Dynamics CRM 2011 –Sprints: turning around quick and fast!

Jaime Smith, 26 February 2012

Dynamics CRM 2011 –Sprints: turning around quick and fast!

This week my blog was inspired by this cartoon – I found it a clever depiction of the internal thoughts of so many people that work in a high pressure environment, trying to balance resource utilisation, customer requirements and office politics.

We are into week two of our project with overlapping sprints and it has been a busy week. I feel that we are well planned for these sprints, in regards to resource allocation and defining the tasks required. Furthermore our daily scrums are helping to keep my team and the client’s team in sync. 

There is a pinch however and it’s coming from the requirements.  Currently they are quite fluid and are been completed just as the sprint is about to begin or at the start of the sprint.  This has made it difficult to fully comprehend the work required and actual timeline.  In sprint one there was some scope creep that resulted in an additional day being added to it. This did not ultimately impact our timeline however it has meant that my resource has been stretched and required to work on weekends to keep the project moving forward. 

As a manager it can be tough trying to balance the fine line between the wellbeing of your team and the achievement of project goals.  It is important to try and keep the optimism and morale of the team moving forward.  I have observed over the past week that one of the biggest motivating factors for my team is having a sense of pride in what they are building.  This provides the push to go the extra mile and increases the confidence in each person’s efforts knowing that they are working with a common goal. 

I would however say that overlapping sprints and pushing out 4 sprints of 5 days in duration, back to back is stressful and provides very little room for movement - there is no breathing space.  Although we are only at the beginning of week two, I am confident in saying that I would not push for this type of planning again.  It appears to me that it is vital for both the vendor and the client to have provision for stretch and flexibility within a project.  It is naive to think that a project will have no scope creep of which some may be critical to the final product. 

The next couple of sprints have some big tasks to complete and I am concerned that if we see any additional scope creep that can’t be put on a backlog or push backed to the client that I may see the sprints collapse or not be completed on time.   I have decided to try and keep my optimism although I think I have had a good dose of realism this past week!


Image from http://www.leveltendesign.com/blog/tom/5-possible-outcomes-website-planning