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RE: [scrumdevelopment] Project Backlog Retrofit

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  • Mike Cohn
    Hi-- There s no definitive answer. You want to define the backlog items you ll do soon in more detail than ones you won t do for awhile. My general guideline
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 4, 2005
      Hi--
      There's no definitive answer. You want to define the backlog items you'll do
      soon in more detail than ones you won't do for awhile. My general guideline
      is that I want to pull in about 1-2 items per person per sprint. (I know
      that a person doesn't become dedicated to a task but this helps size the
      backlog.) So, a 6 person team would bring in 6-12 items. Pick where you want
      to be on that end of it based on whether you're doing 2 or 4-week sprints.

      If you want to capture more detail, try capturing it in the form of test
      specs as in "This backlog item will be done when the following are true..."
      Ideally you can capture those in something like FitNesse that you can later
      make executable.

      I hate to steer you to a book for great answers but...My "User Stories
      Applied" book is largely about exactly the question you are answering. It
      describes user stories as a general agile requirements technique but also
      includes one chapter specifically on using stories as the product backlog
      for Scrum.

      Good luck,

      --Mike Cohn
      Author of User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development
      www.mountaingoatsoftware.com
      www.userstories.com

      -----Original Message-----
      From: the_heidster [mailto:the_heidster@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 7:35 PM
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Project Backlog Retrofit



      Hi Everyone,
      I am new to the group and to Scrum. I have read most of Ken's 2 books
      and other Agile principals and have had the intellectual epiphany and
      have actually gotten the go ahead to use Scrum on a project we are in
      the middle of. I'm the business analyst and have had direct contact
      with the customer for several months now, documenting, in great
      detail, a large, complex project. We have a dev team of 8 talented
      people who have been coding for 2.5 months with no production level
      code yet ready. We're knee deep in bugs with no foreseeable end. So I
      proposed Scrum and it was agreed to. Now I am tasked with the initial
      product backlog and giving an estimate of how long we think the
      project is going to take (in addition to conveying the Scrum
      principals which are being absorbed by the team with vigor). My
      question is, at what level do I define the product backlog? I have
      knowledge of the req'mnts down to the smallest minutia and really
      need the big picture estimate. Would any of you experienced
      ScrumMasters be able to help me out with some guidance? Management is
      expecting an answer on Monday as to where the project is now and how
      long is left. At least they now understand that this will be an
      estimate, really. Thanks for any help you could give.






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    • the_heidster
      Hi Mike, Thanks so much for your response. I had actually downloaded the excerpt from your book, Ch 2 Writing Stories and it was very helpful. But I did
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 5, 2005
        Hi Mike,

        Thanks so much for your response. I had actually downloaded the
        excerpt from your book, Ch 2 Writing Stories and it was very
        helpful. But I did realize that it is for writing stories for the
        actual Sprint, while I am at a higher lever. I will get the book for
        some guidance on writing product backlog. What I came to last night
        is that I need not go into a lot of detail for things that are
        almost done (gosh, I hate using that term now -- but we've been
        coding for 2 months and a lot of detail is known in some areas) and
        for the things that are not done I will take your approach. OK, off
        to Amazon :-)

        Thanks again,
        Heidi Bush

        From: "Mike Cohn" <mike@m...>
        Date: Tue Jan 4, 2005 10:39 pm
        Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Project Backlog Retrofit





        Hi--
        There's no definitive answer. You want to define the backlog items
        you'll do
        soon in more detail than ones you won't do for awhile. My general
        guideline
        is that I want to pull in about 1-2 items per person per sprint. (I
        know
        that a person doesn't become dedicated to a task but this helps size
        the
        backlog.) So, a 6 person team would bring in 6-12 items. Pick where
        you want
        to be on that end of it based on whether you're doing 2 or 4-week
        sprints.

        If you want to capture more detail, try capturing it in the form of
        test
        specs as in "This backlog item will be done when the following are
        true..."
        Ideally you can capture those in something like FitNesse that you
        can later
        make executable.

        I hate to steer you to a book for great answers but...My "User
        Stories
        Applied" book is largely about exactly the question you are
        answering. It
        describes user stories as a general agile requirements technique but
        also
        includes one chapter specifically on using stories as the product
        backlog
        for Scrum.

        Good luck,

        --Mike Cohn
        Author of User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development
        www.mountaingoatsoftware.com
        www.userstories.com

        -----Original Message-----
        From: the_heidster [mailto:the_heidster@y...]
        Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 7:35 PM
        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Project Backlog Retrofit



        Hi Everyone,
        I am new to the group and to Scrum. I have read most of Ken's 2 books
        and other Agile principals and have had the intellectual epiphany and
        have actually gotten the go ahead to use Scrum on a project we are in
        the middle of. I'm the business analyst and have had direct contact
        with the customer for several months now, documenting, in great
        detail, a large, complex project. We have a dev team of 8 talented
        people who have been coding for 2.5 months with no production level
        code yet ready. We're knee deep in bugs with no foreseeable end. So I
        proposed Scrum and it was agreed to. Now I am tasked with the initial
        product backlog and giving an estimate of how long we think the
        project is going to take (in addition to conveying the Scrum
        principals which are being absorbed by the team with vigor). My
        question is, at what level do I define the product backlog? I have
        knowledge of the req'mnts down to the smallest minutia and really
        need the big picture estimate. Would any of you experienced
        ScrumMasters be able to help me out with some guidance? Management is
        expecting an answer on Monday as to where the project is now and how
        long is left. At least they now understand that this will be an
        estimate, really. Thanks for any help you could give.






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