“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” ― Socrates

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The story of story points simplified

Story is the description of the feature to be done and the weightage given to it based on the work involved to implement it is known as story point. Higher the number, higher the work involved. Inorder to simplify this process we use the fibanacci series of 0, 1, 2,3,5, 8, 13. Since there is a gap between the numbers, it becomes easier to do the classification than using a continuous series like 0, 1, 2, 3, 4,5, 6, 7, 8….
In the diagram below let us assume that each shape is a feature and we have given them a number based on the fibanacci series, the smallest of the lot getting a 1. That means each feature under consideration gets a weightage based on the amount of work involved to accomplish it.

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Let us assume that the diagram above contains features a to k. ‘A’ is the smallest, so I gave it a 1. ‘B’ is the next bigger one. Is it double the size of ‘a’, no, so I gave it 1. ‘C’ and ‘D’ are bigger than a and b and are almost double the size of  a and b, so I gave them a weightage of 2. E and f are bigger than c and d so I gave them 3…likewise based on analogy I gave weightages for all features under consideration. Here we are not looking for too much accuracy. We are looking for patterns. It is as simple as grouping the features based on the work involved to accomplish them. For ease, we use fibanacci series for the grouping.

Will write more about the benefits of this in the furure. Hope this post brings in some more clarity about story points which is most misunderstood in agile circles becuase they are very simple.

Dos and donts of daily scrum (stand up meeting) – The scrum checklist

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  1. The daily stand up meeting is also known as ‘SCRUM’. Both are same. 
  2. Daily stand up meeting is the most recurring scrum ceremony. Hence it will help if you have a fixed place, start time and end time for daily stand up meetings. 
  3. Always start the daily stand up meetings on time, and finish it on time.
  4. Each person gets 2 minutes to update the status of his work to the rest of the team (what did I do yesterday, what am I doing today and what are the issues I am facing.
    Do not convert it into an issue resolution meeting
  5. During the daily stand up meetings, very often the team members will talk to the senior most person in the group. If you happen to be that senior person getting unwanted attention train your eyes to cut the eye contact with the team member trying to talk with you.  By doing so, she will be forced to have eye contact with the rest of the team. Eventually that person will learn to talk to a group than to an individual. 
  6. For issue resolution have separate meetings. 
  7. In case you are clubbing the scrum with the issue resolution meeting, formally divide the meeting into two and at the same time ensure that the scrum follows its rules. 
  8.  Every body in the team need not attend the issue resolution meetings. So, after the scrum only those required for the issue resolution need to stay back. Others can proceed with their sprint related work. 
  9. Please remember that going for a meeting late or skipping an agreed upon meeting are not positive indicators of mutual respect.
  10. If somebody violates the meeting norms anyone in the team can highlight it so that the correction happens then and there itself.
  11. Every one must stand up during the stand up meeting.
  12. Switch off mobiles
  13. When a person talks listen. That is a great way to show respect. 
  14. Meeting must not take more than twenty minutes.
  15. Stand up in a circle, so that there is no hierarchy (at least in a stand up meeting 🙂 )
  16. Do not stand with the boss on one side and others on the other side.  This creates a divide. Always stand in a circle.
  17. Who will start the meeting?. The person standing on the right side or left side of the scrum master. Though this norm is not mandatory, having a norm like this can avoid unnecessary starting trouble. 
  18. Whenever someone requests help please note it down, so that you can help him after the meeting. 
  19. Always have the scrum meeting near the tracking board. This helps to refer back to the tracking board if required. 
  20. Conclude the meeting by putting your hands together for the progress made. Celebrate even small achievements.

This daily stand up meeting checklist (scrum checklist) is prepared based on my hands on experience with scrum teams. As and when I gain more insights I will be updating this scrum checklist. 

Read Agile Outsourcing Checklist

Lifeatwork

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Agile is more than daily stand ups

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Sprint planning using fibanacci series and poker results in better discussions, resulting in better knowledge sharing and estimates. These discussions results in better team capabilities which is one of the greatest benefits of agile. Do not compromise on it.