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Exchanging stories within the sprint...

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  • whurrelmann
    Hi, would like to hear your opinion on this matter: The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is not needed, so we skip it. The Product
    Message 1 of 17 , Jul 15, 2009
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      Hi,
      would like to hear your opinion on this matter:
      The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is not needed, so we skip it.
      The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to the standup and asks us to exchange the story with another one which has equal story points.
      What would you do?
      Of course, one obvious point is, that the PM is a chicken so he should not speak at all at the standup...
    • Don Gray
      ... I d ask the Product Manager to discuss this with the Product Owner. If there s room in the sprint for another story, the Product Owner should be the person
      Message 2 of 17 , Jul 15, 2009
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        > The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is
        > not needed, so we skip it. The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to
        > the standup and asks us to exchange the story with another one which
        > has equal story points. What would you do?

        I'd ask the Product Manager to discuss this with the Product Owner.
        If there's room in the sprint for another story, the Product Owner
        should be the person to bring the story to the team.

        --
        Don (336)414-4645

        I believe that we form our own lives, that we create our own reality and
        that every thing works out for the best. I know I drive some people crazy
        with what seems to be ridiculous optimism, but it has always worked for me.
        Jim Henson
        Add to your optimism at the AYE Conference Nov 7 - 11, 2009
        www.AYEconference.com
      • Mark Summers
        A few random thoughts on the situation: It is defiantly the Product Owners call on the priority of the new feature. The team should discuss the new feature
        Message 3 of 17 , Jul 15, 2009
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          A few random thoughts on the situation:

          It is defiantly the Product Owners call on the priority of the new feature.

          The team should discuss the new feature with the Product Owner, at the end of the day it is up to the team as they are the only ones who can add items into the Sprint (mid-Sprint). If they think it puts the overall goal of the Sprint at risk then don't let the team touch it. However if it makes sense to do it then leave the decision up to the team.

          The story might be a similar size but be careful; there will be hidden costs because of switching focus.

          If you are in the situation that the PM/PO/various stakeholders are always changing their mind then you could use it as a learning opportunity, so that they learn to get their priorities sorted before the Sprint starts.

          Basically let the team decide if it goes wrong then make sure the team learn from it.

          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "whurrelmann" <whurrelmann@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi,
          > would like to hear your opinion on this matter:
          > The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is not needed, so we skip it.
          > The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to the standup and asks us to exchange the story with another one which has equal story points.
          > What would you do?
          > Of course, one obvious point is, that the PM is a chicken so he should not speak at all at the standup...
          >
        • jmilunsky
          I would allow them to switch for equal story points especially if the sprint is still on track and it in no way impacts the current sprint. I would add that if
          Message 4 of 17 , Jul 15, 2009
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            I would allow them to switch for equal story points especially if the sprint is still on track and it in no way impacts the current sprint. I would add that if you already started work on that story, then I would stop work and wouldn't add the other story in until i was finished the other stories that were planned. i.e. in this case i would leave it till last.

            Hope this helps,

            Jack
            www.agilebuddy.com
            blog.agilebuddy.com
            twitter.com/agilebuddy
            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "whurrelmann" <whurrelmann@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi,
            > would like to hear your opinion on this matter:
            > The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is not needed, so we skip it.
            > The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to the standup and asks us to exchange the story with another one which has equal story points.
            > What would you do?
            > Of course, one obvious point is, that the PM is a chicken so he should not speak at all at the standup...
            >
          • Doug McQuilken
            Other random thoughts: 1) also be careful of impediments with the additional story.... 2) our team usually had at least a short prioritized backlog going into
            Message 5 of 17 , Jul 15, 2009
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              Other random thoughts:

              1) also be careful of impediments with the additional story....

              2) our team usually had at least a short prioritized backlog going into each sprint. This allowed the team to work effectively should excess capacity be available (for whatever reason). In addition, the team would select the story(s) that they could commit to - not necessarily the first on the backlog.

              Regards,
              Doug


              --- On Wed, 7/15/09, Mark Summers <markwilliamsummers@...> wrote:

              From: Mark Summers <markwilliamsummers@...>
              Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Exchanging stories within the sprint...
              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 11:03 AM

              A few random thoughts on the situation:

              It is defiantly the Product Owners call on the priority of the new feature.

              The team should discuss the new feature with the Product Owner, at the end of the day it is up to the team as they are the only ones who can add items into the Sprint (mid-Sprint) . If they think it puts the overall goal of the Sprint at risk then don't let the team touch it. However if it makes sense to do it then leave the decision up to the team.

              The story might be a similar size but be careful; there will be hidden costs because of switching focus.

              If you are in the situation that the PM/PO/various stakeholders are always changing their mind then you could use it as a learning opportunity, so that they learn to get their priorities sorted before the Sprint starts.

              Basically let the team decide if it goes wrong then make sure the team learn from it.

              --- In scrumdevelopment@ yahoogroups. com, "whurrelmann" <whurrelmann@ ...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi,
              > would like to hear your opinion on this matter:
              > The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is not needed, so we skip it.
              > The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to the standup and asks us to exchange the story with another one which has equal story points.
              > What would you do?
              > Of course, one obvious point is, that the PM is a chicken so he should not speak at all at the standup...
              >

            • George Dinwiddie
              ... +1 -- ... * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
              Message 6 of 17 , Jul 15, 2009
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                Don Gray wrote:
                >> The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is
                >> not needed, so we skip it. The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to
                >> the standup and asks us to exchange the story with another one which
                >> has equal story points. What would you do?
                >
                > I'd ask the Product Manager to discuss this with the Product Owner.
                > If there's room in the sprint for another story, the Product Owner
                > should be the person to bring the story to the team.

                +1


                --
                ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                ----------------------------------------------------------------------
              • Ron Jeffries
                Hello, George. On Wednesday, July 15, 2009, at 12:41:13 PM, you ... Yes. The PO has the sole responsibility to select what is to be done, AFAIK. Ron Jeffries
                Message 7 of 17 , Jul 15, 2009
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                  Hello, George. On Wednesday, July 15, 2009, at 12:41:13 PM, you
                  wrote:

                  > Don Gray wrote:
                  >>> The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is
                  >>> not needed, so we skip it. The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to
                  >>> the standup and asks us to exchange the story with another one which
                  >>> has equal story points. What would you do?
                  >>
                  >> I'd ask the Product Manager to discuss this with the Product Owner.
                  >> If there's room in the sprint for another story, the Product Owner
                  >> should be the person to bring the story to the team.

                  > +1

                  Yes. The PO has the sole responsibility to select what is to be
                  done, AFAIK.

                  Ron Jeffries
                  www.XProgramming.com
                  www.xprogramming.com/blog
                  Show me the features!
                • Petri Heiramo
                  Hi, ... Switching a story is never a trivial issue, at least from the outside. The development team must be the one accepting a change, because it s then their
                  Message 8 of 17 , Jul 15, 2009
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                    Hi,


                    > I would allow them to switch for equal story points especially
                    > if the sprint is still on track and it in no way impacts the
                    > current sprint. I would add that if you already started work
                    > on that story, then I would stop work and wouldn't add the
                    > other story in until i was finished the other stories that
                    > were planned. i.e. in this case i would leave it till last.

                    Switching a story is never a trivial issue, at least from the outside. The development team must be the one accepting a change, because it's then their responsibility to deliver the story.

                    Imagine if the team had already half-done the story that was removed. Switching a story of same size would mean that they now have more work than originally planned in the iteration.

                    That said, I think that the teams are most of the time quite willing to accommodate change during the iteration, because it often means higher value for the customer.


                    Yours, Petri


                    ---
                    Petri Heiramo
                    Process Development Manager, Agile Coach (CST)
                    Digia Plc., Finland
                  • Petri Heiramo
                    ... 100%, but the team must still accept that change. And they have the right to say no, which then means that the product backlog is changed, or that the PO
                    Message 9 of 17 , Jul 15, 2009
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                      > > Don Gray wrote:
                      > >>> The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is
                      > >>> not needed, so we skip it. The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to
                      > >>> the standup and asks us to exchange the story with another one which
                      > >>> has equal story points. What would you do?
                      > >>
                      > >> I'd ask the Product Manager to discuss this with the Product Owner.
                      > >> If there's room in the sprint for another story, the Product Owner
                      > >> should be the person to bring the story to the team.
                      >
                      > > +1
                      >
                      > Yes. The PO has the sole responsibility to select what is to be
                      > done, AFAIK.

                      100%, but the team must still accept that change. And they have the right to say no, which then means that the product backlog is changed, or that the PO must make other prioritizations so that the story fits in the sprint (like removing other lower priority stories off the sprint).


                      Yours, Petri


                      ---
                      Petri Heiramo
                      Process Development Manager, Agile Coach (CST)
                      Digia Plc., Finland
                    • Ron Jeffries
                      Hello, Petri. On Thursday, July 16, 2009, at 2:52:05 AM, you ... Yes. My point is that the PM isn t supposed to go around the PO. Agreed that the team accepts
                      Message 10 of 17 , Jul 16, 2009
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                        Hello, Petri. On Thursday, July 16, 2009, at 2:52:05 AM, you
                        wrote:

                        >>
                        >> Yes. The PO has the sole responsibility to select what is to be
                        >> done, AFAIK.

                        > 100%, but the team must still accept that change. And they have
                        > the right to say no, which then means that the product backlog is
                        > changed, or that the PO must make other prioritizations so that
                        > the story fits in the sprint (like removing other lower priority stories off the sprint).

                        Yes. My point is that the PM isn't supposed to go around the PO.
                        Agreed that the team accepts the change or not. In fact, canonical
                        Scrum said that no changes were allowed at all, if I correctly
                        understood it.

                        Ron Jeffries
                        www.XProgramming.com
                        www.xprogramming.com/blog
                        A lot of preconceptions can be dismissed when you actually
                        try something out. -- Bruce Eckel
                      • duncan.smith99
                        ... not needed, so we skip it. ... exchange the story with another one which has equal story points. ... not speak at all at the standup... If the Product
                        Message 11 of 17 , Jul 16, 2009
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                          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "whurrelmann" <whurrelmann@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > Hi,
                          > would like to hear your opinion on this matter:
                          > The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is
                          not needed, so we skip it.
                          > The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to the standup and asks us to
                          exchange the story with another one which has equal story points.
                          > What would you do?
                          > Of course, one obvious point is, that the PM is a chicken so he should
                          not speak at all at the standup...


                          If the Product Owner decides to change priorities mid-Sprint (and only
                          the Product Owner can do this), the Scrum mechanism for this is to
                          abnormally terminate the Sprint and have a new Sprint Planning meeting,
                          where the reason for the termination is reviewed.

                          It seems reasonable for the Product Owner to remove a story that was
                          selected for the Sprint. If the Team completes its Sprint work and has
                          capacity for more, they can ask the Product Owner for the next highest
                          priority item that will fit in the remainder of the Sprint.

                          Duncan Smith
                        • Dan Rawsthorne
                          This is such a common problem it is the topic of one of the chapters in my (in process) book. The title is Adjusting Sprint Content , and a PDF is attached
                          Message 12 of 17 , Jul 16, 2009
                          This is such a common problem it is the topic of one of the chapters in
                          my (in process) book. The title is "Adjusting Sprint Content", and a PDF
                          is attached

                          Dan Rawsthorne, PhD, CST
                          Senior Coach, Danube Technologies
                          dan@..., 425-269-8628



                          duncan.smith99 wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                          > <mailto:scrumdevelopment%40yahoogroups.com>, "whurrelmann"
                          > <whurrelmann@...>
                          > wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Hi,
                          > > would like to hear your opinion on this matter:
                          > > The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is
                          > not needed, so we skip it.
                          > > The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to the standup and asks us to
                          > exchange the story with another one which has equal story points.
                          > > What would you do?
                          > > Of course, one obvious point is, that the PM is a chicken so he should
                          > not speak at all at the standup...
                          >
                          > If the Product Owner decides to change priorities mid-Sprint (and only
                          > the Product Owner can do this), the Scrum mechanism for this is to
                          > abnormally terminate the Sprint and have a new Sprint Planning meeting,
                          > where the reason for the termination is reviewed.
                          >
                          > It seems reasonable for the Product Owner to remove a story that was
                          > selected for the Sprint. If the Team completes its Sprint work and has
                          > capacity for more, they can ask the Product Owner for the next highest
                          > priority item that will fit in the remainder of the Sprint.
                          >
                          > Duncan Smith
                          >
                          >
                        • mike.dwyer1@comcast.net
                          A scrum backlog is frozen. That being said you also have to recognize two more immutable rules. The PO has one more vote than anyone else and dead scrummasters
                          Message 13 of 17 , Jul 16, 2009
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                            A scrum backlog is frozen. That being said you also have to recognize two more immutable rules. The PO has one more vote than anyone else and dead scrummasters add no value.
                            What to do. What to do.
                            So the first thing is to see what stories have not been started. If the estimated time they represent equals or is greater than the time the new thing needs, the PO can swap them. This covered by the "OK, what don't you want done" clause". The other option is blow up the sprint.

                            Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


                            From: Ron Jeffries
                            Date: Thu, 16 Jul 2009 08:09:07 -0400
                            To: <scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com>
                            Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Exchanging stories within the sprint...

                             

                            Hello, Petri. On Thursday, July 16, 2009, at 2:52:05 AM, you
                            wrote:

                            >>
                            >> Yes. The PO has the sole responsibility to select what is to be
                            >> done, AFAIK.

                            > 100%, but the team must still accept that change. And they have
                            > the right to say no, which then means that the product backlog is
                            > changed, or that the PO must make other prioritizations so that
                            > the story fits in the sprint (like removing other lower priority stories off the sprint).

                            Yes. My point is that the PM isn't supposed to go around the PO.
                            Agreed that the team accepts the change or not. In fact, canonical
                            Scrum said that no changes were allowed at all, if I correctly
                            understood it.

                            Ron Jeffries
                            www.XProgramming. com
                            www.xprogramming. com/blog
                            A lot of preconceptions can be dismissed when you actually
                            try something out. -- Bruce Eckel

                          • Petri Heiramo
                            ... Exactly, that is very important. ... It could be phrased that way, but Scrum does say that if it impossible for the team to make the commitment, they can
                            Message 14 of 17 , Jul 17, 2009
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                              > > 100%, but the team must still accept that change. And they have
                              > > the right to say no, which then means that the product backlog is
                              > > changed, or that the PO must make other prioritizations so that
                              > > the story fits in the sprint (like removing other lower priority stories off the sprint).
                              >
                              > Yes. My point is that the PM isn't supposed to go around the PO.

                              Exactly, that is very important.

                              > Agreed that the team accepts the change or not. In fact, canonical
                              > Scrum said that no changes were allowed at all, if I correctly
                              > understood it.

                              It could be phrased that way, but Scrum does say that if it impossible for the team to make the commitment, they can initiate discussion to rescope the sprint with the PO.

                              Now that is a different case as this one, but a precedent has been made. As long as the team's authority is respected, I don't see why the team couldn't collaborate with the PO. Obviously, this is an area where the Team and SM must tread carefully, and make sure the PO (and possibly the PM, too) understands the procedure correctly.


                              Yours, Petri


                              ---
                              Petri Heiramo
                              Process Development Manager, Agile Coach (CST)
                              Digia Plc., Finland
                            • Jayanthan Bhattathiripad
                              I would have replied to this email and said sure . A good thing I read all the replies. I didnt know Scrum could get so complicated. A good thing I am not an
                              Message 15 of 17 , Jul 19, 2009
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                                I would have replied to this email and said "sure". A good thing I read
                                all the replies. I didnt know Scrum could get so complicated. A good
                                thing I am not an SM.

                                :-)

                                My approach would most likely have been to get the PO's approval and see
                                if it can be done by the team. Explain the risks of course and move the
                                story to the bottom of the list for that sprint.

                                whurrelmann wrote:
                                >
                                >
                                > Hi,
                                > would like to hear your opinion on this matter:
                                > The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is
                                > not needed, so we skip it.
                                > The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to the standup and asks us to
                                > exchange the story with another one which has equal story points.
                                > What would you do?
                                > Of course, one obvious point is, that the PM is a chicken so he should
                                > not speak at all at the standup...
                                >
                                >
                              • Jacob Ozolins
                                Beep! What?
                                Message 16 of 17 , Jul 20, 2009
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                                  Beep! What?

                                  On Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 11:48 PM, <mike.dwyer1@...> wrote:
                                   

                                  A scrum backlog is frozen

                                  .


                                • Sean Hart
                                  ... Exactly - don t lose sight of the fact that the sprint is the result of negotiations between the team and the business. Also, blindly assuming that you
                                  Message 17 of 17 , Jul 20, 2009
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                                    --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Petri Heiramo" <petri.heiramo@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > > > Don Gray wrote:
                                    > > >>> The sprint is 2 days old and we find out that one of the stories is
                                    > > >>> not needed, so we skip it. The Product Manager (not the PO) comes to
                                    > > >>> the standup and asks us to exchange the story with another one which
                                    > > >>> has equal story points. What would you do?
                                    > > >>
                                    > > >> I'd ask the Product Manager to discuss this with the Product Owner.
                                    > > >> If there's room in the sprint for another story, the Product Owner
                                    > > >> should be the person to bring the story to the team.
                                    > >
                                    > > > +1
                                    > >
                                    > > Yes. The PO has the sole responsibility to select what is to be
                                    > > done, AFAIK.
                                    >
                                    > 100%, but the team must still accept that change. And they have the right to say no, which then means that the product backlog is changed, or that the PO must make other prioritizations so that the story fits in the sprint (like removing other lower priority stories off the sprint).
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Yours, Petri
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > ---
                                    > Petri Heiramo
                                    > Process Development Manager, Agile Coach (CST)
                                    > Digia Plc., Finland
                                    >

                                    Exactly - don't lose sight of the fact that the sprint is the result of negotiations between the team and the business. Also, blindly assuming that you can just swap out one story for another with an equal estimate while the sprint is in progress. Two days into the sprint, some amount of work has been done on that story, even if a single test or line of code has yet to be written. The redacted story has been vetted by the team and PO, and it probably has undergone some decomposition of tasks. In other words, the team has already started down a path where this story is planned to be among the body of work intended for delivery.

                                    Regardless, I would only recommend suspending or loosening the "immutable sprint contract" principle if your team and PO/business have developed a good working relationship with one another. Also, I think you want to discourage your PO from just finding a story in his/her backlog with the same estimate as the obsolete one. That smacks of giving the team "busy work," instead of helping them to provide additional value. Instead, try getting the PO and the team together, and find a way to alter the conditions of the PO's highest-priority story to a point where the PO is happy with the value delivered, and where the team can comfortably commit to taking it on during the sprint.

                                    If your team and the PO are still feeling each other out, that may not be the best time to introduce an alteration to the sprint. Instead, encourage them to pay down some of the technical debt that any software development team is likely to incur. Or encourage the team to come up with some improvements for one or more of the stories on the sprint backlog (perhaps there was some desire of the PO that was negotiated out of the sprint's scope during the planning session, and now the team has the bandwidth to get it done). Or, if the team is done significantly early, maybe you can consider cutting the sprint short (I'd save that as a last resort, if you would be stuck with a team that is twiddling its thumbs for several days).
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