I’ve been blogging a lot about commitment and estimating lately both on this blog and my work blog. In a discussion with a Product Owner the other day, we were talking about looking at story sizes after the sprint to determine if they were sized correctly. I think this is a great idea and I’d like to plan it into a retrospective.
I spent the beginning of this week at the Scrum Gathering – New Orleans (SGNOLA). As always, it proved to be a great time full of culture, learning, networking, and fun. I like to do recaps after conferences sometimes: first to ensure that I don’t lose what I captured, and second to share my thoughts with those who were unable to attend. The highlight of SGNOLA was my co-presentation with Leslie J. Morse: Can Definition of Ready make Scrum “The Big Easy?”
I’ve often thought about my teams and the lack of concern they have when not meeting their sprint commitments resulting in carry over work to the next sprint or release. Is it because I have not explained the word “commitment” and what it truly means? Is it because of the lack of urgency when not releasing after every sprint or two and waiting three months between releases? Is it because the benefits of meeting commitments and demonstrating consistent predictability have not been explained or felt? It may be because of all of these reasons.
Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like to wait. I, like many others, want (or expect) instant results. Whether it is getting that grade back the day after I turn in the assignment, getting an email response within an hour, getting an IM or text back within the minute, I’m impatient! Yes, patience is a virtue, but in some situations we can’t afford to wait. Can impatience be a virtue as well?
So an interesting topic came up in a retrospective last week, one that has come up on past teams as well and I’m still unsure as to the best answer for it. Example: team members get hit up for a production question or something else that isn’t a story in the backlog and spend a decent chunk of time working on it. This interferes with their other work and maybe they don’t get as much done as they committed to because of said question. Now they want to account for those types of things with a special “prod question” or other story in the backlog so they can account for that time and track back to it. What’s wrong with this picture?