Categories
Agile

Agile: Sprint Planning Meeting

The “other” meeting in Agile/Scrum. The Sprint Planning. You already have your “daily standups” or scrums going, but you need to actually *plan* your sprints. Before you start doing agile, you need to have an initial sprint planning. Call this pre-agile process sprint Sprint Zero or Sprint 0, or whatever, but it is going to be different than the sprint plannings after it. Why? Well, first let’s look into the planning pieces.

Now, you can split parts of these up into different meetings, but I like to keep them all together.

1. Retrospective15-20 minutes where you go around the room and ask each person. What went good this sprint, what went bad? Places to improve, places to keep things as is, what did you learn, etc, etc.

2. Review/Demo – 1 hour to 2 hours of going through all the stories you have completed in the previous sprint, reviewing with the “business” or the rest of the team, or product owner, etc. People can ask questions, and just getting all eyes on things helps to maybe find something subtle that someone else might have missed, etc.

3. Planning – This is the meat and potatoes section of your Spring Planning Meeting. Here is where you score all your stories that you have to score for the next sprint, or stories that are unscored in the backlog. This section of the meeting could last 2, 3, 4-6 hours depending on how many stories you have

So why would Sprint Zero be different? Well because you are just starting agile, you don’t have a Retrospective or a Review, you just do planning. (A more in depth post on just the “Planning” section is forthcoming)

Once you have scored all your stories, you are ready to go. After you go through your sprint, and you are nearing the end, you want to have another Sprint Planning Meeting, to plan out the next sprint. You do this type of “sprint”-ly iteration.. well, forever, or as long as your project is going to last.

I have found that holding sprint planning meetings starting early in the morning are better than the afternoon, just because people are more alert.

Also, having a good remote viewing option, such as Goto Meeting is going to make any remote do’ers happy.

Having some food and snacks for the team always is good too. A larger room where it isn’t as cramped is going to be good. Stuffing everyone into a smaller room for 6+ hours could lead to some crabbines, as well as just sweatiness 🙂

Of course, the Scrum Master is going to facilitate the meeting, but you might have one person or multiple do’ers drive the review/demo.


Categories
Agile

Agile: Retrospective

The retrospective. The cousin of the “postmortem”. Why not a postmortem? Because our project didn’t die. We want to reflect on what we did right, wrong, how we can improve, what did we learn.

What is the retrospective? I like to have a 15-20 minute section before “review” and “planning” in the Sprint Planning Meeting. Everyone goes around and says what can we do better? What did we do bad? What did I learn? Capture the thoughts and feelings of people and look back at the last retrospective and see what you did this sprint to improve on last sprint.

The hardest part of this “retro” seems to be 2 things, depending on team. Some teams find all the *bad* things and list them out. Some just find all the *good* things and list them out. You need to have a balance. Some things always go better, some worse, so put them out on the table.

If you don’t know where you came from, you don’t know where you are now, or where you are going.

Categories
Agile

Agile: Daily Standup, Daily Scrum

I hate meetings. Really, I do. They are toxic.

But one of the things your team needs to do is meet daily. With agile, it’s called the daily standup or daily scrum meeting. But what is it?

  • Every Day, 15 minutes
    The meeting needs to be every day. Every day (Monday-Friday). No Exceptions. No days off, no skipping, no excuses. Schedule it every day. 15 minutes. Try to get it in the same place
  • Stand up
    The reason it is called a “standup” meeting is that you need to actually stand up. Why? Because sitting down makes people take their time. Standing up makes people move faster, because they don’t want to stand for 60 minutes.
  • Three Questions
    What I did yesterday? What am I doing today? What’s in my way? Simple enough
  • Not Everyone
    You want your do’ers there, you want the scrum master and product owner, maybe some others, but not everyone needs to talk. Go around the room and the do’ers should give an update, others should just listen.
  • Details, but not too much
    Do’ers, when giving updates, should let team know what stories they are working on. If you use a virtual+physical board, you will have story #’s. Don’t just spout the numbers. Spout the numbers and the story title, and where you are at, maybe even burndown if you track that manually.
  • Keep on Track
    easy to get off track. Even with standing and whatever. Scrum master should make sure things keep moving. In, update, out, go. 15 minutes? Try to get done in 10.

Should you meet on your sprint planning day? I say yes.

What else does the daily standup bring us? Communication. Everyone should know what everyone else is working on, where things are at. People can’t hide. They need to give updates, they probably should have a good reason or be working on something else off sprint if they have no update.

What else does it bring? In my eyes: Discipline. Making sure you know what you did, what you are doing, and always meeting at the same time, and doing the same thing every day brings a little discipline to the team. Keeping things on track, 15 minutes, cruising through updates, instead of meeting speak and 60 minutes of babbling. It does good for everyone. It lets your do’ers get on with their day so they can keep burning down points!