Saturday, September 09, 2006

Self Retrospective - 8-Sept-2006

I thought one of my standard posts could be a self retrospective of my personal Agile journey. I’ll follow the 4-question format: what went well, what could be improved upon, what still has me puzzled, and who do I want to give some shouts out to (props, kudos, flowers/chocolates [thanks Diana and Esther]):

What went well?

  • Took some constructive inquiries and well-intended feedback very well from a different Agile product manager within my company
  • Well prepared before every daily standup. Started focusing my comments on what I think is “of value” to my teammates, rather than just a core dump over everything I did.
  • Began discussions with an external QA manager who will still certify my last project’s deliverable as a component of a much larger program release. I want to track defects found “outside” of our Agile project—as testimony to the improved quality of code developed within on our project.
  • Initiated a company-wide distribution list for Agile practitioners, akin to a very non-automated version of Yahoo! Groups.

What could be improved upon?

  • Not having the right answer to help my developers feel comfortable with incremental design + refactoring (as opposed to having more requirements now and how everything’s going to fit together in the future).
  • Cannot sustain my current pace (which includes full-time scrum master, significant self-education, and additional efforts to operationalize Agile’s fit for my entire department/company.

What still has me puzzled?

  • Seeking examples of Sprint Planning checklists to facilitate both preparation for and execution of the Sprint Planning session.
  • Quality of backlog – on a 14-week project, estimated backlog projects ~ 30-35 weeks. We’re at least talking about this collectively, but I’m still uncertain how I can forecast something like this to external sponsors without getting ourselves in a jam.
  • Can we get our automated Quick Test Pro acceptance test suite installed on the Continuous Build Box and have them run every time a new build is run?

To whom do I want to give some shouts out?

  • My team for their willingness to do volunteer at the St. Louis Food Bank as a team-building opportunity. I think I’ll write a separate entry about this altogether.
  • Bob Payne and his Agile Toolkit (still my first and foremost podcast site for work-related information)
  • St. Louis Bread Company (aka Panera or Au Bon Pan) for their wifi access. Allows me to get away and lunch and still do some web research.