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Re: Backlog of technical tasks?

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  • MacKilby
    ... on the ... going to ... Agreed... and now let me share more of the story that prompted the question. When I implied a large technical debt, I was thinking
    Message 1 of 55 , May 1, 2008
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      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Jim Schiel" <schiel@...> wrote:

      > >
      > > Bottom line -- technical debt is no different than anything else
      on the
      > > backlog. Don't treat it like a second class citizen -- it's always
      going to
      > > be there and everyone should get used to it being there.
      > >

      Agreed... and now let me share more of the story that prompted the
      question.

      When I implied a large technical debt, I was thinking of those
      companies that had legacy code bases to deal with. One group I know
      solved that problem of dealing with legacy debt by incorporating the
      "payment plan" into the backlog. That is, because they had a large
      technical debt with their legacy codebase, the team and PO agreed that
      they would try to include a certain percentage of technical debt
      stories in each sprint until debt was paid down below a certain
      threshold and they made this team ground rule visible. So not only
      did they make their commitment to the debt visible in the backlog, but
      they also made the payment plan toward improved quality visible to
      stakeholders by keeping the groundrules visible.

      So I agree that technical debt should be balanced with other factors
      the PO must consider and that balancing should be made visible through
      the project backlog and the methods to prioritize the backlog.

      Mark Kilby
    • Michael James
      ... Yes, and there s really no contradiction between these approaches once we see the Sprint Planning Meeting as a good faith negotiation. Normal technical
      Message 55 of 55 , May 4, 2008
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        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Jeppe N. Madsen" <jeppe@...> wrote:

        > I've been skeptical about putting technical tasks on the backlog for
        > many of the same reasons listed in this thread. I think we should
        > make "the world a better place" one step at a time, by refactoring the
        > code as it's touched due to new requirements.

        Yes, and there's really no contradiction between these
        approaches once we see the Sprint Planning Meeting
        as a good faith negotiation.

        Normal technical debt should be paid off through
        the definition of "done" for product feature stories.
        Things like this might include refactoring away
        duplicate code, complex conditional logic, long
        modules, nested "catch" blocks, poorly named
        methods and classes, normal database schema
        changes, normal upgrades to third-party
        libraries....

        > If there really are technical debt that hinders
        > progress, this is an impediment.

        Yes, when progress on multiple fronts is impeded
        by severe fundamental underlying debt issues
        (often at the infrastructure level, like platform
        changes, major database changes, major library
        changes) it may be useful for the team to make
        it visible in the product backlog as a step toward
        breaking the repayment work into manageable
        pieces. Anyone can add items to the Product
        Backlog.

        Of course we still expect some feature delivery
        every Sprint.

        --mj
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