Going Agile: A few iterations under the belt

I wrote recently about the Ubuntu Hardware Certification team transition to Scrum.  We have since completed a few iterations, which means that the Planning and Demo sessions are in full swing. I am also happy to say that we now have a full-time Scrum Master in the team. One of the key advantages of this is that I get to sit in the demos and ask questions “from the outside” 🙂

Because of the global distribution of my team, we have end up with back-to-back Demo/Review and Planning meetings. This is how it goes:

3pm UTC – Demo meeting (30 minutes)

The Scrum Master runs (using Mumble) through all the user stories in the backlog.  Previous to the meeting, team members have posted links to their demos. We share the demos using a “virtual meeting” tool.  We end up settling for Spreed, as we already had some company accounts ( but I still secretly love yuuguu!).

At the end of each demo we [product owner, scrum master and me] give our opinion on whether the user story is completed or should be carried over to the next iteration (or later).

3.30pm UTC – Planning meeting (30 minutes)

The product owner runs over the next set of user stories for the upcoming iteration and explains why they have been chosen and what is required to complete them. The team is encourage to ask clarification questions.

This meeting is run using mumble and the iteration backlog (stored in a google doc).

4pm UTC – Taskboard (1 hour)

After the call concludes (and following a 5 minutes break) the team gathers back at the IRC channel to start breaking down the stories into tasks. The whole backlog is fleshed out and added to the taskboard. After that, team members are asked to start assigning tasks to themselves .


So what do we still need to work on? Here is a shortlist:

  • Sizing User Stories – did you say IRC Poker Planning?
  • Working out a velocity for the team
  • Iteration and Release Burn-down charts
  • Definition of Done

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