The iteration kick-off and planning meeting

Once you have a product backlog – it means you know what you are going to build and with which priorities – you can start your iterations and gradually build your product, functionality after functionality, always listening to the customers’ feedback and adapting to it.

You have already prepared a (draft) release plan so you know which functionalities will be built in every iteration, which known defects will be fixed but remember that this is just the initial plan (changes and new opportunities will arrive and will make you change the plan) and moreover the plan is a high level one, it does not go into details.

This is an analogue to Lean Manufacturing where you only build an Iteration Backlog when a Product Backlog is presented to you and requested to be turned into an increment; so this is Just In Time order processing.

Before actually starting with the iteration it is strongly recommended to have a planning session; this will also help as a kick-off for the team: what is expected from them in this iteration and what they can commit.
The purpose of the planning meeting is to give the team enough information to be able to work in undisturbed peace for a few weeks, and to give the product owner enough confidence to let them do so. Continue reading “The iteration kick-off and planning meeting”

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The sad truth about process improvement

This tweet from Scott Wlaschin nailed it: many changes, many process improvements fail because the companies do not stick with it long enough. They do not believe in it, it’s only a “let’s try this improvement for a while and see”.

By Scott Wlaschin

In general how many changes are purely driven by short term metrics, instead of really believing in them?

How many A/B tests give you the worst option just because you did not measure long enough?

The team collocated

The team should be collocated (i.e. the team members should share the same office space), there are many studies and researches showing that performance can double.
For example: Bulte & Moenaert; The Effects of R&D Team Collocation on Communication Patterns Among R&D, Marketing, and Manufacturing; 1998 or Teasly, Covi, Krishnan, Olson; How does radical collocation help a team succeed? 2000 but see also the classic book The mythical man-month by Fred Brooks.

This is the optimal solution but there are many shades as we will see. Continue reading “The team collocated”