by Liz Sedley


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Agile Team Review

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Here are some common problems (and solutions) which I see in teams which have been doing Agile for a while, but feel that they’re not quite doing it right:

Shorter Iterations

I found two week iterations are normally more successful than four. A two week iteration is easier to plan, and the shorter timeframe makes it easier to maintain focus.

Tasks

Breaking stories into tasks which take two days or less to implement will help with project tracking, and also allow more than one person to complete a story.

Tasks are normally written on index cards and created during the iteration planning meeting. Tasks are estimated in an abstract unit ‘points’. The estimation is done by all the developers. Tasks aren’t allocated when they are created, but rather the developers choose which task they want to do in the daily scrum.

Task Board

A task board where tasks move through columns over the course of an iteration would help with project tracking. Columns could be:

  • Stories
  • Tasks
  • In Progress
  • Awaiting Signoff
  • Complete

The columns should represent your workflow, so other columns may be appropriate for you.

In the daily standup meeting, cards would be moved from one column to the next. The ‘velocity’ of the team is how many ‘points’ get completed in an iteration, that is how many tasks get moved to ‘Complete’.

Smaller Teams

Five to ten people is the right size for an Agile team. Teams which are bigger than this don’t work so well. Fewer developers make daily standup meetings and iteration planning work better.

If you have two teams, each working a two week iteration you can then have a release every week, which allows you to be very responsive to small or urgent requests.

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