Posts Tagged ‘scrum’

Scrum and TFS

September 1, 2008 1 comment

So I’ve finally moved on from my beloved whiteboard and now all my Scrum activity is sitting pretty in TFS.

TFS installation is painful and happily passed to our Enterprise Architect but from a user (client aka me!) perspective I installed the following.

We work on a 90 day planning cycle across the business and whilst always iterating I do my planning, executing and evaluating using the following tools.


No matter how much I try and do away with it, Microsoft Project is an excellent planning tool, it just gets nasty maintaining the damn thing.


I take the Scrum template from the Team Project toolbar, do my normal waterfall planning and then publish it back into TFS. Each task item is then created as a Product Backlog Item


I execute (or maintain) my Backlog Items in Visual Studio and Task Board. VS is great for flushing out my details of my use cases or stories as well as creating the iterations needed.


On a day to day basis I use Task Board (currently in beta) to create Sprint Backlog items and move them from left to right (not started, in progress, ready for test, done). I generally get Developers to move them after our Daily Scrum.


Bugs (non active PBI) can also be created here or via the TFS website.


Of course we don’t need to review anything because everything is going so smoothly! However on that odd occasion you need an overall view, reporting is well integrated with Sprint Burndowns, Bug reporting etc.


On a side note, the whole company is now using Scrum. Always have a little smile when I hear Journos and Producers trying to work out what Product Backlog Item needs to go into which Sprint.

Categories: Technology Tags: , , ,

Daily scrum: my way

February 25, 2008 1 comment

I’ve written before that the most important meeting of my day is the Daily Scrum. For those not aware of what Scrum is or the Daily Scrum check out

I’m sure every team has a slight variation on the way their scrum’s work but I thought I’d share how we do it.

At 10am every morning we have a stand up meeting by the whiteboard.

Daily Scrum whiteboard

From my fuzzy mobile phone picture you can see the task slips (or battleships as the team has referred to them). These are automatically created from the scrum excel template and provide an excellent visible guide on how the project is tracking. The five columns are Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, In Progress, Complete and Deferred.

So in the daily scrum meeting (4 developers, 1 Program Manager) we move the task slips and ask the three questions;what did you do yesterday, what are you doing today and what impediments are in your way.

Anything that requires in-depth discussion we talk about it away from the Scrum unless it will benefit it all. I also try to plan a half hour gap after the meeting to try and fix the impediments straight away.

All pretty much textbook stuff. What the books, blogs and website don’t really go into is personality which I think is key to making it work. A daily meeting can be a chore at best so also use the time to catch up as a team, talk about the weekend or things we get up to. It’s only for a couple of minutes but I think it’s good team bonding time. I also pass on any business updates or things I’m working on so they know what’s coming along in the pipeline. Be energetic in your discussions, monotony will make the process ultimately fail.

Another key is to fully explain the process and why it’s useful. In the Scrum try and get discussions going amongst the developers, it’s amazing some of the thoughts that can come out of a 2 minute discussion. Also as the project leader, the team needs to trust you, so the question isn’t “WHAT DID YOU DO YESTERDAY?” but more how is the project going and what successes or troubles are you facing. It is not a tool to push people harder.

We’ve now had hundreds of daily scrums and I don’t think there’s been one where it hasn’t been useful. We do stray away from the theory a little but we do still keep the meeting to within 15 minutes and the major elements are there. Just make sure you add energy and personality and enjoy the successes of a well informed team.

Categories: scrum Tags: ,

Scrum Excel template

January 2, 2008 4 comments

The day after boxing day (black-eye day?) I opened my News project plan only to find it corrupted beyond repair. After a little crying I scoured the web to find a decent spreadsheet I could use for my projects and came across this scrum template from Sysopendigia. 

I’ve played around with it for a few days now and found it to be brilliant for what I need, even creating my task slips to put on the whiteboard for our Daily Scrum meetings. 

For other templates check out: