Pain is temporary, failure lasts forever

Lean, agile living for the running mother of Peter

2007-10-27

All inclusive...

Have you heard the story on the lady going on an "All-inclusive" trip and not bringing any clothes, explaining it was supposed to be all inclusive?
Of course you haven't, but we've all been on vacations where one or many travelers have been disappointed because their concept of what should be "free" or included isn't the same as the company selling the trip.
During estimations we have exactly the same problem; what is included and what is not? For example, if you ask your standard junior developer about an estimate there is a good chance he won't include testing, meetings, discussions, problems and any non-developer tasks. Sometimes I think the developers don't understand that my non-coding time also cost something.
The first sprints we spend ages trying to come up with a good estimate. But it's all for nothing. Of course you can estimate a simple story like include a new simple attribute to a concept, but anything more complicated than that soon turns into a guessing game. So, our focus on the sprint start is rather:
  1. Which objectives do we have?
  2. What is the exit criteria of the different objectives. If there are many exit criteria, which ones are mandatory (if we don't have that, the objective will be completely and utterly useless) and how are they prioritized.
  3. What is the budget for each objective?
  4. What is the initial estimate of how we're going to work?
  5. Who will focus on the different objectives?
  6. Who will be responsible for tracking the exit criteria?
Ok, this is probably not classic SCRUM, but we've found that getting an understanding in the team for what we're going to do is the important thing for a sprint start and guessing games are just waste.

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