Agile@School 2017 – obstacles on the path

Hello everyone,

As mentioned in the previous post, the project has been started and we’ve reached the “fourth episode”. This time, Alessandro and I were able to talk with students in order to get which kind of project they are going to complete and show during the final exam.

Like every other project, problems are behind the corner. Indeed, the students didn’t create any task under the related Product Backlog Items. This is what they should have done. The issues were principally:

  • some teams still not had figured any idea to implement
  • some other weren’t able to use Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) in the right way (or few of them simply didn’t wanted to 🙂 )

That’s it, so our last meeting was focused on explaining the advantages of agile methodologies instead of the classic waterfall approach, showing them how to use VSTS correctly in order to clarify any doubt about its use. We started to speak about methodologies because they used to waterfall their project, and this means that they were gathering ideas, instead of thinking in an iterative way.

Although this fact, we could see the first results from the majority of the students which let us being confident about the future of their projects.

As result of this talk, the students seemed to have got why choose a methodology instead of another, being able to manage their work with the right tools. At the end of this day, we’ve assigned them just a simple homework: create the tasks which reflects their development steps, moving PBIs through different status during their work.

That was all for this episode. Stay tuned for any news about the course of the project.

See you to the next post!

Agile@School 2017 – let’s start over

Agile@School 2017 – let’s start over

As a recurring project, Agile@School is started again on February, with a new set of projects and ideas. Gabriele will help me again, but it will be a very difficult task. During the past year we followed a Scrum approach, in order to comply the team structure. As you can read here, there were one team with a small bunch of members. Now, we’re getting “bigger”. As a result, we’ll have micro-teams of two/three member each. Great chance for Kanban. Let’s give it a try.

01

How will we approach in the beginning?

  • defining a set of micro-team, that we call “task forces”
  • designing a Kanban board
  • describing personas
  • speaking of some ceremonies we’d like to get rid of
  • speaking of some ceremonies we’ll keep
  • describing the customer journey and the story map practices

The task forces

The term not fits very well, actually; indeed, a task force is something that could be considered as a “defcon 1” team. However, we would give the teams a label which is “strong”. To be honest, we have a little amount of time, so in the end we can say that we’re in hurry already 🙂

The Kanbard board

As we said above, we will have more task forces, most likely six. Therefore, the board will use columns (as usual) for the status management and rows (aka Swimlanes) for separating teams and projects.

02

The board will be created in Visual Studio Team Services, in order to use also the Source Control Manager which relies on it.

Personas

Each team member will populate a simple card, the Persona card, which is depicted in the picture below:

03

As you can see (in Italian), the first column is for Persona details, the second for interests and the third is the “role” which the member would like to have. I know that the last column is not included in any best practice, but I feel that some student could start to think about its job and its future. Could be interesting.

The customer journey

During the next meeting, we’ll ask the students to show us their customer journey. Each team will have to describe the journey of a typical user, with mood for each action it takes and the value which it gets by the action itself.

Conclusions

Kanban, task forces, boards, customer journey, personas, etc. This year is full of new things to get knowledge from. Also the source control manager will change. We will use git on VSTS so we will get different projects in the same place in a quicker way.

And now, let’s start over! 🙂

Agile@School – 6th episode

Agile@School – 6th episode

Finally, we have a problem here!

Projects without troubles are not real, to be honest. All the students worked so good, but they’re still focused on development. Sometimes they forget the metrics and the importance of the knowledge base of the whole team. Sometimes it seems that they think that is not important to share status of tasks, remaining work hours, additional details while managing activities, and so on.

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Agile@School – episode 5

Agile@School – episode 5

It’s time to review the work done.

The web application the students are working on is reaching its end, speaking about development. It’s not so good to see, we know it, but starting from this sprint, we will apply some graphical stuff and we’ll be ready to present the tool to the “board”.

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Agile@School – episode 4

Agile@School – episode 4

The sprint 2 was completed successfully. This is a great news and when I’ve heard that sentence, I was very happy with my “class”. Yes, we miss something, but the software package is working, and not just in one client.

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Agile@School – episode 3

Agile@School – episode 3

Agile@School project is growing and finally we’re reaching the most important part of the iteration.

In this third episode we played the planning poker game on a round table (which appears like a poker session at a first sight actually 🙂 ) and the students decided to skip the coffee break! You know how is really difficult for them to be focused.

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Agile@School – episode 2

In this post, we’ve introduced the Agile@School project, a new way for managing school projects.

The second “episode” I’ve added an actor, Gabriele, a student which will be the scrum master. We’ve achieved the real number of team members, which is 9 and we’ve understood also the interests of each member. The final goal is to create a team and to manage the teachers idea of project for the final exams.
Scrum master
Gabriele, will be the scrum master. Since I’ll be the coach, I need also, let’s say, an “external” person. He’ll help me in separating the heavy amount of work and in facilitating the team.
The project
The project is based on a product called “Ex-students yearbook“. It’s a database of students which studied in the school, which provides also a web user interface for both the front end and the administration back end.
The team
We’ve got 9 members. Now, is time to understand the skill of each team member.
Next time, likely this saturday, we’ll go deeper and we’ll start to add user stories and PBIs on VSTS. We’ve got already the document with specifications. For each story we will define the Personas and after this step, we’ll start to play to Planning Poker.
In the end we want:
– Get VSTS with PBIs in Product Backlog
– Make PBIs with efforts
– Get the first Sprint backlog
– Get the list of tasks for the first sprint
– Get the capacity and the roles in the team
– Define the sprint duration and ceremonies schedule
Then, the students will start to coding!
Stay Tuned!