Using Agile in a maintenance project

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Mark Vinod

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Jun 25, 2011, 12:19:39 PM6/25/11
to Agile Developer Skills
Hello ppl,
In what ways can Agile practices be applied to a maintenance project
in general? For instance, if one is working on a brownfield
application which has poorly written code by the original authors, and
current development is a combination of:
1. Bug fixes
2. Feature implementations
3. Other/misc configurations and tweaks

How would Agile practices apply in this context? With regards to
SCRUM, the basic minimum needed would be the product backlog, sprint
backlog and the concept of sprints. What other aspects can be included
and how would it benefit the maintenance project in general? Any
thoughts and suggestions welcome :)

Narsaraj Kompally, PMP®, CSM, CSPO

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Jun 25, 2011, 12:44:20 PM6/25/11
to agile-devel...@googlegroups.com
Yes. Agile/Scrum can be used in the maintenance projects too. One need to come up with a good process and it will be really fun for the maintenance team and ofcourse, efficient too.

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Stephen Palmer

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Jun 25, 2011, 12:43:12 PM6/25/11
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Hi Mark

In many ways a maintenance project can apply Scrum easier than a green field or blue sky project because most of the start-up stuff has already been decided.
As you say, you typically have a list of bugs and enhancements that naturally form a good start for a product backlog.
All the usual key ideas and 'rules' of Scrum apply:
A product owner to prioritise the items on the backlog in terms of value to the business.
The team to estimate the size of the items.
A sprint planning meeting to decide and commit to what is going to be 'done' in the next iteration (sprint).
etc, etc.

Steve

Trevor Twining

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Jun 25, 2011, 12:45:57 PM6/25/11
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I think also getting good user stories from the Product Owners and participating in standups will go a long way to estabishing a positive relationship between your team and the client you're taking over what sounds like an earlier poor experience.

Adding some test driven development principles into some of the code re-writing should also help provide metrics around the code quality, which will again boost the client's confidence.

Mark Vinod

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Jun 25, 2011, 1:05:19 PM6/25/11
to Agile Developer Skills
True, incorporating agile would mean that the project is streamlined
and would benefit from the many agile practices that will be used. For
projects that start from scratch, you would start from the basics of
agile, and build upto a point where there is continous integration,
automated testing etc. But i have not seen much of a procedure or
protocol to follow with regards to running maintenance projects under
an agile framework. Is this a cause for concern? just asking :)


On Jun 25, 9:44 pm, Narsaraj Kompally, PMP®, CSM, CSPO
<narsa...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Yes. Agile/Scrum can be used in the maintenance projects too. One need to
> come up with a good process and it will be really fun for the maintenance
> team and ofcourse, efficient too.
>
>
>
> On Sat, Jun 25, 2011 at 12:19 PM, Mark Vinod <markfact...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hello ppl,
> > In what ways can Agile practices be applied to a maintenance project
> > in general? For instance, if one is working on a brownfield
> > application which has poorly written code by the original authors, and
> > current development is a combination of:
> > 1. Bug fixes
> > 2. Feature implementations
> > 3. Other/misc configurations and tweaks
>
> > How would Agile practices apply in this context? With regards to
> > SCRUM, the basic minimum needed would be the product backlog, sprint
> > backlog and the concept of sprints. What other aspects can be included
> > and how would it benefit the maintenance project in general? Any
> > thoughts and suggestions welcome :)
>
> > --
> > ________________________________________________________________
>
> > Much of the discussion in the group is predicated on several resources
> > summarized on the wiki athttp://www.agileskillsproject.org  Please
> > review this regularly.  To request editing permissions for the wiki, send an
> > email to either of these gmail addresses: richardjfoster or redhotglass .
>
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > You received this message because you are subscribed to
> > the "Agile Developer Skills" group.
>
> > To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
> > agile-developer-s...@googlegroups.com
>
> > For more options, visit this group at
> >http://groups.google.com/group/agile-developer-skills?hl=en?hl=en- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Mark Vinod

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Jun 25, 2011, 1:17:14 PM6/25/11
to Agile Developer Skills
True, projects running under agile will fully benefit from the many
agile practices and approaches. But almost always, this applies to
projects (in general) that start from scratch, where agile concepts
can be easily applied from day 1, and we have a clean codebase and
structure running on continous integration, automated testing etc. But
when it comes to maintenanace/legacy applications, which requires bug
fixing, refactoring, configuring and a myriad of other (yet unknown at
times) activites that could come up, there is no guidline/procedure/
protocol on how to bring the maintenance app up and running under an
agile framework. Is this cause for concern? or is it that there still
is no best practice(s) available when it comes to running a
maintenance project using Agile?

On Jun 25, 9:44 pm, Narsaraj Kompally, PMP®, CSM, CSPO
<narsa...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Yes. Agile/Scrum can be used in the maintenance projects too. One need to
> come up with a good process and it will be really fun for the maintenance
> team and ofcourse, efficient too.
>
>
>
> On Sat, Jun 25, 2011 at 12:19 PM, Mark Vinod <markfact...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hello ppl,
> > In what ways can Agile practices be applied to a maintenance project
> > in general? For instance, if one is working on a brownfield
> > application which has poorly written code by the original authors, and
> > current development is a combination of:
> > 1. Bug fixes
> > 2. Feature implementations
> > 3. Other/misc configurations and tweaks
>
> > How would Agile practices apply in this context? With regards to
> > SCRUM, the basic minimum needed would be the product backlog, sprint
> > backlog and the concept of sprints. What other aspects can be included
> > and how would it benefit the maintenance project in general? Any
> > thoughts and suggestions welcome :)
>
> > --
> > ________________________________________________________________
>
> > Much of the discussion in the group is predicated on several resources
> > summarized on the wiki athttp://www.agileskillsproject.org  Please
> > review this regularly.  To request editing permissions for the wiki, send an
> > email to either of these gmail addresses: richardjfoster or redhotglass .
>
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > You received this message because you are subscribed to
> > the "Agile Developer Skills" group.
>
> > To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
> > agile-developer-s...@googlegroups.com
>
> > For more options, visit this group at

Alan Dayley

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Jun 25, 2011, 1:47:00 PM6/25/11
to agile-devel...@googlegroups.com
Hi, Mark.

I think you are over-thinking this. Agile and Scrum are easier to
explain and teach in the context of a greenfield project. That may be
the reason much of the literature presents them that way.

The hard part of a maintenance project is defining what needs to be
done, the business value of those things and the prioritizing them.
Help your Product Owner get a Product Backlog going, pull off the
highest priority items, Sprint plan and get going.

Yes, it is that simple to start. In a complex product with little team
knowledge, you will encounter problems and bumps. So it may not look
that easy and you won't know what you don't know until you get going!

I'd suggest short iterations to allow the team and focus to pivot
quickly on important discoveries and learning.

Alan

> Much of the discussion in the group is predicated on several resources summarized on the wiki at http://www.agileskillsproject.org Please review this regularly. To request editing permissions for the wiki, send an email to either of these gmail addresses: richardjfoster or redhotglass .

Mark Vinod

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Jun 26, 2011, 12:57:58 PM6/26/11
to Agile Developer Skills
Thanks for the feedback stephen, Trevor and Alan.
Yes, I tend to have an overcomplicated outlook about implementing
agile in a maintenance project, I guess mainly due to working in an
environment with many successfull (greenfield) projects going at full
throttle, toting all the agile big guns :)
I will update the discussion with any obstacles or hurdles i come
across when practising agile, namely SCRUM, in maintenance projects,
and also any approaches that worked for me....
Once again, thanks for the helpful ideas :) appreciate the feedback.


On Jun 25, 10:47 pm, Alan Dayley <aday...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi, Mark.
>
> I think you are over-thinking this. Agile and Scrum are easier to
> explain and teach in the context of a greenfield project. That may be
> the reason much of the literature presents them that way.
>
> The hard part of a maintenance project is defining what needs to be
> done, the business value of those things and the prioritizing them.
> Help your Product Owner get a Product Backlog going, pull off the
> highest priority items, Sprint plan and get going.
>
> Yes, it is that simple to start. In a complex product with little team
> knowledge, you will encounter problems and bumps. So it may not look
> that easy and you won't know what you don't know until you get going!
>
> I'd suggest short iterations to allow the team and focus to pivot
> quickly on important discoveries and learning.
>
> Alan
>
> >>>http://groups.google.com/group/agile-developer-skills?hl=en?hl=en-Hide quoted text -
>
> >> - Show quoted text -
>
> > --
> > ________________________________________________________________
>
> > Much of the discussion in the group is predicated on several resources summarized on the wiki athttp://www.agileskillsproject.org  Please review this regularly.  To request editing permissions for the wiki, send an email to either of these gmail addresses: richardjfoster or redhotglass .

Silvana Wasitova

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Jun 30, 2011, 10:47:26 AM6/30/11
to agile-devel...@googlegroups.com
Quoting Jeff Sutherland: "beyond a few lines of initial code, *all* software projects are maintenance, and should be treated as such."
Yes, he said "all".
 
To apply Scrum, you merely need a product backlog, prioritized, and the PBIs scheduled against the sprints.

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