Monday, June 16, 2008

Managing Scrum: Paper, Office or Dedicated Tools?

My first real Scrum Project was trial by fire. I didn't have much time to get organized or to learn new tools and techniques. While I did consider paper and cards, and The Book sings the their praises, I had never worked with them before nor had I ever actually seen someone using them. So when it came to the choice of tools for managing the backlogs and the daily scrum, there was really one alternative: the spreadsheet (better the devil you than the one you don't!). And that's how we got started.

Very quickly, we discovered the limitation of a standard software based approach. That spreadsheet becomes an impediment. In our case, keeping the spreadsheet synchronized between my version and the customer's version was a problem. The customer would change the layout in ways I did not want (and probably the other way around as well). And getting the updated product backlog back in time to plan the next sprint was also a never ending challenge. So we needed a tool.

Actually, the team decided they wanted a tool, so they evaluated several tools and eventually chose TargetProcess.

Much later, I attended two different CSM courses, once with Mike Cohn and once with Boris Gloger. Both teachers showed how to do cards and what cards are really good for.

So what is the value of the three alternatives to managing Scrum teams? What are the strengths and limitations of each?

I'll look at these options over the course of the next few days.

[ Next: Paper. ]

[BTW - A part of me wants to call this 'Rock, Paper, Scissors', but I digress.]