Following are the results of an open Jam session I lead at the Agile 2012 Conference on 8/16/2012.
What’s In your Agile Playbook? Strategies to win the ‘Iteration Game
Participants freely brainstormed some potential ‘plays’ a team might possibly use to get all of the stories planned for an iteration to done where the prospects of completing them appeared dim. We employed the metaphor of iterations as a game – won by moving all of the balls (stories) to end of the field (‘done’) by the end of the iteration.
The point of the exercise is to 1) encourage team members to think more strategically 2) consider options beyond the obvious when things don’t go according to plan, 3) ponder the pros and cons of each and 4) prompt the team to take action rather than defaulting to the ‘do nothing’ play.
- Do Nothing
- Work Late
- Break the story down (and move part to the backlog)
- Move a story not yet in play back to product backlog
- Move a story in-play back to the product backlog
- Find a better (faster) way to implement the solution (that doesn’t compromise quality)
- Do the ‘kludge’ – incur technical debt to get the story to ‘done’
- Pair up on tasks
- Swap the players (change who’s working on tasks)
- Divide and conquer; break the work up differently to allow for swarming
- Move everyone together into a team room
- Add a player (bring somebody in to help)
- Remove a player from the game
- ‘Outsource’ the task / story (tap another team to help finish the work)
- Reduce number of tasks in work
- Reduce number of stories in work
- Combine stories (gain some efficiencies by grouping stories)
- Combine tasks
- Decompose the story
- Change the definition of done (negotiate criteria, shift to another story, etc.)