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RE: [scrumdevelopment] Iteration Length

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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 1 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
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      > -----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 2 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
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        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 3 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
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          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 4 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
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            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 5 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
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              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 6 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
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                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 7 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
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                  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 8 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
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                    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 9 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
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                      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 10 of 27 , Feb 11, 2004
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                        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 11 of 27 , Feb 11, 2004
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                          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 12 of 27 , Feb 12, 2004
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                            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 13 of 27 , Feb 14, 2004
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                              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 14 of 27 , Feb 14, 2004
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                                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 15 of 27 , Feb 14, 2004
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                                  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 16 of 27 , Feb 14, 2004
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                                    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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