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Re: Developing a sense of commitment among the Team to completing the Sprint Backlog

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  • dvroberts411
    Thanks, Hank (and Rodney) for your suggestions to make the failure to complete all the user stories in the Sprint Backlog more visible. Actually, the PO is
    Message 1 of 14 , Apr 3, 2008
      Thanks, Hank (and Rodney) for your suggestions to make the failure
      to complete all the user stories in the Sprint Backlog more
      visible. Actually, the PO is quite aware and concerned, and vocal,
      about the Sprint Backlog not being completed in each of the 2
      completed (to date) sprints. What I have to figure out is how to
      develop a sense of ownership among the Team members and that
      commitment to the Sprint backlog is more than the attitude 'We'll
      get done as much as we can'. We are only in our third sprint with
      this new (to Scrum) team, and I know that this understanding of
      commitment will come. I just want to see how I can better
      communicate and develop that feeling of ownership among the Team so
      that the Team really takes it to heart what it means to commit.
      It's got to be a balance of effective user story/task estimation
      during the Planning meeting plus a pride in getting what was
      promised 'done' by sprint's end.

      Thanks again for all the helpful thoughts and advice. This is such
      a great forum! I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of you at the
      Scrum Gathering in Chicago.

      Doug

      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Hank Roark"
      <Hank.Roark@...> wrote:
      >
      > Doug,
      >
      > It might be worth tracking the number of story committed vs. number
      > completed sprint by sprint. Put it on a big visible chart and see
      if anyone
      > notices / cares.
      >
      > -- Hank
      >
      > On Wed, Apr 2, 2008 at 10:52 AM, dvroberts411 <Douglas.Roberts@...>
      > wrote:
      >
      > > Howdy All,
      > >
      > > I'm in the midst of Sprint #3 with a Team that is new to
      Agile/Scrum
      > > but consists of seasoned development engineers. One trend that I
      > > have noticed over the course of these first 3 sprints is the
      Team's
      > > casual attitude about completing the Sprint Backlog. I've heard
      > > several comments such as 'Well, it doesn't look like we're going
      to
      > > have enough time to complete that last story' on the sprint
      > > backlog. I am just not seeing the Team truly understand the
      meaning
      > > of 'committing' to the Sprint Backlog, even though I try to get
      them
      > > to elicit a statement of commitment at the conclusion of each
      Sprint
      > > Planning meeting.
      > >
      > > Can any of you share your ideas on how I can better instill an
      > > understanding among my Team of what it means to 'commit' to the
      > > Sprint Backlog? I certainly understand that the Team may have
      over-
      > > committed during the Sprint Planning meetings and genuinely
      cannot
      > > complete a Sprint Backlog. But that is not the case: I am seeing
      > > some members doing design work, or building libraries, that
      actually
      > > have nothing to do with the Sprint Backlog, just because they
      think
      > > these activities are truly important and should be done. But this
      > > results in all the user stories not being completed by the end of
      > > our sprints. And the reaction I'm seeing from Team members is
      > > like 'Oh well, that's the way it goes. We ran out of time'.
      > >
      > > Your ideas on how I can better enlist the Team's commitment to
      focus
      > > on, and complete, the sprint backlog would be much appreciated.
      > >
      > > Thanks,
      > >
      > > Doug
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
    • Hank Roark
      Doug, One last piece of advice (good, bad, or otherwise) that I might offer. The team needs to allow some time for other stuff. At Google this is 20% to work
      Message 2 of 14 , Apr 3, 2008
        Doug,

        One last piece of advice (good, bad, or otherwise) that I might offer.

        The team needs to allow some time for other stuff.  At Google this is 20% to work on things not requested by marketing (analogous to the product owner).  I shoot for more like 10-15%.  The work is related to the business but not necessarily from the product owner(s).  It lets the team do some 'innovative' things, house keeping, etc.

        -- Hank

        On Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 5:19 PM, dvroberts411 <Douglas.Roberts@...> wrote:

        Thanks, Hank (and Rodney) for your suggestions to make the failure
        to complete all the user stories in the Sprint Backlog more
        visible. Actually, the PO is quite aware and concerned, and vocal,
        about the Sprint Backlog not being completed in each of the 2
        completed (to date) sprints. What I have to figure out is how to
        develop a sense of ownership among the Team members and that
        commitment to the Sprint backlog is more than the attitude 'We'll
        get done as much as we can'. We are only in our third sprint with
        this new (to Scrum) team, and I know that this understanding of
        commitment will come. I just want to see how I can better
        communicate and develop that feeling of ownership among the Team so
        that the Team really takes it to heart what it means to commit.
        It's got to be a balance of effective user story/task estimation
        during the Planning meeting plus a pride in getting what was
        promised 'done' by sprint's end.

        Thanks again for all the helpful thoughts and advice. This is such
        a great forum! I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of you at the
        Scrum Gathering in Chicago.

        Doug

        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Hank Roark"

        <Hank.Roark@...> wrote:
        >
        > Doug,
        >
        > It might be worth tracking the number of story committed vs. number
        > completed sprint by sprint. Put it on a big visible chart and see
        if anyone
        > notices / cares.
        >
        > -- Hank
        >
        > On Wed, Apr 2, 2008 at 10:52 AM, dvroberts411 <Douglas.Roberts@...>

        > wrote:
        >
        > > Howdy All,
        > >
        > > I'm in the midst of Sprint #3 with a Team that is new to
        Agile/Scrum
        > > but consists of seasoned development engineers. One trend that I
        > > have noticed over the course of these first 3 sprints is the
        Team's
        > > casual attitude about completing the Sprint Backlog. I've heard
        > > several comments such as 'Well, it doesn't look like we're going
        to
        > > have enough time to complete that last story' on the sprint
        > > backlog. I am just not seeing the Team truly understand the
        meaning
        > > of 'committing' to the Sprint Backlog, even though I try to get
        them
        > > to elicit a statement of commitment at the conclusion of each
        Sprint
        > > Planning meeting.
        > >
        > > Can any of you share your ideas on how I can better instill an
        > > understanding among my Team of what it means to 'commit' to the
        > > Sprint Backlog? I certainly understand that the Team may have
        over-
        > > committed during the Sprint Planning meetings and genuinely
        cannot
        > > complete a Sprint Backlog. But that is not the case: I am seeing
        > > some members doing design work, or building libraries, that
        actually
        > > have nothing to do with the Sprint Backlog, just because they
        think
        > > these activities are truly important and should be done. But this
        > > results in all the user stories not being completed by the end of
        > > our sprints. And the reaction I'm seeing from Team members is
        > > like 'Oh well, that's the way it goes. We ran out of time'.
        > >
        > > Your ideas on how I can better enlist the Team's commitment to
        focus
        > > on, and complete, the sprint backlog would be much appreciated.
        > >
        > > Thanks,
        > >
        > > Doug
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >


      • George Dinwiddie
        ... How many stories are in flight at the same time? Working on as few as possible, without developers stepping on each other, not only helps get things
        Message 3 of 14 , Apr 4, 2008
          dvroberts411 wrote:
          > Thanks, Hank (and Rodney) for your suggestions to make the failure
          > to complete all the user stories in the Sprint Backlog more
          > visible. Actually, the PO is quite aware and concerned, and vocal,
          > about the Sprint Backlog not being completed in each of the 2
          > completed (to date) sprints. What I have to figure out is how to
          > develop a sense of ownership among the Team members and that
          > commitment to the Sprint backlog is more than the attitude 'We'll
          > get done as much as we can'.

          How many stories are "in flight" at the same time? Working on as few as
          possible, without developers stepping on each other, not only helps get
          things accomplished rather than just started, but it also increases the
          interdependency between the developers. That is likely to develop as
          sense of commitment faster than the commitment to the PO, as they're
          working with each other every day.

          Does the PO come to the daily scrum?

          - George

          --
          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
          Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
          Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        • dvroberts411
          Hi George, Over the course of our 3 sprints, the # of user stories has varied between 3 (the current sprint) to about 9. The current sprint should be an
          Message 4 of 14 , Apr 4, 2008
            Hi George,

            Over the course of our 3 sprints, the # of user stories has varied
            between 3 (the current sprint) to about 9. The current sprint
            should be an anomaly because there was a large design task that the
            Team wanted to tackle that they felt could not be further broken
            down, and it turned out to be a great experience for the Team with
            pair programming. And yes, the PO does, indeed, attend each Daily
            Stand-Up.

            Hank: thanks again for your advice. As it turns out, we have
            negotiated with the PO to reserve 40 hours (roughly 13%) of each
            sprint for activities that the Team feels are needed to improve
            infrastructure and enable better/faster development of user
            stories. The Team wanted more time, of course, but it's great that
            the PO and Team realize each other's priorities.

            Have a good weekend, all.

            Doug

            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, George Dinwiddie
            <lists@...> wrote:
            >
            > dvroberts411 wrote:
            > > Thanks, Hank (and Rodney) for your suggestions to make the
            failure
            > > to complete all the user stories in the Sprint Backlog more
            > > visible. Actually, the PO is quite aware and concerned, and
            vocal,
            > > about the Sprint Backlog not being completed in each of the 2
            > > completed (to date) sprints. What I have to figure out is how
            to
            > > develop a sense of ownership among the Team members and that
            > > commitment to the Sprint backlog is more than the
            attitude 'We'll
            > > get done as much as we can'.
            >
            > How many stories are "in flight" at the same time? Working on as
            few as
            > possible, without developers stepping on each other, not only
            helps get
            > things accomplished rather than just started, but it also
            increases the
            > interdependency between the developers. That is likely to develop
            as
            > sense of commitment faster than the commitment to the PO, as
            they're
            > working with each other every day.
            >
            > Does the PO come to the daily scrum?
            >
            > - George
            >
            > --
            > -----------------------------------------------------------------
            -----
            > * George Dinwiddie *
            http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
            > Software Development
            http://www.idiacomputing.com
            > Consultant and Coach
            http://www.agilemaryland.org
            > -----------------------------------------------------------------
            -----
            >
          • Vikrama Dhiman
            How is it that you have managed to achieve the same behaviour from the total team - which comprises of people with various backgrounds, experiences and
            Message 5 of 14 , Apr 5, 2008
              • How is it that you have managed to achieve the same behaviour from the total team - which comprises of people with various backgrounds, experiences and prejudices. You have managed to do something. The question you should ask is why and how?
              • Can you restructure your question as to : What is it that "I" can do to make the team more aware of their responsibility to commit and deliver as per that commitment. The first thing you should focus on is understand why this is happening. Try and use the 5 why's and focus on matter of fact in first discussion and then delve deeper.
              • Who is the Scrum Master for the team? Why is it that they are not already aware of why this is happening? Are they totally aligned with each of the team members and the team as a whole?

              dvroberts411 <Douglas.Roberts@...> wrote:
              Hi George,

              Over the course of our 3 sprints, the # of user stories has varied
              between 3 (the current sprint) to about 9. The current sprint
              should be an anomaly because there was a large design task that the
              Team wanted to tackle that they felt could not be further broken
              down, and it turned out to be a great experience for the Team with
              pair programming. And yes, the PO does, indeed, attend each Daily
              Stand-Up.

              Hank: thanks again for your advice. As it turns out, we have
              negotiated with the PO to reserve 40 hours (roughly 13%) of each
              sprint for activities that the Team feels are needed to improve
              infrastructure and enable better/faster development of user
              stories. The Team wanted more time, of course, but it's great that
              the PO and Team realize each other's priorities.

              Have a good weekend, all.

              Doug

              --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, George Dinwiddie
              <lists@...> wrote:
              >
              > dvroberts411 wrote:
              > > Thanks, Hank (and Rodney) for your suggestions to make the
              failure
              > > to complete all the user stories in the Sprint Backlog more
              > > visible. Actually, the PO is quite aware and concerned, and
              vocal,
              > > about the Sprint Backlog not being completed in each of the 2
              > > completed (to date) sprints. What I have to figure out is how
              to
              > > develop a sense of ownership among the Team members and that
              > > commitment to the Sprint backlog is more than the
              attitude 'We'll
              > > get done as much as we can'.
              >
              > How many stories are "in flight" at the same time? Working on as
              few as
              > possible, without developers stepping on each other, not only
              helps get
              > things accomplished rather than just started, but it also
              increases the
              > interdependency between the developers. That is likely to develop
              as
              > sense of commitment faster than the commitment to the PO, as
              they're
              > working with each other every day.
              >
              > Does the PO come to the daily scrum?
              >
              > - George
              >
              > --
              > ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -
              -----
              > * George Dinwiddie *
              http://blog. gdinwiddie. com
              > Software Development
              http://www.idiacomp uting.com
              > Consultant and Coach
              http://www.agilemar yland.org
              > ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -
              -----
              >



              You rock. That's why Blockbuster's offering you one month of Blockbuster Total Access, No Cost.

            • Michael James
              ... In that case, I might try it *without* the Product Owner attending each daily Scrum. Is the Product Owner also the team s boss? --mj
              Message 6 of 14 , Apr 5, 2008
                --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "dvroberts411" <Douglas.Roberts@...> wrote:
                >
                > And yes, the PO does, indeed, attend each Daily Stand-Up.
                >

                In that case, I might try it *without* the Product Owner attending each
                daily Scrum. Is the Product Owner also the team's boss?

                --mj
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