Posts Tagged ‘Agile’


Fixed Sprint Lengths Considered Harmful

Scrum advocates the use of fixed length sprints. The  length of the sprint can be adapted to balance between the need to release rapidly and allowing enough time to complete a useful amount of work in each sprint. Once an appropriate length is found, it generally stays the same.

While fixed length sprints are an improvement over waterfall style development in many respects, it imposes an artificial deadline for teams and this can cause inefficiencies and technical debt.

Sprints may have fixed lengths but user stories, on the other hand, are not homogeneous at all. Stories differ wildly in complexity and the time required to complete them. Teams will estimate their size and then commit to completing a certain number in a sprint. Seems reasonable enough but….

A scrum team will ALWAYS either over-estimate or under-estimate the amount of work that can be completed in a sprint.

This leads to one of four possible scenarios occurring.

Scenario 1: Team under-commits a lot

Team under commits a lot

If a team under-commits a lot, it is usually not serious as a new story can easily by in-scoped, which will lead to one of the other 3 scenarios being triggered.

Some teams may in fact work more slowly in order to prevent a new user story being in-scoped, either consciously or unconsciously. This risk, however, probably only applies to highly unmotivated teams.



Carl and Steve

A “guest” post from Carl and Steve.  Enjoy…

Agile Software Engineering

Agile Software Engineering

Agile Travel – Go light for maximum enjoyment

It feels good to get off the airplane and walk straight out the airport.  It gives me immense pleasure to walk past all those people waiting by the baggage collection point, and a guilty bout of schadenfreude when I see people struggling with large unwieldy suitcases.  About 2 years ago I was invited to go to a wedding in Hong Kong.  I took the opportunity to plan a trip around the wedding.  The plan was to spend some time in Hong Kong and then move on into mainland China and see how the two regions differ.  To add some spice to the trip I challenged myself to take a very small rucksack (one which I was using to carry documents and perhaps the occasional lunch to work with) and to see just how little I would actually need for three and a half weeks in China.