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RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: SCRUM & Change / Defect Management

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  • Mike Beedle
    Sometimes keeping actuals is not a choice , is a mandatory: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scrumdevelopment/message/3300 mb ... From: Steve Bate
    Message 1 of 23 , May 4 8:54 AM
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      Message
      Sometimes keeping actuals is not a "choice", is a mandatory:
       
      mb


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Steve Bate [mailto:steve@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 9:20 AM
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Re: SCRUM & Change / Defect Management

      > > I'm curious why your developers are fine with daily updating of
      > > their remaining time estimates but they fight tracking actual time
      > > (again, for the purpose of calculating remaining time in the XPlanner
      > > context).
      >
      > The issue is that the effort expended has no definitive relationship with
      > the remaining estimate to complete (ETC), the number can even be negative,
      > i.e. after a day of effort the task ETC may have increased.

      Hi Tom,

      Right, most teams use XPlanner to calculate ETC based on the task effort
      estimate and the actual time worked (ETC = estimate - actual). However,
      ETC in XPlanner is always equal or greater than zero. If the actual would
      exceed the estimated effort, a new (larger) estimate is requested. A task
      can be reestimated at any time. After reestimation, the ETC might be larger
      or smaller.

      > As we are
      > focused on the planning aspect of the process (will we complete
      > the selected work this Sprint?) the only thing we need to track is ETC,
      > not actuals. Psychologically it is easier to re-estimate a larger ETC at
      > the end of a days work than explicitly record the fact that your estimate
      > was wrong or that you haven't worked hard/smart enough.

      I wondered if that last issue might be one of the sources of resistance
      to recording actuals.

      Our team uses ETC to track intra-iteration (we're an XP team) status. We
      generally use previous actuals and estimation accuracy during our planning
      activities although a task that's been significantly reestimated during
      an iteration might trigger a related discussion in the standup meeting.

      For example, we learned that we tend to underestimate web development
      stories and the team determined it was because the functional tests were
      difficult to write. This motivated us to improve our web testing
      framework. Other stories would tend to run over because they depended
      on obtaining business information from our parent company and we
      were often passed to several intermediate people while obtaining the
      data. Once we noticed the trend of those stories exceeded estimates
      and determined why, we worked with the parent company to create more
      efficient ways to obtain the data we needed. I believe that having
      hard evidence of the impact of these inefficiencies decreases the
      response time in addressing them.

      Ken Schwaber discussed the pros and cons of tracking actuals in
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scrumdevelopment/message/2832.

      I agree with Ken that it's not a silver bullet. Still, we have found
      the extra feedback to be useful.

      >...
      > > Eventually I'd like to extend XPlanner so that the planning and
      > > tracking can be configured to handle a wide range of XP process
      > > variants. This (and a Scrum-specific web skin) should also make
      > > it an even better fit for Scrum teams.
      >
      > Cool idea.  Once I've finished my house move I would like to help (Though
      > that date is moving out two days per calendar day!)

      :) I completely understand. I'm constantly doing a time balancing act
      between my myriad activities and working on XPlanner. Although the Scrum
      skin could be created immediately, the advanced configurability will require
      some significant internal refactoring over several releases. OTOH, even with
      the current implementation, the skin could present a view that only tracks
      ETC. Like I said in a previous message, I've never used XPlanner in this way
      but there shouldn't be any major problems. If there are small problems,
      I'd be happy to make those changes to better support Scrum teams.

      Regards,

      Steve




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    • Deb
      Agreed. For many of us, time reporting is mandated - usually not for the functioning of the team itself, but for management. I m of two minds as to whether
      Message 2 of 23 , May 4 11:45 AM
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        Agreed. For many of us, time reporting is mandated - usually not for
        the functioning of the team itself, but for management.

        I'm of two minds as to whether it's a bad thing to record time spent
        and time remaining in the same tool...

        In Scrum, I work hard to convince developers that I REALLY REALLY
        mean it, when I say "upate your estimates to reflect *real* time
        remaining". They have trouble believing that I DO want them to
        increase estimates when needed. One thing I'm always saying (to get
        them to lose the old habit of under-estimating) is "I don't care
        about your actuals". I never come back to them about actuals, and
        eventually they believe me...

        If I ask them to put "time spent" into the same tool as "time
        remaining", it /looks/ like I might be tracking their actuals vs
        estimates... will this make them hedge on the "time remaining"
        figures?

        And on the other hand, it's more convenient than having to open 2
        tools...
        ???


        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Beedle" <beedlem@e...>
        wrote:
        > Sometimes keeping actuals is not a "choice", is a mandatory:
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scrumdevelopment/message/3300
        >
        > mb
      • Doug Swartz
        ... Of course, you re right, sometimes actuals are necessary. I think the point that Tom is making is that it makes more sense to most developers (myself,
        Message 3 of 23 , May 4 4:17 PM
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          Tuesday, May 04, 2004, 10:54:17 AM, Mike Beedle wrote:

          > Sometimes keeping actuals is not a "choice", is a mandatory:
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scrumdevelopment/message/3300

          Of course, you're right, sometimes actuals are necessary.

          I think the point that Tom is making is that it makes more
          sense to most developers (myself, anyway) to estimate a new
          Estimated Time to Completion than to update ETC by attempting
          to re-estimate the total task.





          --

          Doug Swartz
          daswartz@...
        • w6rabbit
          ... Steve, I ve appreciated your interacting on this. I see now, why you might want to track the original estimate for planning purposes at the next sprint
          Message 4 of 23 , May 6 5:16 PM
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            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Steve Bate <steve@x> wrote:
            > Joe and Brad,
            >
            >
            > Eventually I'd like to extend XPlanner so that the planning and
            > tracking can be configured to handle a wide range of XP process
            > variants. This (and a Scrum-specific web skin) should also make
            > it an even better fit for Scrum teams.
            >
            Steve,

            I've appreciated your interacting on this.
            I see now, why you might want to track the
            original estimate for planning purposes at
            the next sprint meeting.

            It turns out that it won't matter for me
            for a while. My head IT guy doens't want to
            install Apache on any of our servers.
            I'm not sure what that's about, and he has
            somewhat avoided the question. But I don't
            want to irk him over such a small thing.
            So look like we'll go a different direction.

            We've got Deb's spreadsheet and I think that
            will do us for a while anyway.

            BTW, while I'm wrapping up this subject,
            isn't there a way to provide a compiled version
            of the app for common OSs for those who don't
            want to set up a develpment environment to
            recompile it? Might widen your market a bit.

            Lastly, your required list only shows Ant,
            but my understanding is that Ant requires Apache.
            If so, you might want to list that up front
            as a requirement. My IT people were a bit
            put out after getting all the pieces on the
            (IIS) web server to find that it needed
            apache. They wished they had known that up front.

            Thanks,
            Brad.
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