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RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Single backlog per team

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  • Roy Morien
    Given that a project is really just a collection of apparently associated activities, probably intending to achieve a common outcome, then I think that is
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 2, 2007
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      Given that a 'project' is really just a collection of apparently associated activities, probably intending to achieve a common outcome, then I think that is what should be in the Product Backlog. If there are other activities that have no relevant association, then perhaps they should be in another Product Backlog.
       
      I think one major influence on this is to do with the changeover effort and setup time needed for team members to move from one activity to another. It is clearly inefficient and wasteful if the team is moved to something else that has no relevance to what they are currently doing. Perhaps this is the benchmark that you should apply to deciding your 'projects' and the associated Product Backlog.
       
      Of course, for those teams that are predominantly doing maintenance and 'on request' type development, where service requests come in almost on adhoc or asynchronous basis, then there may be no escaping the need for such changeover and setup times, and everything goes into a common Product Backlog.
       
      But in all of this, common sense must prevail, surely. If it is convenient and efficient to have many teams, each with its own PB, then fine, go for it. Each PB will have to be separately prioritised. If a common backlog that is shared by many teams, then that implies that many teams, of appropriate numbers each (7-9 maximum) share the same PB, and then it just becomes a problem of handling the prioritising of the PB, AND of the orderly selecting of items to go onto the various Sprint Backlogs.
       
      Yes?  No?
       
      Regards,
      Roy Morien.





      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      From: yi.xu@...
      Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2007 05:46:20 +0000
      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Single backlog per team

      Hi Gilad,

      I think your "backlog" means "product backlog", right?

      Then I against the idea of having a single product backlog per team.
      First, product owner is the person who can decide the format of
      product backlog. And basically I think you do not have a single
      product owner for different projects. Second, the product backlog is
      constructing based on priority, how you construct the product backlog
      among projects? Then you mess up the backlog with project priority,
      which not directly relate to customer requirement priority.

      Based on the assumption you have to work on different projects in
      same sprint, my suggestion is :

      You should have your team's capacity estimated, then perhaps you need
      to negotiate with project managers about capacity division among
      projects. Then use your project specific capacity to select product
      backlog items for different projects.

      Best Regards,
      Xu Yi-Kaveri

      --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, "gzgruber"
      <gilad.gruber@ ...> wrote:
      >
      > Mates,
      >
      > Our teams sometimes have multiple projects. I am wondering what is
      the
      > best way and what is the SCRUM way of handling this. My feeling is
      that
      > the best way is to have a single backlog per team (even if this
      means
      > that in a sprint the team is working on backlog items belonging to
      > multiple projects). I think the purists will recommend splitting
      the
      > team and having multiple backlogs.
      >
      > Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated
      >
      > BR,
      >
      > Gilad
      >




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    • Wolfgang Schulze Zachau
      That is the way we handle this situation. We have one team and one product backlog covering a variety of projects. There is one product owner and he is the
      Message 2 of 10 , Dec 3, 2007
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        That is the way we handle this situation. We have one team and one product backlog covering a variety of projects. There is one product owner and he is the ultimate decider on priorities, after careful consultation with the customers and other stakeholders. Works well, as long as the PO is left to make his own decisions. As soon as he is meddled with, things tend to go astray. We (as a company) have learned from that and now he is mostly left alone. Of course, you need thr right kind of guy to be PO. Somebody who is truly impartial and cannot be bought. And he needs a bit of brains.
         

        Regards,

        Wolfgang

         


        From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Joakim Karlsson
        Sent: 02 December 2007 16:29
        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Single backlog per team

        On Dec 2, 2007 4:13 PM, gzgruber <gilad.gruber@ gmail.com> wrote:
        >
        > Our teams sometimes have multiple projects. I am wondering what is the
        > best way and what is the SCRUM way of handling this. My feeling is that

        Ideally, I think it's best to have one team working on one project
        only. That said, I guess it could work to have one backlog spanning
        several projects. But I think that would require that you have the
        same PO for all projects. Someone that can prioritize all work for the
        team.

        --
        Regards,
        Joakim Karlsson
        http://www.jkarlsso n.com/blog

      • gzgruber
        Hi Wolfgang, This is indeed the state I would like. We do have 1 PO for multiple projects and it seems like the correct way to handle. BR, G ... product ...
        Message 3 of 10 , Dec 3, 2007
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          Hi Wolfgang,

          This is indeed the state I would like. We do have 1 PO for multiple
          projects and it seems like the correct way to handle.

          BR,

          G

          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Wolfgang Schulze Zachau"
          <wolfgang@...> wrote:
          >
          > That is the way we handle this situation. We have one team and one
          product
          > backlog covering a variety of projects. There is one product owner
          and he is
          > the ultimate decider on priorities, after careful consultation with
          the
          > customers and other stakeholders. Works well, as long as the PO is
          left to
          > make his own decisions. As soon as he is meddled with, things tend
          to go
          > astray. We (as a company) have learned from that and now he is
          mostly left
          > alone. Of course, you need thr right kind of guy to be PO. Somebody
          who is
          > truly impartial and cannot be bought. And he needs a bit of brains.
          >
          >
          > Regards,
          >
          > Wolfgang
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > _____
          >
          > From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
          > [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Joakim
          Karlsson
          > Sent: 02 December 2007 16:29
          > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Single backlog per team
          >
          >
          >
          > On Dec 2, 2007 4:13 PM, gzgruber <gilad.gruber@
          > <mailto:gilad.gruber%40gmail.com> gmail.com> wrote:
          > >
          > > Our teams sometimes have multiple projects. I am wondering what
          is the
          > > best way and what is the SCRUM way of handling this. My feeling
          is that
          >
          > Ideally, I think it's best to have one team working on one project
          > only. That said, I guess it could work to have one backlog spanning
          > several projects. But I think that would require that you have the
          > same PO for all projects. Someone that can prioritize all work for
          the
          > team.
          >
          > --
          > Regards,
          > Joakim Karlsson
          > http://www.jkarlsso <http://www.jkarlsson.com/blog> n.com/blog
          >
        • George Dinwiddie
          ... Surely the Product Owner (or Product Owner Team, if it s multiple individuals) *can* prioritize a single backlog that encompasses multiple projects. Can
          Message 4 of 10 , Dec 3, 2007
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            kaverjody wrote:
            > Hi Gilad,
            >
            > I think your "backlog" means "product backlog", right?
            >
            > Then I against the idea of having a single product backlog per team.
            > First, product owner is the person who can decide the format of
            > product backlog. And basically I think you do not have a single
            > product owner for different projects. Second, the product backlog is
            > constructing based on priority, how you construct the product backlog
            > among projects? Then you mess up the backlog with project priority,
            > which not directly relate to customer requirement priority.

            Surely the Product Owner (or Product Owner Team, if it's multiple
            individuals) *can* prioritize a single backlog that encompasses multiple
            projects. Can they do it easily? Probably not. Can they be 100% sure
            that the priority is the best? Probably not. But they can do it and
            give their best guess as to the business priority order of the backlog
            stories. They may mix stories from various projects as they best see fit.

            This, while perhaps not optimal, is workable--and it's greatly preferred
            to having multiple backlogs for a single team, and pushing the
            priorities down to the decisions of the technical level. Does the
            company want the developers deciding which project is most important at
            the moment? Probably not, but I've seen POs operate in this fashion
            because it was easier for them than negotiating with the other POs. In
            other words, rather than make explicit decisions on business value, they
            used the development team as a tool to compete with other POs.

            > Based on the assumption you have to work on different projects in
            > same sprint, my suggestion is :
            >
            > You should have your team's capacity estimated, then perhaps you need
            > to negotiate with project managers about capacity division among
            > projects. Then use your project specific capacity to select product
            > backlog items for different projects.

            I've seen this result in exactly the situation I mention above. As
            estimates are only estimates, the developers are put in a position of
            deciding whether to continue working on an unfinished story or switch to
            something different because they've used up the capacity allotment. Or
            perhaps they're pressured into working overtime because the POs will
            blame the developers for anything that goes wrong. A lot of things can
            happen, but few or none of them are Agile.

            I can tell you that that it's not pretty, and it's not good for the
            business.

            - George

            --
            ----------------------------------------------------------------------
            * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
            Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
            Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
            ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          • George Dinwiddie
            ... I ve elaborated further on this at http://blog.gdinwiddie.com/2007/12/03/combined-backlog-for-multiple-projects/ Let me know what you think (either here or
            Message 5 of 10 , Dec 3, 2007
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              George Dinwiddie wrote:
              > I can tell you that that it's not pretty, and it's not good for the
              > business.

              I've elaborated further on this at
              http://blog.gdinwiddie.com/2007/12/03/combined-backlog-for-multiple-projects/

              Let me know what you think (either here or there).

              - George

              --
              ----------------------------------------------------------------------
              * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
              Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
              Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
              ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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