in Joshua's note that iteration length varies within a project, although with a mature team, I don't see that they couldn't arbitrarily change the iteration length to suit the circumstances discovered on planning day.
       
      In a message dated 2/8/2004 9:40:10 PM Mountain Standard Time, phlipcpp@... writes:
      Joshua Kerievsky wrote:

      > I went from doing 3 week iteraions to lots of 2 week
      > iterations to lots
      > of 1 week iterations.  Now we routinely do either 1
      > or 2 week
      > iterations.  We prefer to do 1-week iterations.
      > However, we find that 2
      > week iterations work better for our C++ clients,
      > since they tend to have
      > a lot of legacy code, which slows everything down.
      > --jk

      Not sure how many plurals under "we" here. There are
      those who think that a young team should never vary
      iteration length from iteration to iteration, and that
      a mature team shouldn't have a reason to. Do you mean
      that one team looks at its stack of stories and sets
      iteration length accordingly?

      Call this the "rhythm method"...

      =====
      Phlip
      ==============================================
      Alistair Cockburn
      President, Humans and Technology

      http://alistair.cockburn.us alistair.cockburn@...
      1814 E. Fort Douglas Circle, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
      Phone: 801.582-3162            Fax: 775.416.6457

      Author of
      "Surviving Object-Oriented Projects" (1998)
      "Writing Effective Use Cases" (Jolt Productivity Award 2001)
      "Agile Software Development" (Jolt Productivity Award 2002)

      "La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste rien a ajouter,
      mais quand il ne reste rien a enlever." (Saint-Exupery)
      ==============================================

    • Phlip
      ... I wasn t accusing. I pointed out his exact text was ambiguous, by adding the rhythm method context to the thread. Among its quantifyable benefits are a
      Message 2 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
        acockburn@... wrote:

        > I read this as "we" Industrial Logic, with various
        > clients .... some clients
        > get 1-week iterations, some get 2-week iterations.
        > The clients getting 2-week
        > iterations tend to be those using C++. I don't see
        > an indication in Joshua's
        > note that iteration length varies within a project,
        > although with a mature
        > team, I don't see that they couldn't arbitrarily
        > change the iteration length to
        > suit the circumstances discovered on planning day.

        I wasn't accusing.

        I pointed out his exact text was ambiguous, by adding
        the "rhythm method" context to the thread. Among its
        quantifyable benefits are a stable Yesterday's Weather
        metric - or so I'm told. Accuse whoever told me that.

        > "La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste
        > rien a ajouter,
        > mais quand il ne reste rien a enlever."
        > (Saint-Exupery)

        "le meilleur est l'ennemi du bien" ([apocryphally] Voltaire)

        =====
        Phlip
        http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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      • Karl Scotland
        ... A great ScrumMaster once told me, It depends on common sense :) Personally, I m doing one week iterations wih my team at the moment. I wouldn t
        Message 3 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Ken Schwaber [mailto:ken.schwaber@...]
          >
          > What is the optimal length of an iteation, and what are the factors
          > that are relevant to the various lengths of iterations that are
          > deemed most appropriate?

          A great ScrumMaster once told me, "It depends on common sense" :)

          Personally, I'm doing one week iterations wih my team at the moment. I
          wouldn't necessarily work the same way with every team though. Others
          seem to be saying the same thing.

          Factirs which would affect my decision would include...
          1) Business chaos - a business which is really ducking and diving would
          benefit from shorter iterations.
          2) Project length - the shorter the overall projects, the shorter the
          iterations.
          3) Technical ability - shorter iterations benefit less mature teams
          because they promote more focus.

          If I was working with a great team, on a longterm project, for a stable
          business, I'd probably consider monthly iterations.

          I've submitted a paper on doing weekly iterations with Scrum and XP for
          the gathering. Hope it gets accepted :)

          Karl

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        • Joshua Kerievsky
          ... We is Industrial Logic. We don t generally vary iteration length. However, we have changed iteration length mid-project, when we found that the length
          Message 4 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
            Phlip wrote:

            >Not sure how many plurals under "we" here. There are
            >those who think that a young team should never vary
            >iteration length from iteration to iteration, and that
            >a mature team shouldn't have a reason to. Do you mean
            >that one team looks at its stack of stories and sets
            >iteration length accordingly?
            >
            >
            We is Industrial Logic. We don't generally vary iteration length.
            However, we have changed iteration length mid-project, when we found
            that the length wasn't working well. We also once extended an iteration
            by a week, as it was the last iteration before going into production and
            it just felt right to the whole team to take an extra week for our work.

            I once considered 1-week iterations to be a bad idea. "We'll spend too
            much time planning and not have enough time programming." When I got
            over my fear and actually tried it, I found that I loved 1-week
            iterations. Customers learn to plan more efficiently by doing
            continuous iteration planning preparation, customers gets to make
            finer-grained changes to the plan and programmers have less time to do
            wasteful work.

            In our workshops, we do 3-hour iterations. That's like working under a
            high-powered microscope -- every flaw gets revealed, which tends to
            leads folks to important insights.

            best regards,
            jk

            --
            I n d u s t r i a l L o g i c , I n c .
            Joshua Kerievsky
            Founder, Extreme Programmer & Coach
            http://industriallogic.com
            http://industrialxp.org
            866-540-8336 (toll free)
            510-540-8336 (phone)
            Berkeley, California
          • Patrick Parato
            We are currently using one week interations with success. We have a couple of reasons for doing just this. The development team and the business are both
            Message 5 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
              We are currently using one week interations with success. We have a couple of reasons for doing just this. The development team and the business are both relatively new to Agile and we are trying to expose everybody to different types of situations quickly. We hope people will learn about the whole life cycle of an Agile project faster. By making the iterations more frequent, we get more practice with the overall Agile experience. We may be trading off some efficiency for some beneift in education, but everybody understands that the iteration length can change when it is considered necessary to do so.
               
              The only drawback we have seen is that the development team fizzles out close to the end of the iteration. The tasks will be all complete but people don't want to admit it because the one week iterations make them feel constantly under pressure. The developers don't really like the feeling that they can't vary thier effort depending on mood, health, or other external stimuli. Some developers believe that one month long iteration allows them more freedom to vary thier pace, and that the one week iteration is too much pressure. Very similar to micro management.
               
              Regards,
               
              Patrick Parato
              CertaPay
              Toronto, Canada
            • Phlip
              ... Weeks are biological, and part of our circadian rhythms. (Of course months are too, which we derive weeks from.) I suspect even rats kept in isolation from
              Message 6 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                Joshua Kerievsky wrote:

                > I once considered 1-week iterations to be a bad
                > idea.

                Weeks are biological, and part of our circadian
                rhythms. (Of course months are too, which we derive
                weeks from.)

                I suspect even rats kept in isolation from cues to the
                date vary their activity patterns in synch with human
                weekends.


                =====
                Phlip
                http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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              • Michael Campbell
                ... Never knew that. Why is it then that only 1 month, and then only 75% of the time even HAS an integral # of them? __________________________________ Do you
                Message 7 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                  Phlip wrote:

                  > Weeks are biological, and part of our circadian
                  > rhythms. (Of course months are too, which we derive
                  > weeks from.)

                  Never knew that. Why is it then that only 1 month, and then only
                  75% of the time even HAS an integral # of them?


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                • Joshua Kerievsky
                  ... By planning according to a team s velocity (which is calculated at every iteration end), XPers ensure that programmers have enough time to implement
                  Message 8 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                    Patrick Parato wrote:

                    > We are currently using one week interations with success. We have a
                    > couple of reasons for doing just this. The development team and the
                    > business are both relatively new to Agile and we are trying to expose
                    > everybody to different types of situations quickly. We hope people
                    > will learn about the whole life cycle of an Agile project faster. By
                    > making the iterations more frequent, we get more practice with the
                    > overall Agile experience. We may be trading off some efficiency for
                    > some beneift in education, but everybody understands that the
                    > iteration length can change when it is considered necessary to do so.
                    >
                    > The only drawback we have seen is that the development team fizzles
                    > out close to the end of the iteration. The tasks will be all complete
                    > but people don't want to admit it because the one week iterations make
                    > them feel constantly under pressure. The developers don't really like
                    > the feeling that they can't vary thier effort depending on mood,
                    > health, or other external stimuli. Some developers believe that one
                    > month long iteration allows them more freedom to vary thier pace, and
                    > that the one week iteration is too much pressure. Very similar to
                    > micro management.

                    By planning according to a team's velocity (which is calculated at every
                    iteration end), XPers ensure that programmers have enough time to
                    implement iteration stories using good development practices without
                    feeling under pressure. Feeling under pressure results from committing
                    to doing too much during a given period of time. So 1-week iterations
                    don't cause pressure. Taking on more work than you can do causes
                    pressure. Yet many programmers haven't yet had that insight.

                    best regards
                    jk
                  • Phlip
                    ... Uh, because periods of the rotation of the Earth, its orbit, and the Moon s orbit all don t divide evenly? ===== Phlip
                    Message 9 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                      Michael Campbell wrote:

                      > Never knew that. Why is it then that only 1 month,
                      > and then only
                      > 75% of the time even HAS an integral # of them?

                      Uh, because periods of the rotation of the Earth, its
                      orbit, and the Moon's orbit all don't divide evenly?


                      =====
                      Phlip
                      http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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                    • Steven Gordon
                      That would argue that days and months (and years) are natural, but not weeks. ... From: Phlip [mailto:phlipcpp@yahoo.com] Sent: Monday, February 09, 2004 9:52
                      Message 10 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                        That would argue that days and months (and years) are natural, but not weeks.
                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: Phlip [mailto:phlipcpp@...]
                        Sent: Monday, February 09, 2004 9:52 AM
                        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Iteration Length

                        Michael Campbell wrote:

                        > Never knew that.  Why is it then that only 1 month,
                        > and then only
                        > 75% of the time even HAS an integral # of them?

                        Uh, because periods of the rotation of the Earth, its
                        orbit, and the Moon's orbit all don't divide evenly?


                        =====
                        Phlip
                            http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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                      • J. B. Rainsberger
                        ... I have enjoyed two-weeks iterations to start a project, then one-week iterations, as needed, towards the release date. The idea is that we need larger
                        Message 11 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                          Ken Schwaber wrote:

                          > What is the optimal length of an iteation, and what are the factors
                          > that are relevant to the various lengths of iterations that are
                          > deemed most appropriate?

                          I have enjoyed two-weeks iterations to start a project, then one-week
                          iterations, as needed, towards the release date.

                          The idea is that we need larger chunks of time to hit our stride and to
                          allow for some experimental error. Without that experimental time, we
                          tend not to learn as much, which inhibits our ability to prepare for the
                          next game.

                          I find that one-week iterations are best for focusing on doing what we
                          know how to do. At this granularity, we can steer very well. I find that
                          two-week iterations are best when we need to learn things, because then
                          we feel less pressure when we might accidentally burn a day or two going
                          down a rathole.
                          --
                          J. B. Rainsberger,
                          Diaspar Software Services
                          http://www.diasparsoftware.com :: +1 416 791-8603
                          Let's write software that people understand
                        • agiletoken
                          I totally agree. I have implemented an agile process with four (4) one (1) week iterations enveloped within a 30 day Scrum Sprint. The one week XP interations
                          Message 12 of 27 , Feb 11, 2004
                            I totally agree. I have implemented an agile process with four (4)
                            one (1) week iterations enveloped within a 30 day Scrum Sprint. The
                            one week XP interations enforce good engineering practices and the 30
                            day sprint ensures business to technical community alignment. The
                            team meets Monday morning and establishes goals for the week - taken
                            from sprint backlog.

                            The daily standup reflects on the progress for the. The team has an
                            option to change the goals for the week on Wednesday, as it is a mid-
                            point and the team generally has a very good idea on whether the
                            goals will be met on Friday. On Friday, the team confirms the
                            deliverables. From the engineering perspective, the once the team
                            commits to the Friday goals, no one leaves until the team has
                            delivered the goals and an integration build completed and all
                            testcases executed.

                            Tareq



                            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Joshua Kerievsky <jlk@i...>
                            wrote:
                            > Patrick Parato wrote:
                            >
                            > > We are currently using one week interations with success. We have
                            a
                            > > couple of reasons for doing just this. The development team and
                            the
                            > > business are both relatively new to Agile and we are trying to
                            expose
                            > > everybody to different types of situations quickly. We hope
                            people
                            > > will learn about the whole life cycle of an Agile project faster.
                            By
                            > > making the iterations more frequent, we get more practice with
                            the
                            > > overall Agile experience. We may be trading off some efficiency
                            for
                            > > some beneift in education, but everybody understands that the
                            > > iteration length can change when it is considered necessary to do
                            so.
                            > >
                            > > The only drawback we have seen is that the development team
                            fizzles
                            > > out close to the end of the iteration. The tasks will be all
                            complete
                            > > but people don't want to admit it because the one week iterations
                            make
                            > > them feel constantly under pressure. The developers don't really
                            like
                            > > the feeling that they can't vary thier effort depending on mood,
                            > > health, or other external stimuli. Some developers believe that
                            one
                            > > month long iteration allows them more freedom to vary thier pace,
                            and
                            > > that the one week iteration is too much pressure. Very similar to
                            > > micro management.
                            >
                            > By planning according to a team's velocity (which is calculated at
                            every
                            > iteration end), XPers ensure that programmers have enough time to
                            > implement iteration stories using good development practices
                            without
                            > feeling under pressure. Feeling under pressure results from
                            committing
                            > to doing too much during a given period of time. So 1-week
                            iterations
                            > don't cause pressure. Taking on more work than you can do causes
                            > pressure. Yet many programmers haven't yet had that insight.
                            >
                            > best regards
                            > jk
                          • Ken Schwaber
                            Does the length of the iteration have any impact on the granularity of the input (Stories, Product Backlog). What is the type of demonstration that is desired
                            Message 13 of 27 , Feb 11, 2004
                              Does the length of the iteration have any impact on the granularity of the
                              input (Stories, Product Backlog). What is the type of demonstration that is
                              desired at the end of the iteration?
                              Ken

                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: Joshua Kerievsky [mailto:jlk@...]
                              Sent: Sunday, February 08, 2004 9:02 PM
                              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Iteration Length


                              I went from doing 3 week iteraions to lots of 2 week iterations to lots
                              of 1 week iterations. Now we routinely do either 1 or 2 week
                              iterations. We prefer to do 1-week iterations. However, we find that 2
                              week iterations work better for our C++ clients, since they tend to have
                              a lot of legacy code, which slows everything down. --jk






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                            • Joshua Kerievsky
                              ... The sizing of iteration stories isn t impacted by iteration length, at least the way we do it. At the end of each iteration, a customer demonstrates the
                              Message 14 of 27 , Feb 12, 2004
                                Ken Schwaber wrote:

                                >Does the length of the iteration have any impact on the granularity of the
                                >input (Stories, Product Backlog). What is the type of demonstration that is
                                >desired at the end of the iteration?
                                >
                                The sizing of iteration stories isn't impacted by iteration length, at least the way we do it. At the end of each iteration, a customer demonstrates the new features we've added to the system. Of late, the customer also demonstrates some of the FIT-based storytests we've produced. Upper management attends these iteration demonstrations. We find that they like to see both the system and a few of its new storytests.

                                best regards,
                                jk

                                --
                                I n d u s t r i a l L o g i c , I n c .
                                Joshua Kerievsky
                                Founder, Extreme Programmer & Coach
                                http://industriallogic.com
                                http://industrialxp.org
                                866-540-8336 (toll free)
                                510-540-8336 (phone)
                                Berkeley, California
                              • Devon Miller
                                Actually, weeks are natural too. They correspond to the phases of the moon New moon, waxing quarter, full moon, waning quarter.
                                Message 15 of 27 , Feb 14, 2004
                                  Actually, weeks are natural too. They correspond to the phases of the moon
                                  New moon, waxing quarter, full moon, waning quarter.

                                  Steven Gordon wrote:

                                  > That would argue that days and months (and years) are natural, but not
                                  > weeks.
                                  >
                                  > -----Original Message-----
                                  > *From:* Phlip [mailto:phlipcpp@...]
                                  > *Sent:* Monday, February 09, 2004 9:52 AM
                                  > *To:* scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                  > *Subject:* Re: [scrumdevelopment] Iteration Length
                                  >
                                  > Michael Campbell wrote:
                                  >
                                  > > Never knew that. Why is it then that only 1 month,
                                  > > and then only
                                  > > 75% of the time even HAS an integral # of them?
                                  >
                                  > Uh, because periods of the rotation of the Earth, its
                                  > orbit, and the Moon's orbit all don't divide evenly?
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > =====
                                  > Phlip
                                  > http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces
                                  >
                                • Phlip
                                  ... Ken pointed out he forbade the Industrial Logic metaphor of nebulous units of time because nobody needed we got big NUTs getting back to any number of
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Feb 14, 2004
                                    Devon Miller wrote:

                                    > Actually, weeks are natural too. They correspond to
                                    > the phases of the moon
                                    > New moon, waxing quarter, full moon, waning quarter.

                                    Ken pointed out he forbade the Industrial Logic
                                    metaphor of "nebulous units of time" because nobody
                                    needed "we got big NUTs" getting back to any number of
                                    Human Resource Departments.

                                    (I wax nostalgic for Omnigon's way cool HR department.
                                    Whenever she wandered into the programming pit we'd
                                    drop what we were doing and indulge in the most
                                    advanced and witty HR harrassment. She know'd she'd
                                    had to start this with her standard lecture at hiring
                                    time; we all had a blast. But some HR is hired because
                                    they help the brass think they'l reduce their odds of
                                    getting sued.)

                                    Workplace diversity requires us to allow folks who
                                    don't "believe in" bicameralism, or this or that
                                    diety, or lunar phases, to opt-out without limiting
                                    their own career.

                                    A lunar week is a nebulous unit of time - 7 days ~11
                                    hours - and matching iterations to it would cause
                                    friction on two fronts - the business calendar and the
                                    diversity aspect.

                                    But evoking biological circadian rhythms as the
                                    natural basis for our calendar, and iteration lengths,
                                    might be pragmatic.


                                    =====
                                    Phlip
                                    http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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                                  • Doug Swartz
                                    ... Some of us in Nebraska, various Canadian provinces, and 50 some democratic nations around the world, take issue with your blatant anti-unicameral bias. Our
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Feb 14, 2004
                                      Saturday, February 14, 2004, 4:52:41 AM, Phlip wrote:

                                      > Workplace diversity requires us to allow folks who
                                      > don't "believe in" bicameralism, ....

                                      Some of us in Nebraska, various Canadian provinces, and 50
                                      some democratic nations around the world, take issue with your
                                      blatant anti-unicameral bias. Our "uni's" are just as capable
                                      of passing stupid legislation at the speed of a glacier, as
                                      your "bi's"! But, we only have to pay one legislator, instead
                                      of two.

                                      The moderators of this esteemed list should take note of your
                                      predilection to promote mono-culture and consider banning your
                                      deviant opinions from the list.




                                      --

                                      ;-)
                                      Doug Swartz
                                      daswartz@...
                                    • Phlip
                                      ... And that was how, in early 2004, the beginnings of a schism appeared in the previously solid mailing list, ScrumDevelopment...
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Feb 14, 2004
                                        Doug Swartz wrote:

                                        > Phlip wrote:
                                        >
                                        > > Workplace diversity requires us to allow folks who
                                        > > don't "believe in" bicameralism, ....
                                        >
                                        > Some of us in Nebraska, various Canadian provinces,
                                        > and 50
                                        > some democratic nations around the world, take issue
                                        > with your
                                        > blatant anti-unicameral bias. Our "uni's" are just
                                        > as capable
                                        > of passing stupid legislation at the speed of a
                                        > glacier, as
                                        > your "bi's"! But, we only have to pay one
                                        > legislator, instead
                                        > of two.

                                        <ponderously>
                                        And that was how, in early 2004, the
                                        beginnings of a schism appeared in the
                                        previously solid mailing list,
                                        ScrumDevelopment...
                                        </ponderously>

                                        > The moderators of this esteemed list should take
                                        > note of your
                                        > predilection to promote mono-culture and consider
                                        > banning your
                                        > deviant opinions from the list.

                                        Hey - my coffee is shade-grown, pal!

                                        > ;-)
                                        > Doug Swartz
                                        > daswartz@...

                                        ( http://eatthestate.org/05-22/FairTradeCoffee.htm for
                                        those who didn't catch that last one... )

                                        =====
                                        Phlip
                                        http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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