Agile So Far – January 2016

2015 was an odd year for us; we had a few projects that didn’t involve our product owners with people that don’t use Agile methodologies causing lots of frustration and timing issues, we took over development and support of a niche product, completing the backlog just as the product owner retired, our local leader also retired, effectively eliminating the ‘team’. It was a lot of change after having a very stable, repeatable process for a number of years. Our last retrospective had more than one deja vous moments as we confronted issues that had been solved before but we’ve started off this year with a great plan and renewed optimism.

Our SharePoint conversion (2007-Cloud) is going very well, we’ve had only minor issues moving sites auto-magically from one environment to the other. We’ll likely spend another three or four iterations getting the remaining standard sites moved, fixing links and layout, and addressing workflow issues. While that’s going on we’ve started moving the custom sites we built in 2007 to .Net web sites, without the ability to use an on premise SharePoint environment it’s our best option.

January is normally the month that we spend time cleaning up our warehouse environments. Last year I split the work between the entire team to at least give everyone an introduction to the concepts along with a little practical application. This year we don’t have the resource availability to do that again so we’ve got two tackling everything. We did a good job last year of some consolidation so it’s been really smooth this time around.

We had some issues last year with estimation, the team decided that it was a good opportunity to revisit the way we assign points. For at least the next couple of iteration we’re scoring stories based on two separate measurements, complexity and time, in the hopes of coming back to a standard scale we can use to measure future stories and projects. If this iteration is any indication, we’ve been underestimating (my guess is on complexity) on items with less certainty – optimistically. We’ll also be adding a regular risk check, a simple 1-3 scale of how external factors could impact our success. This is my favorite part of Agile – the team pulling together to assess a situation and creatively coming to a potential solution to try.




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