Software Development Best Practices Blog

Determining Duration on Scrum Projects

One thing I’m often asked is, how do you come up with valid project estimates in Scrum? After all, Scrum doesn’t want you to worry about more than the current sprint, does it? The basic rule of estimation is, estimate size/effort/complexity and then derive duration. For Scrum, we follow the industry best practice of using story points, an arbitrary measure of relative effort/size/complexity that is not time-based. Let me explain by using one of the analogies from my training. It’s...

  1. Posted on August 6, 2010 5:41:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, project management, Agile, Scrum, planning, estimation, Management

Fail Yet Succeed?

If you build EXACTLY what “they” tell you, you do it in the timeframe they ask for, and at the cost they wanted to pay, is that a successful project? The project is On time On budget Delivers the requested functionality No defects The team is ready for the next project Is it successful? “Yes,” you say. Rightfully so. But what if I tell you that the above project (project A) was followed by another...

  1. Posted on September 16, 2009 12:42:PM by Earl Beede to Practicing Earl
  2. Testing & QA, Technique, project management, humor, context, quality, requirements, Management

Transitioning to Scrum: Selecting the Product Owner

Many teams moving to Scrum have questions about the Product Owner position. Is the Product Owner a member of the Scrum team? What role does the Product Owner play in the day-to-day life of a Scrum project? How do we map current functional roles to Scrum roles, specifically with regard to the Product Owner? Who should we select as our Product Owner? Let me start by saying the Product Owner is perhaps the most important role in Scrum… something you don’t often hear from...

  1. Posted on August 13, 2009 12:23:PM by John Clifford to Retrospectives
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, project management, Agile, Scrum, requirements, Management, product owner

Next Generation Project Planning Tool: LiquidPlanner 2.0

I receive several requests a year to sit on various advisory boards, and I always say no--I just don't have the time. Last year I received a request I couldn't refuse from Charles Seybold, Bruce Henry, and Jason Carlson at LiquidPlanner. I had known Charles and Bruce when they were at Expedia and thought highly of their work, but the real appeal was the tool they were building. They started with the vision of an online project...

  1. Posted on March 2, 2009 2:33:PM by Steve McConnell to 10x Software Development
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, project management, estimation, Management, Tools, Project Planning

Agile Software: Business Impact and Business Benefits

Agile literature focuses on the benefits Agile provides to developers and development teams, with a secondary focus on the benefits Agile provides customers. Much of the Agile literature also asserts that Agile practices are more responsive to business needs. Many businesses are embracing Agile and seeing significant benefits. Many other businesses are embracing Agile and regretting it. Why the different results? A Cautionary Tale of Agile...

  1. Posted on July 29, 2008 12:38:PM by Steve McConnell to 10x Software Development
  2. Methods & Processes, project management, Agile, Management

Chief Programmer Team Update

One spinoff from the 10x difference in programmer productivity was the Chief Programmer Team structure. The idea of the chief-programmer team was originally developed at IBM during the late 1960s (Baker 1972, Baker and Mills 1973). It was popularized by Fred Brooks in the Mythical Man-Month (Brooks 1975, 1995), in which Brooks referred to it as a surgical team. The two terms are interchangeable. I described the technique in my 1996 book Rapid Development, but I think we've learned...

  1. Posted on March 31, 2008 5:28:PM by Steve McConnell to 10x Software Development
  2. Technique, project management, productivity, Management, Team Organization, Chief Programmer Team, Articles

Building a Fort: Lessons in Software Estimation

Also Known as: How I Spent My Summer VacationMy big project this summer was building a fort for my kids. I'd wanted to build a clubhouse or treehouse or fort or something for the past few years, but we didn't have a good place to put it. Then while clearing some blackberries in the spring I discovered that our property extended about 20 feet further into the adjacent overgrown area than I had thought, and that was the perfect place for a fort. Whenever I do a physical...

  1. Posted on September 23, 2007 10:31:AM by Steve McConnell to 10x Software Development
  2. Technique, project management, estimation, Management

I Hate Project Management

I really do. I mean, all those details you have to keep track of. Everybody coming up and asking you questions like you have some clue about what is really going on. And of course you pretend like you do. "Why, are three days away from the googoo gate." What I really want to say is, "I have no idea and stop bothering me with all these questions so I can go find one of those little details that I always seem to be loosing." And that is why I love Scrum. No more project management. The...

  1. Posted on March 24, 2007 9:36:AM by Earl Beede to Practicing Earl
  2. Methods & Processes, Technique, project management, Agile, Scrum, humor, Management