Well, it took 5 long months, but I can finally honestly say that we are doing (some) Scrum things on my current project.
I joined the project in February this year. My first idea was to convince the project lead that Agile Is Good ™, but I quickly gave up, especially since he had made clear in pre-assignment talks that he was rather skeptical.
I then resolved to do whatever I could on my side. TDD, some Continuous Integration, some rare Pair Programming… all good stuff, but my heart was not into it (except for TDD).
Then, just a couple of weeks ago, I was joined by another consultant colleague who had agreed to the assignment because we would be doing Agile stuff. Finally, we did real Pair Programming, real Continuous Continuous integration, and still real TDD.
And, best of all, we finally came up with something that looks like a Sprint Backlog. Not that I didn’t know how to do it (between my 2 years of experience on Scrum and Scrum trainings that I give, I have written a few), but the simple fact that I was by myself made me gave up on it. Originally, I wanted to write one in order to show the project lead how things can be done, but that had never materialized.
Of course, not all is good yet. To start with, we don’t have proper iterations, just a deadline 6 weeks from now (we could easily do 1-week iterations). Another thing is that each pair of developers is isolated in a separate room. To mitigate this, we have started displaying the Sprint Backlog as post-it notes in our doorway. We haven’t dared displaying it in the corridor yet, but already many people stop by and are intrigued.
For the moment, we keep the Sprint Backlog in an Excel file as well. This is to help us communicate with the project lead who prefer documents that look more “official”. It is also a simple way to communicate with our managers at Valtech who want to know if there are any risks with us not delivering on time.
I am leaving for a 3-week holiday at the end of the month. Considering that my colleague is highly motivated, but all by himself, I’m curious to see how things will be when I return.
Maybe the rest of the team will be impressed enough to try it themselves? I already heard one person asking if the project is officially using Scrum or XP now.