Thursday, February 4, 2010

Starting with the Startup - Start Using Scrum

After Scrum has been selected as process and the team have been educated about agile and Scrum we can start with setting up development environment. Very important thing to notice is that we can start using Scrum right away. Yes, Scrum can be used for tasks where you need to make decisions, investigation, setup of development environment and similar tasks.

As quite often those tasks are not too much time consuming and you want to review current status more often it is best to start with short sprints. E.g. we decided to make one week sprints. This means that you can review your progress, adapt to new findings and adjust your directions on the weekly basis. When you are deciding about length of the sprint you should ask question: For what time period can we be sure that we will not change our minds?

The first thing we did was not part of the sprint but we did that with the purpose. We wanted to select some Scrum tool.

More or less there are two basic options:
* Using excel for product backlog and sprint backlog
* Using some of existing (commercial or open sourced) Scrum tools

We have decided to use ScrumWorks basic edition with the addition of the big pin-board.

ScrumWorks enables you to have product backlog, sprint backlog with the burndown chart, and some advance reporting options. Pin-board is used for user story cards. Idea is to split the pin-board in columns (e.g. todo, progress, testing, done) so everybody can see the status of the current sprint by simply looking onto it. If you are asking: isn't Scrum tool enough, I would say no. The reason is that if you are not part of the team, to check the status of the sprint it is enough to check the pin-board. Without pin-board you would had to open Scrum tool and this is already enough to give it up on checking status of the sprint.

One of the most important features of the agile and Scrum is transparency. We want to be aware of the real situation in each moment. If the project or sprint is late we want to find it out as soon as possible.

So we have prepared our Scrum tools and now we are ready to start sprint(s) for setting up development environment.

So how we set up development environment will be described in the next post.

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