Agile So Far – October 2014

Estimation

When we started our Agile implementation our ability to predict when projects would be completed was at an average of 30% of the time.  Almost immediately, well within six months, we had already seen that percentage increase up to 60%.  This last year I set a goal with all my team members to get that percentage up to 90%, I am happy to say that we’re now averaging in the low 90’s and have even had one perfectly estimated iteration this year.  At this point I feel like we can look at some of the process we’ve put in place for planning and eliminate what’s no longer necessary and refine what remains.

Product Owners

The last two iterations have been incredibly difficult due to a new product owner who did not fit any of what I would consider the minimum qualifications for being a product owner; engaged, knowledgeable, and empowered.  I’m struggling with how to fix that going forward.  I don’t feel it would be a simple as instituting a mandatory new product owner training, that’s definitely overkill considering we only get one a year at maximum, but there has to be some feedback mechanism, beyond the post mortem, to address that the project would have been faster to complete and more efficient over all had we had a solid product owner.

Long Term Planning

We spent so much time over the last couple of years getting our iteration planning perfected and now that we’re in a stage of making minor modifications, we are ready to focus more on longer term planning as a team.  Currently all the long-term planning is done by me with direction and priority provided by our stakeholders.  I’d like to get my team and our product owners involved in the long-term planning not only to help us focus on making that a better process but also to get everybody involved thinking on a more strategic level.  I’m pondering potentially creating a product planning workshop for Dec where we brainstorm on ideas and begin fleshing out a backlog of products that we’d like to tackle for 2015.

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