Starting back on Scrum

Right around the time of our first deadline, we decided to stop doing iterations and start just banging on whatever bugs we found. After we didn't go live we never went back on the iterations, which was a mistake. Today we had our first sprint planning in a few months. Unfortunately it'll only be a week sprint since most of the team is going out to San Francisco next week for a vendor conference. Of course it's hard to feel too bad since we'll be in San Francisco, my favorite city, but it did make for a somewhat half-hearted planning meeting. We used to use Scrumworks but our licenses are gone and we never really liked it anyway so this sprint is going to be tracked using a spreadsheet and a whiteboard. After we get back I'm planning on using VersionOne to track things. I've been using it on a trial basis and I like it a lot, I just need to get the team using it to see what they think.

For this half sprint we decided to take a couple of core areas we're still struggling with bugs in and hit those as hard as we can. Another teammate and I will be hitting the invoice bugs that somehow are still popping up with alarming regularity. The others will be hitting one of the other statements and a few of the high-priority financial issues. I'd like to see a good number of these things knocked out before we leave so the testing team doesn't have to deal with them. Testing a billing application is ridiculously time consuming and any one bug can cause hours and hours of testing to be wasted if it affects a balance somewhere unanticipated.

Before the planning meeting we got together and did a short session of planning poker as well, our first. It went pretty well. Once I explained how it was supposed to go, we moved through a bunch of issues really quickly. One problem we had was that the stuff we're working on mostly now are bugs so it's hard for everybody to have an idea of how hard something will be to fix. I think we'll try again but the planning poker will really be helpful once we're doing new development work again.