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Re: Getting past Personal Backlog Silos

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  • James S. Fosdick, PMP, CSP
    A) One cannot demand a commitment. A commitment is either made or it is not. B) One cannot demand that a commitment be met. A commitment is either met or it is
    Message 1 of 41 , Aug 22, 2008
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      A) One cannot demand a commitment. A commitment is either made or it
      is not.
      B) One cannot demand that a commitment be met. A commitment is either
      met or it is not and stamping your foot has no effect on that.

      Ultimately there appear to be some fairly significant impediments in
      play here. Does your team keep a sprint burndown and update it daily?
      If so was it not apparent by the end of the first week of the sprint
      that you were off track? If the answer to either of those questions is
      no the team needs to figure out why.

      Secondly, consistent over commitment is a systemic problem. It might
      be due to a lack of effort but probably there are other factors.
      Assuming at the outset that people aren't trying hard enough seems
      like a very "Theory X" way to approach the problem that is not likely
      to produce results. And in the extreme case of a velocity of 0 there
      is undoubtedly something completely broken about your process. The
      scrum master should be investigating that. The last thing I'll say is
      that although every team is unique, there are common patterns (and
      anti-patterns) that tend to crop up. The biggest anti-pattern I
      observe all the time is that an application of resources will resolve
      an organizational impediment. When the team is not making its
      commitments the knee jerk response is to add more people or try to
      make the people you have work more. I have almost never seen that work
      in the short term and I've never seen it work in the long term. It is
      unlikely that people will learn from their mistakes by forcing
      overtime. Rather it will just build resentment in addition to damaging
      the things Ron mentioned.

      Maybe the scrum master needs to do a 5 whys root cause analysis on
      this issue with whole team. The only way I can see velocity being 0 is
      if no one is watching the sprint burndown and everyone is doing their
      own thing working entirely independent of everyone else.
    • James S. Fosdick, PMP, CSP
      A) One cannot demand a commitment. A commitment is either made or it is not. B) One cannot demand that a commitment be met. A commitment is either met or it is
      Message 41 of 41 , Aug 22, 2008
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        A) One cannot demand a commitment. A commitment is either made or it
        is not.
        B) One cannot demand that a commitment be met. A commitment is either
        met or it is not and stamping your foot has no effect on that.

        Ultimately there appear to be some fairly significant impediments in
        play here. Does your team keep a sprint burndown and update it daily?
        If so was it not apparent by the end of the first week of the sprint
        that you were off track? If the answer to either of those questions is
        no the team needs to figure out why.

        Secondly, consistent over commitment is a systemic problem. It might
        be due to a lack of effort but probably there are other factors.
        Assuming at the outset that people aren't trying hard enough seems
        like a very "Theory X" way to approach the problem that is not likely
        to produce results. And in the extreme case of a velocity of 0 there
        is undoubtedly something completely broken about your process. The
        scrum master should be investigating that. The last thing I'll say is
        that although every team is unique, there are common patterns (and
        anti-patterns) that tend to crop up. The biggest anti-pattern I
        observe all the time is that an application of resources will resolve
        an organizational impediment. When the team is not making its
        commitments the knee jerk response is to add more people or try to
        make the people you have work more. I have almost never seen that work
        in the short term and I've never seen it work in the long term. It is
        unlikely that people will learn from their mistakes by forcing
        overtime. Rather it will just build resentment in addition to damaging
        the things Ron mentioned.

        Maybe the scrum master needs to do a 5 whys root cause analysis on
        this issue with whole team. The only way I can see velocity being 0 is
        if no one is watching the sprint burndown and everyone is doing their
        own thing working entirely independent of everyone else.
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