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Agile and Scrum informal session

Agile BoF

Tom McCracken:
Rarely do things just break.


"How do you structure the retainer agreement?"
So many hours per month. So long as we propose good solutions and execute them well,

can-ban - very lightweight agile, that works well for

"Company of only 8 people, i'm the main developer. Does scrum work this small?"

We've struggled to get scrum to work on a $20,000 project [that is small], just not enough cycles.

Hard to get it to scale below $60,000 projects.

I'm an engineer, i struggle with the concept of user stories.

You estimate in user story points and derive hours and dollars.

We're about $400 per user story point, which means nothing. Probably two user story points for hour. But really you just get a feel for it, estimating relative to other things.

"And you say $20,000 to $40,000...

Wendy Iguchi:
I don't relate story points to dollars. Use them for planning. We do the estimate up front with hours and dollars, decouple points and dollars. The burn-down chart and planning iterations are done with user points.

A little bit of our mission is to show that innate complexity cannot be managed out, and you have to acknowledge the range. If $20K-40K is accurate, that is better than being precise.

"Who is the product owner, client or internal?"

Both. Product owner has to be part of the conversation, the planning. If client can be part of that regularly, then they are it.

Start right in the beginning with your style of project management, get them in your tools, before they are even your client. (They use Jira. Even if they don't log in, bad, Jira at least sends e-mails for every change. Unfuddle is another great one. Use something.)

Recommendation from the back, use GreenHopper with that. Seconded from someone else.

We have the issue of clients checking multiple times a day, so we had better be hitting the work started button, and leaving comment, etc.

Two week sprints.

One week is too short. Losing two days for planning out of five.

Three weeks is too long. Encourages procrastination.

Project planning:

OmniPlan is recommended.

Merlin (like MS Project for Mac) is great for resource balancing, then we run the project on

Set the tone: We're not going to waste your time or our money.

Just because they're paying you doesn't mean you're their ... i was going to say...

Try to educate clients early

We're going to break that to user stories.

Amye: How do you deal with you being the bottleneck of being the person in between

I put the developer in touch with the client. On a lot of projects, I don't always know what is going on. Chapter 3 has pushed toward having someone play the role of solutions architect, so i don't always know a lot of what's going on with some projects. I do follow-up and play linebacker, if someone needs a block i run out and give them a block.

Chris Stahl:
We think of it on a client by client basis. If the client doesn't want to know what's going on, doesn't want transparency, do agile -- still show on a regular basis. We're probably mostly agile at this point.

Many people aren't used to Drupal, some get a lot more than they thought they would get. Another problem is a lot of features and functionality comes quickly, and then

Hardest to stay Agile on is legacy sites...

Brandon Prudent
If the client is not as involved, as invested as you are, there are going to be problems.

[Woman with British-ish accent from Civic Actions] need to find a way strategically to show client the benefits, but also change the process to fit them.

Amye: Hard part of implementing Agile is talking about your process, instead of the client's needs.

Very important is relationship with client, it helps to have a good one.

Wendy Igochi:
What are the repea

Knowing that something that takes two hours might be done in three weeks but i get billed for two hours, that would have been good to know up front.

Waterfall works better when you can predict.

We have passed on projects where we cannot get the client to see things the Agile way. We cannot maintain

Amye: Yes. When the client changes the stakeholder on you. Bweah!
Shops getting into niches-- letting people know you know a lot about that.
We project managers have been doing
Civic Actions open sourced the

RB: I work in northern DC in a small oil town, i don't bother educating my clients on Drupal at all. These guys have a seventh grade education and are the richest guys in town, i don't want them talking to my developer about nodes or terms. I think i'll make a powerpoint on the history of the web and Drupal and showing it to the Chamber of Commerces... is that a good idea?

Kayla Wren, LevelTen:

User-centric design, translated to work well with

  • user model
  • task model (becomes your user stories)
  • content model

RB: I haven't had one client that cares what i do the web site in.

Brandon: Clients should want their site to fit their business plan, and you know where you fit in?

RB: The more we educate our communities on what Drupal does, the more work we're all going to get.

Wendy: Don't give me a solution

RB: One of my biggest clients does not know how to check his e-mail. It's printed out.

We tell people what they need to know. [The one-sentence admin summary.]

Chris: Danger of over-education, they start telling you how to implement Drupal...

Amye: Who lets clients into the permissions matrix of doom?
Permissions is always lost.

If we give people access without

They don't understand technical debt (panels 2 to 3... that's going to be a month). Now we have them on a consulting

"$100K project, aren't you spending a week before you know you have it?"

We want to interview key stakeholders very carefully and extensively. Sometimes we have the client pay for it. But we also have a process, a whole bunch of exercises with three by five cards-- if we take people through it, we have a very high close rate.

Users stories can be huge or small, or detail oriented...

Minimal things:

  • role modeling
  • user stories

Problem with regular SCRUM is seeing the trees and not the forest. Create a vision for the project, what will it look like when released?

If you have the right people in the room, you can do it in a single day.

Chris: Can do that with SAP, figure out a whole project in a day, but with the web, the box is so much bigger, and more likely to move-- as the customer gets educated they want more and more.

That's why we don't do fixed bid.

In the 1990s i did online banking, IT managers understood complexity.

So iterative: deliver early.

Still do user stories around technical debt issues too.

We got certified by Mike Cohn, we're a big believer in his approach. We read all through his books. User Stories applied was really transformational for our company.

[I've bought them, now we have to read them...]

Agile community is very opening, active, good therapy. Read Mike Cohn.


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