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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Backlog of technical tasks?

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  • Stephen Bobick
    ... Sprint Planning Meeting: PO: How much would this backlog item cost? Team: 5 units PO: 5??? Why so much Team: we need to fix some technical debt, write
    Message 1 of 55 , May 1, 2008
      On Thu, May 1, 2008 at 5:22 PM, Kane Mar <kane_sfo@...> wrote:
      > I would suggest that a better approach would be for the team to reduce
      > technical debt by
      > leaving all legacy code in better condition than they found it. Over time
      > they will improve
      > those parts of the system subject to the most change. Not only that, by
      > doing this they
      > don't ask the PO to choose between quality and functionality. There is no
      > question of the
      > PO "forbidding" the team from doing what it takes to reduce the technical
      > debt. Just my
      > thoughts.

      Sprint Planning Meeting:
      PO: How much would this backlog item cost?
      Team: 5 units
      PO: 5??? Why so much
      Team: we need to fix some technical debt, write unit tests, refactor
      PO: What if you don't do the latter, and just get the story done?
      Team: well, we really need to address all these issues. We've put
      them off for months, and really recommend fixing things as we go along
      here.
      PO: I understand, but we need to release and we need all the
      features, and right now they add up to too many points for the Team's
      velocity. If you hold off on reducing the technical debt, how many
      points is it?
      Team: well, maybe 3. But we really need to do this work.
      PO: I've heard your concern. I want you to hold off on that.
      ScrumMaster: OK, I'll put down 3 points.

      Happens all the time.

      -- Stephen
    • 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
        --- 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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