Sunday, May 24, 2009

Approaching the finish line of a release

We are winding down with a release and I am already thinking about the next one.  What can be done better the next time around?  Well, for one thing, having a release backlog before the release.  I'm happy to say that there is more talk about users and framing our next release from the user's perspective.  I'm hoping that starting from the top we can generate some good epics and then break them down into well-written user stories.  I'm also going to be gathering requirements from end-users which will be great.

What I've been working on with our PO is defining some epics.  He has been speaking with all customers to feel them out on what they are asking for, framing them in themes and going to bring them back for some fine tuning.  I am eager and hopeful that this will develop into some constructive release planning work sessions.  I will post about them as they evolve.  

It's important to remember and remind myself as well as the POs and leads that it is the customer that we need to satisfy.  So all pre-conceived ideas must be checked at the door.  Meaning, if scrum teams need to be re-arranged to best facilitate the next release, then this is what must happen.  So it's important to not think about writing stories to make sure that the existing scrum teams all have something to do.   This will guide a direction pre-maturely.  First come up with the stories, then decide how the teams will come together to implement.  (At least that's what I'm thinking right now).

Anyway, take away for my first release with these teams so far has been to stick with the basics.  (In the ways of scrum) stories, sprints and communication.  Next is being more comfortable with estimating, thinking about acceptance tests and pushing back on over-committing.

I will post on these topics as I tackle them in this next release.