Sprint Planning Meeting for an Intranet Portal

Today I spent pretty much the whole day leading a Sprint Planning Meeting as the ScrumMaster. This is the first time I’ve gotten to involve the customers, which is a really nice change since generally we’ve had to follow the waterfall process and then organize a Scrum under the covers. Customers have a way of really helping to refine the thinking, since they can explain directly what they care about. They didn’t of course stay for the second half of the Sprint planning, but they were very helpful nonetheless.

All and all the meeting went pretty well given the team and myself are still pretty new to Websphere Portal and it’s default content management system. I did get a fair bit of help from one of our Agile coaches who is much better at being direct than I am. The nice part was we were able to get out of the second half of the meeting with a detailed task list for the entire Sprint. The items were almost all all 4-16 hour tasks which I was only able to previously achieve on a much smaller Scrum project with only two developers. The coach was particularly good at roping people back in when we drifted off on tangents.

Everything went into a spreadsheet, but I’ll probably move everything onto index cards and a cork board, because I really prefer visual indicators. Excel can drive me crazy very quickly, so I’d prefer not to rely on it. Last time I did I decided to try out xplanner, maybe this time for the second Sprint I’ll have time to try out Scrumworks.

One odd moment was that we kicked back the final Sprint review two days after the end of the Sprint because myself and 3 of the developers will be at Software Development 2006. For the first Sprint we didn’t want to have most of the team missing. Of course that’s adapting to change over following a plan.

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