Tuesday, 24 March 2009

ScrumBut - No Release Planning

"Were doing Scrum-But ..."

The ScrumBut phenomena has started to appear more and more as scrum has started to take its hold in the industry. I want to add one ScrumBut i was in charge of and it went like this:

We were doing scrum but: We had no release planning.

At the time we were undergoing so many directional shifts that each time we tried to flesh out a release plan, it changed drastically causing any planning effort to fail. Also our acting PO wasn't involved enough, a fact which also contributed to to difficulty of achieving a stable enough release plan. So we went and continued without it.

And actually it wasn't a complete disaster, we achieved a very short sprint length of 1 week, we added to that various engineering practices like TDD, CI and Pair programming and we managed to maintain a constant development rhythm with good quality.

however we were missing several big things, in fact we completely gave up on any attempt to see and track the bigger goals. I wasn't able to predict anything beyond the end of the current sprint and the developers found it difficult to understand the "bigger" picture. Eli has described the problem:

So if the management has a goal: Close Sale with Customer [put huge customer], and to do this the R&D must implement the ABC feature. We might reach the end of the month without that feature being implemented and management won’t know about it.


The thing is, that what we were doing seriously lacking, and due to us changing the process and failing to do it properly we got the what can only be described as the logical result.

When you don't plan on the higher level (release), you cant project beyond the micro level (sprint). You don't measure overall progress, and you lose the ability to manage on that high level. Naturally you cant be sure when things will be done or when things are not going according to plan.

At Typemock the solution for this was to adapt an "integrity" based management approach, and so far it seems to be working for them. However what Eli reports as "The differences between Scrum and integrity" is actually based on a something which is Scrum based but is too lacking to represent actual Scrum done properly.


Ella Mapple said...

I definitely agree with you. In today's fast changing environment, requirements keep changing, and all this upfront planning is wasted if there is a major change in the specification at a later point of time. But Agile follows self-organized style as individuals are not managed and the organization is de-centralized.

Lior Friedman: said...

Hi Ella,

I'm not sure what you are trying to say.
can you please be more specific?

thank you

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