Task:Sprint progress

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You can follow the first iteration at 100Days/Sprint2


[edit] The Problem: Progress Unknown

maemo.org is being developed through public sprints since February 2008. The parties involved are the maemo.org funded crew, the Nemein guys in charge of the Midgard CMS and the Nokia contacts.

In every sprint planning meeting each one of us has committed to a lot more than at the end was completed. This is not a problem per se (it usually happen, apparently). The problem is the lack of shared information about the progress on tasks and the reasons for the delays.

This leads to common issues like:

  • Not knowing whether a task is stuck or the responsible party is working on it and just not reporting progress.
  • Not knowing whether a task apparently stuck will be addressed anytime soon or will drop to the next sprint.
  • Not knowing whether a task could get help from others, including people external to the core team.

According to previous agreements, everybody should send weekly reports to the mailing list. In practice only few people have done it and only a few times.

[edit] The Proposal: Adapt SCRUM

In fact these problems are well known in project management, especially in distributed environments. Agile development fights this lack of information with a daily short scrum meeting and a table showing the progress of all committed tasks.

[edit] Document tasks

Documenting is always good, but in our case it is essential. A written description of a task is the first and best element to ensure that everybody agrees on the same plan. We owe transparency to the Maemo community and we want to receive their help whenever possible. Tasks can be started by one person and continued by others. At any time a team member might want to know about a specific task and they can't go to the office of the co-worker and ask.

All this leads to documenting tasks properly. All tasks willing to be commited in a maemo.org sprint should have either:

Proposal: No new tasks accepted in the Backlog after Sprint2 unless they are backed by a decent wiki page or bug report.

[edit] Daily microreports

Having daily standup scrum meetings when working online is difficult.  ;) Instead, it's easy to update (ideally daily) your status in a wiki page by telling in 3 sentences:

  1. What have I done since my last report. This is useful for others to see what is the progress.
  2. What are the obstacles I'm facing. This is useful to highlight problems (e.g. non-evident dependencies) where others can help.
  3. What is my plan today. This helps you to get organized and provides an orientation to others working in related tasks.

Proposal: Start this practice in Sprint2.

[edit] Progress table

We can skip time allocation and nice graphical burn-down charts, :) but it would be useful to have a simple table showing the basic information for all the tasks involved in a sprint. This way it would be easy to see in a first glance where are the green and red areas.

Committed Task Owner  % Highlights
2008-06-24 Task D Miguel DONE LightGreen = Completed
2008-03-21 Task B Micaela 50% LightBlue = Good progress
2008-02-20 Task A Mika 50% Default = Just standing
2008-04-22 Task C Michael 50% Orange = Some help needed!
2008-05-23 Task D Michelle 50% Tomato = Really stuck/delayed