Agile Toolbox, episode #1 – How to start a state-of-art application

Let’s give a little background here… in our day-to-day activity, we sometimes struggle when we start a new project.

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And from here to project failure it’s not a long way.

At Delivery Management we often hear that it’s too time-consuming to estimate a complete backlog and try to get an idea about the project size and that we should rather do just-in-time estimation and release planning.

So what can we do to answer the natural desire of our sponsors and different stakeholders to know more or less how big their project is and how to approach it? Well, for this we have the Affinity tool.

We thought to make an exercise. Let’s take one completely new application, gather a group of developers and see if we can actually achieve our goals by running an Affinity process.

First step was to find an app idea that was easy to grasp for everyone and write down the features. The appointed PO took his new role very seriously:

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And the rest is history: we played the Product Owner and Scrum Master roles, several enthusiastic colleagues joined with their superskills and in less than 3 hours we had all the ingredients to properly start a new application:

–          A common vision of the product and of the product roadmap as envisioned by our PO

–          A decision on the technologies to be employed

–          A sketch of the technical solution

–          An estimated backlog (in SPs)

–          A rough idea of how long the project will take, obtained with the Wideband Delphi technique

–          The list of assumptions

–          Some risks we could already foresee

–          An idea on how to approach the project

–          And last but not least… the eagerness to start, because everyone was already IN

It is a very powerful tool, 2h45min and we already knew so much about what it takes to build our app.

Agile promotes individuals and interactions so what better way to achieve great software than to bring people together since the very beginning, present them the vision and let them draw the solution?

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The feedback was also positive, even if we were running a bit out of time at the end.

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We’ll definitely do this workshop again (and adjust a bit the scope to match the proposed timeframe) so please stay tuned if you’ve missed the first one.

Or, if you want to try it in your upcoming project and need help setting things up, pay us a visit at the 14th floor.

Category: Inside 1&1
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