Thursday, May 5, 2016

Sprint plan: common sense goes here

Now, let's here it for common sense! More and more I see this asset creeping into the advice we get about Agile, and even more so about how to handle the various things that show up in a sprint.

The latest: trying to "freeze" hard the sprint backlog may be impractical. It may be more slushy than a hard freeze. [Didn't we all know that all along?]

In an email blast of a blog posting, guru Mike Cohn tells us that sprint teams may be exposed to changes during a sprint. He calls them "interruptions", and so that is probably a better term, since all interruptions are not changes in scope, but they may bring about changes in the plan to apply resources to the sprint backlog.

However you look at it, Cohn uses this image to explain that "stuff happens":
Of course, every author who writes about Agile, including myself in both editions of my book (see below), writes about the need for white space, unallocated or unplanned time, or buffer periods, to include whole sprints as buffers (zero-scope sprints)

My own experience was with the Air Force on a back office project with a joint staff: On certain days, the military staff members would be on the parade ground or off on some exercise rather than being in the project space adhering to the schedule. Some planning for "corporate overhead" required, to be sure.

But, beyond the overhead, still it is that "change happens" and is brought to you by none other than your product owner or product manager. Though these folks are chartered to maintain discipline re scope changes, sometimes the change invades what is otherwise "iceland" (small i) ... the land of frozen sprint backlog. 

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