Well – end of the first sprint and things have gone really well (and as I write I realise how rare it is to be able to say this!). The agile process has given us much more focus and it is really good for giving a real sense of progress to a project. We have also had good results with managing late coming critical tasks which were able to be factored in with a real understanding of their impact. As someone managing the process it has been so much easier to have a much better feel for what is happening. I also think the team has benefited from the clarity and also the fact that their workload was more transparent to the rest of the team – it seems to have reduced interuptions.
Still things to improve of course. The main item would be in specification where we have really just been sketching functionality and then talking it through. As a next step we need to be describing the test criteria but as we get into a new piece of work we will need to spend more time on the descriptive process.
We also need to think about the difficulties of getting people to plan and design the next piece of work while they are thinking about the current sprint – in the future we may need to mix planning work with tidy up tasks and small items rather than doing it in the middle of something complex – but that is something to thnk about for the future.
It has got me thinking about the role of the product manager or owner and how this is very central to this approach – which means that the person in that role really does need to be constantly available in order to avoid either holding up the team or having them go off in the wrong direction. This will require more vigorous diary management to achieve!