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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Concept of "work ahead" team

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  • Cass Dalton
    I still feel that this makes the dev team lose out on some of that good conversation. Understanding what makes a story better gives the dev team valuable
    Message 1 of 25 , Sep 3, 2013
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      I still feel that this makes the dev team lose out on some of that good conversation.  Understanding what makes a story "better" gives the dev team valuable context for that story

      On Sep 3, 2013 9:52 AM, "Alix Moghdam" <ali.moghadam@...> wrote:
       

      It seems that this team is helping the PO to create a better backlog. If so, I think it does not harm. But they should remain at the PO fields and boundaries: Defining Stories from business point of view and prioritizing them. And the PO should still be responsible about the final decisions. This team just helps him/her.
      If this team falls into technical fields, then it could be an anti-pattern. They should not decide about implementation, design, and other development-related topics. 
       
      @Alix


      On Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 10:48 PM, Richard Griffiths <richard@...> wrote:
       

      Michael, Srinivas, Madhur

       

      Thanks for the responses (condensed for brevity)

       

      > When you refer to the "chosen few" I'm curious who is doing that choosing.

       

      Actually the sub team has formed from within the team - PO, BA and architect, they very much look at up-coming stories to get them in some form of shape for the whole team to review them at story sizing/grooming sessions.

       

      > A sub-team (of a chosen few) which regularly does this tends to form a unspoken (maybe even spoken) hierarchy which is best avoided. 

       

      We do have some time-zone issues and not everyone is able to meet to plan for the future and groom the backlog on a daily basis; this way we get team input, and as noted, we do rotate people in and out, but it seems to be working.

       

      We have planned grooming sessions (one per week) where everyone attends and we refine and size as appropriate

       

      I was more concerned that there was an expectation that the sub-team/work ahead group would estimate the stories.

       

      My answer was, fine, as long as they, and they only, are happy to take on the work J

       

      Richard

       


      From: Richard Griffiths <richard@...>
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, 27 August 2013 12:28 PM
      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Concept of "work ahead" team

       

       

      Hi all, I’ve started to hear this more often – the “work ahead” team being a smaller group out of the team (BA, Architect, UX) who will groom the stories, relatively size them, have them ready for the team to do further work on.

       

      Shouldn’t the whole team be involved in these exercises, not the chosen few?

       

      --

      Richard

       

      Speed is n0 subsitute fnor accurancy

       

       


    • George Dinwiddie
      Hi, Richard, ... I ve found that grooming stories with the whole team can drag on and on, accomplishing relatively little and frustrating everyone. On the
      Message 2 of 25 , Sep 3, 2013
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        Hi, Richard,

        On 8/27/13 2:58 AM, Richard Griffiths wrote:
        >
        >
        > Hi all, I’ve started to hear this more often – the “work ahead” team
        > being a smaller group out of the team (BA, Architect, UX) who will groom
        > the stories, relatively size them, have them ready for the team to do
        > further work on.
        >
        > Shouldn’t the whole team be involved in these exercises, not the chosen few?

        I've found that grooming stories with the whole team can drag on and on,
        accomplishing relatively little and frustrating everyone. On the other
        hand, it's important that everyone have some involvement. It's
        particularly important that someone doing the work not be handed an
        estimate made by someone not doing the work.

        About 5 years ago we pioneered a "Three Amigos" process at a client
        where a small group containing the product owner, a tester, and a
        programmer (and sometimes more, particularly UX in that client) would
        discuss a story or two to get it clear on the details. Today I recommend
        that this discussion result in acceptance scenarios that clarify the
        story and indicate minimum acceptance criteria. Often there are many
        such scenarios, and the story can be split along the lines of the scenarios.

        Different sets of "Three Amigos" would work on grooming different
        stories on different days, giving everybody involvement in the process
        but not everybody involved in the same stories.

        This clarification would happen before the planning meeting. At the
        planning meeting, everyone took part in estimation and determining how
        many stories fit. The clarity brought by having explicit examples in the
        acceptance scenarios made the estimation and planning proceed much more
        quickly.

        You might be interested in this article from Better Software:
        http://manage.techwell.com/articles/weekly/three-amigos

        - George

        --
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
        Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
        Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      • Adrian Howard
        ... Are there other ways to drop the annoyance level? For example: * grooming less at a time (my preference) * things like affinity estimation
        Message 3 of 25 , Sep 3, 2013
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          On 3 September 2013 17:52, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:
          > I've found that grooming stories with the whole team can drag on and on,
          > accomplishing relatively little and frustrating everyone. On the other
          > hand, it's important that everyone have some involvement. It's
          > particularly important that someone doing the work not be handed an
          > estimate made by someone not doing the work.

          Are there other ways to drop the annoyance level? For example:

          * grooming less at a time (my preference)
          * things like affinity estimation
          (http://kanemar.com/2008/04/21/scrum-trainers-gathering-44-affinity-estimating/)

          Not arguing that 3 Amigos is a useful approach... but as years go buy
          I'm more and more hesitant about approaches that stop the whole team
          participating.

          Cheers,

          Adrian
          --
          adrianh@... / +44 (0)7752 419080 / @adrianh / quietstars.com
          Subscribe to the latest Agile & Lean UX news here > http://is.gd/KREt5S
        • Ron Jeffries
          Hi Adrian, ... I tend to agree. Limiting knowledge / learning to a few seems off to me. Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com I know we always like to say it ll be
          Message 4 of 25 , Sep 3, 2013
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            Hi Adrian,

            On Sep 3, 2013, at 8:34 PM, Adrian Howard <adrianh@...> wrote:

            Not arguing that 3 Amigos is a useful approach... but as years go buy
            I'm more and more hesitant about approaches that stop the whole team
            participating.

            I tend to agree. Limiting knowledge / learning to a few seems off to me.

            Ron Jeffries
            I know we always like to say it'll be easier to do it now than it
            will be to do it later. Not likely. I plan to be smarter later than
            I am now, so I think it'll be just as easy later, maybe even easier.
            Why pay now when we can pay later?

          • Adam Sroka
            My interpretation of three amigos is that it does not preclude whole team participation but describes the three viewpoints required to have a quorum on any
            Message 5 of 25 , Sep 3, 2013
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              My interpretation of three amigos is that it does not preclude whole team participation but describes the three viewpoints required to have a quorum on any story. On a high functioning team anyone should be able to represent any of the three. So, you need a pair to have the conversation and the customer/PO to make the final call. 

              On Tuesday, September 3, 2013, Adrian Howard wrote:
               

              On 3 September 2013 17:52, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:
              > I've found that grooming stories with the whole team can drag on and on,
              > accomplishing relatively little and frustrating everyone. On the other
              > hand, it's important that everyone have some involvement. It's
              > particularly important that someone doing the work not be handed an
              > estimate made by someone not doing the work.

              Are there other ways to drop the annoyance level? For example:

              * grooming less at a time (my preference)
              * things like affinity estimation
              (http://kanemar.com/2008/04/21/scrum-trainers-gathering-44-affinity-estimating/)

              Not arguing that 3 Amigos is a useful approach... but as years go buy
              I'm more and more hesitant about approaches that stop the whole team
              participating.

              Cheers,

              Adrian
              --
              adrianh@... / +44 (0)7752 419080 / @adrianh / quietstars.com
              Subscribe to the latest Agile & Lean UX news here > http://is.gd/KREt5S

            • Adam Sroka
              Perhaps, if we are planning in a manner that feels like it is a waste of time for some of the folks on the team, it is, in fact, a waste of the time for
              Message 6 of 25 , Sep 3, 2013
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                Perhaps, if we are planning in a manner that feels like it is a waste of time for some of the folks on the team, it is, in fact, a waste of the time for everyone on the team, and we should find a leaner and more effective way to plan. Conversations that are valuable are not a waste of anyone's time. 


                On Tue, Sep 3, 2013 at 8:38 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                 

                Hi Adrian,


                On Sep 3, 2013, at 8:34 PM, Adrian Howard <adrianh@...> wrote:

                Not arguing that 3 Amigos is a useful approach... but as years go buy
                I'm more and more hesitant about approaches that stop the whole team
                participating.

                I tend to agree. Limiting knowledge / learning to a few seems off to me.


                Ron Jeffries
                I know we always like to say it'll be easier to do it now than it
                will be to do it later. Not likely. I plan to be smarter later than
                I am now, so I think it'll be just as easy later, maybe even easier.
                Why pay now when we can pay later?


              • Adrian Howard
                ... That feels right to me. Cheers, Adrian -- adrianh@quietstars.com / +44 (0)7752 419080 / @adrianh / quietstars.com Join my Fundamentals of Lean UX workshop,
                Message 7 of 25 , Sep 3, 2013
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                  On 4 September 2013 02:05, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:
                  Perhaps, if we are planning in a manner that feels like it is a waste of time for some of the folks on the team, it is, in fact, a waste of the time for everyone on the team, and we should find a leaner and more effective way to plan. Conversations that are valuable are not a waste of anyone's time. 

                  That feels right to me.

                  Cheers,

                  Adrian
                  -- 
                  adrianh@... / +44 (0)7752 419080 / @adrianh / quietstars.com
                  Join my Fundamentals of Lean UX workshop, Sep 4, http://uxcambridge.net

                • George Dinwiddie
                  Adrian, ... That s part of this. But when we first did this, it was also part of the whole team exercise. ... Estimating is not part of the grooming. That s
                  Message 8 of 25 , Sep 3, 2013
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                    Adrian,

                    On 9/3/13 8:34 PM, Adrian Howard wrote:
                    > On 3 September 2013 17:52, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:
                    >> I've found that grooming stories with the whole team can drag on and on,
                    >> accomplishing relatively little and frustrating everyone. On the other
                    >> hand, it's important that everyone have some involvement. It's
                    >> particularly important that someone doing the work not be handed an
                    >> estimate made by someone not doing the work.
                    >
                    > Are there other ways to drop the annoyance level? For example:
                    >
                    > * grooming less at a time (my preference)

                    That's part of this. But when we first did this, it was also part of the
                    whole team exercise.

                    > * things like affinity estimation
                    > (http://kanemar.com/2008/04/21/scrum-trainers-gathering-44-affinity-estimating/)

                    Estimating is not part of the grooming. That's generally done at the
                    planning meeting by the whole team. And, yes, I find affinity estimating
                    a better technique than most. I've considered counting the scenarios. I
                    generally recommend calling them all "1."

                    > Not arguing that 3 Amigos is a useful approach... but as years go buy
                    > I'm more and more hesitant about approaches that stop the whole team
                    > participating.

                    I suppose you can do mob programming, but most teams don't have
                    everybody working together on every task.

                    The Three Amigos approach doesn't stop the whole team from
                    participating. It does gain a lot of clarity in small group discussions,
                    but that clarity is then brought to the whole team at planning time. The
                    whole team is then able to assess each story more quickly. In my
                    experience, if people think that important scenarios are missing,
                    they'll generally say something.

                    The use of acceptance scenarios makes it easy to keep straight on what
                    is in a particular story, and what is out. Confusion over what's in and
                    what's out seems to cause most of the problems in whole-team grooming
                    exercises, in my experience. After a discussion that says "this part is
                    in and that part is out," invariably someone brings up the need for
                    "that part" later in the discussion.

                    Breaking into small groups and bringing it back to the larger group is a
                    time-honored and effective facilitation technique. But if you're
                    uncomfortable with it, by all means try it with the whole team. I think
                    the most important part of this is generating explicit scenarios to
                    illustrate the story. Doing so more efficiently is much less important.

                    - George

                    --
                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                    * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                    Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                    Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                  • George Dinwiddie
                    Ron, ... That would seem off to me, also. That s not what I recommend. - George -- ... * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                    Message 9 of 25 , Sep 3, 2013
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                      Ron,

                      On 9/3/13 8:38 PM, Ron Jeffries wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > Hi Adrian,
                      >
                      > On Sep 3, 2013, at 8:34 PM, Adrian Howard <adrianh@...
                      > <mailto:adrianh@...>> wrote:
                      >
                      >> Not arguing that 3 Amigos is a useful approach... but as years go buy
                      >> I'm more and more hesitant about approaches that stop the whole team
                      >> participating.
                      >
                      > I tend to agree. Limiting knowledge / learning to a few seems off to me.

                      That would seem off to me, also. That's not what I recommend.

                      - George

                      --
                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                      * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                      Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                      Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                    • George Dinwiddie
                      Adam, ... Yes, it s viewpoints, not job roles, that count. At a minimum, - someone to keep an eye on the business desires - someone to keep an eye on
                      Message 10 of 25 , Sep 3, 2013
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                        Adam,

                        On 9/3/13 8:54 PM, Adam Sroka wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > My interpretation of three amigos is that it does not preclude whole
                        > team participation but describes the three viewpoints required to have a
                        > quorum on any story. On a high functioning team anyone should be able to
                        > represent any of the three. So, you need a pair to have the conversation
                        > and the customer/PO to make the final call.

                        Yes, it's viewpoints, not job roles, that count. At a minimum,
                        - someone to keep an eye on the business desires
                        - someone to keep an eye on implementation issues
                        - someone to keep an eye on edge cases and what might go wrong.
                        I've found it better if these viewpoints are embodied in three separate
                        people in the discussion. Often one person CAN hold these three
                        viewpoints, but it's hard to do so simultaneously. And I caution people
                        that there may be other important viewpoints. Some common examples:
                        - someone to keep an eye on UX issues
                        - someone to keep an eye on security issues
                        - someone to keep an eye on specialized business desires that are
                        separate from user needs, such as accounting or legal

                        - George

                        --
                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                        * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                        Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                        Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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