Skip to main content

It is not about Sprint Zero; Think Sprint-N

There is a good dialogue on the topic of Scrum's Sprint Zero going on at Scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com.  If you follow the group you will surely learn something about Agility.  It will just seep into your pores.  Go right ahead - click the link and join up... I'll wait here.

The "raging" debate in the Scrum world for years is - should a Scrum team have a Sprint Zero?  A sprint in which they get setup for doing real work.  A sprint for installing all that infrastructure (DB, Version Control System, App Server, build a few [sarcasm] frameworks). [Hint: when a developer says they just need to build a framework - it is geek-code for I don't have any idea how to use The Google to find a tool to do that job - so I will have to forge my own special handmade tool - check back with me after I reinvent the wheel.]

I think perhaps the wise and wonderful man behind the curtain - Ron Jeffries - captures the best thinking on the topic:

"I do, however, object to calling those activities Sprint Zero. Here is my reason:"

"It is a core principle of Scrum that every Sprint must produce an increment of potentially shippable software.

"Therefore, an interval of time which does not produce an increment of potentially shippable software is not a Sprint.

"Therefore such a time interval should not be called a Sprint. It doesn't do what a Sprint does."
   -- Ron Jeffries
So the debate - and I think it is much more a debate - than a productive dialogue, is over something at the very beginning of a long learning process. The transition from predictive to emergent behaviors of development.  Is the debate over - what to call an increment of time?  Or is it over our starting point: Zero vs One?  Or is it over the principle of - do we really have to deliver something this first iteration - what could we possibly do AND do all this setup work?  Do we have to do ALL this setup work?  Now we are going down the right path.

And the abstraction of that path is that we learn to count with the infinite goal in mind - not the beginning.  We learn to count:  Zero, One, Many.

If you have only ONE sprint called Zero - I'm fine with that - it is a failure if it delivers no potentially shippable software.  But hey, I'm OK with failure.  And if you fail once and learn something - like how to get back up, dust yourself off and start delivering working software in one sprint, well then HEY I'm good with whatever you call it.

You see, I'm focusing on the goal - getting to reliably delivering software in Sprint-N, each and every Sprint-N.  And if you need training wheels on your first bicycle - then I'm all for getting training wheels - it is a very reliable learning technique.  Just don't put them on your Harley.


See Also:
InfoQ:  What is Sprint Zero? Why was it Introduced?
An alternative view:  Why do you need Sprint 0
Scrum Alliance article:  What is Sprint Zero
Mountain Goat SW:  Sprint Zero: A Good Idea or Not?

1 comment

Most Popular on Agile Complexification Inverter

Software Development terms applied to Home Construction

Let's Invert the typically wrong headed view of Software Development project management as a construction project.  We can map it the other way just to see if it works... to have some fun, to explore the meaning of phrases we toss around quite frequently.


Normally Project Management terms come from a construction domain.  We are going to apply the lexicon of modern software to the construction of a home.  We will follow the construction project and meet some of the people doing the work.

This is a very small (8 homes from $600,000 skyward) program in my 30-40 year old neighborhood.

About 6 months ago I saw the programs landing page go up.  It gives casual observers and some of the stakeholders a general idea of the intent of the program.  And most importantly who to contact for additional information if you happen to be interested in their products.

The Refuge program has 8 product projects and has them running independently.  Yet much of their DevOps infrastructure has already b…

Innovation in the Automobile Industry

In the 1900s the automobile industry was the most important and innovation industry in the USA.  But one could question if this was good for our society in the long run.  And one could question if they actually innovated.

In the early 1900s there were few automobiles, very little infrastructure created to support the industry.  For example the road system was still designed for horse drawn wagons and the wagon wheel (remember a steal rim and wooden compression spoke wheel).  The future US Highways, or the 1950s Interstate Highway System at the cost of $425 billion were decades and many innovations away. There was no gas service station, there were however horse stables, farriers, and blacksmiths in each town along the roads.  There was no real "road map", there was no road naming system, like was created in 1926 - the United States Numbered Highway System.

The industry employees millions of people, and was a large factor in the economy of the USA.  It created or was created b…

David's notes on "Drive"

- "The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us" by Dan Pink.

Amazon book order
What I notice first and really like is the subtle implication in the shadow of the "i" in Drive is a person taking one step in a running motion.  This brings to mind the old saying - "there is no I in TEAM".  There is however a ME in TEAM, and there is an I in DRIVE.  And when one talks about motivating a team or an individual - it all starts with - what's in it for me.

Introduction

Pink starts with an early experiment with monkeys on problem solving.  Seems the monkeys were much better problem solver's than the scientist thought they should be.  This 1949 experiment is explained as the early understanding of motivation.  At the time there were two main drivers of motivation:  biological & external influences.  Harry F. Harlow defines the third drive in a novel theory:  "The performance of the task provided intrinsic reward" (p 3).  This is Dan Pink's M…

Timeline of Social Networks -or- the Long Haul

I was listening to KERA's Think and they mentioned the concept of social networks.  It got me think...

But the book Long Haul, is its own interesting story - A Million Miles and Counting - A Trucker's Tale.

“The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road”
Did you know 41 million people move in the US a year?  Having moved a few times in my life, sometime with the Bed-Bugger's help, this book is a great insight into that life.
Author: Finn Murphy's CB handle - "U-Turn" The radio interview noted the concept of social networks in the 21st century.  What is a highway - but a manifestation of a social network - a trail across the land.

a timeline using the Knight Lab Timeline JS tool kit.

See Also:

Social Media - Tracking its Exponential Growth video
Social media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
List of social networking websites - Wikipedia

The World's 21 Most Important Social Media Sites and Apps in 2015



The Growth of Social Media - infog…

a little feedback please...

some feedback please...
How do you like the new look and feel of our site?
  ___)  nah (I like the old one better - bring it back)
  _X_)  yeah (much cleaner and easy to navigate)



powered by Typeform
See Also: