software engineers writing stories from very detailed BFUD

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JM

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May 9, 2018, 6:30:24 PM5/9/18
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I've read in books, articles, that developers can write stories.  In my opinion, this means the dev is familiar with the product, has an idea of something that may be useful, so add a story to the PBL for later review.

My system engineering group wants to hand off a 15-page document that is a BUFD for one feature, it is very detailed. There will be hundreds of features like this.  They want to hand that document to us and have us write stories from it, all on our own in our own silo. This is for a govt project so they are meeting the needs of the govt client.  I said we have needs for the client and needs for the dev team. I don't agree that my SW engineers should take this and convert it to stories.  It's too much, it will take too long, they will have too many questions, the SW team won't get any SW done, things will change, etc... (the reasons agile/scrum came about).  They are basically doing waterfall for the client and they want us to magically do scrum here with only a small team of SW engineers, and in their head, that means my team should write the stories based on their requirements doc. This just seems wrong to me. We are a small dev team, have no scrum master and no real po that has any agile experience.


Looking for input.

Alan Dayley

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May 9, 2018, 6:45:04 PM5/9/18
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Scrum and Agile do NOT require user stories. Don't translate what you are given into yet another backlog document. Without a Scrum Master or real Product Owner, you are not using the Scrum framework, anyway. 

Seems odd but not surprising that a business would insist on doing things that matter less (user stories) and fail at the things that matter more (important Scrum team roles), all in the name of something that they are not following.

Alan


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Jeff Mangan

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May 9, 2018, 6:53:54 PM5/9/18
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I guess I forgot to mention, I also told them that we should rethink why they want to do scrum, that sometimes the constraints just don't support it and right now I feel this is the situation were in.

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George Dinwiddie

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May 9, 2018, 8:17:57 PM5/9/18
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Jeff,

FWIW, I've found that taking requirements documents and creating
functional slices represented by index cards is still a great way to
track progress. I did that once when I was leading an effort where they
decided, when I arrived, that they didn't want to try Agile after all. I
did the slicing myself and tracked a burnup counting cards on a weekly
basis. That and a daily standup were the only things borrowed from
Agile, but both were a boon.

- George
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Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
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Michael Vizdos

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May 9, 2018, 8:24:40 PM5/9/18
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Hi. 

In addition to the good advice that is here (and is coming)...  

You asked for input and I say this with deep empathy.  

I've been where you are and have clients (past, present and future) and feel your pain. 

Talk to your team about it.  

Talk to your stakeholders.  

Heck.  Talk to your customers.  

You need to make the decision... It's not about "us" being right.  

At the end of the day, your client needs something delivered.  

Do that.  

Yes. It's a tough conversation.  

Make sense??

- Mike Vizdos
  Focus.  #deliver 

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Thank you.

- mike

  Focus. #deliver
  www.michaelvizdos.com
 

Jeff Mangan

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May 9, 2018, 8:31:53 PM5/9/18
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But you can't change anything because there has already been signoff from the client.  We all know there will be things missing, incomplete, or something else that will invalid the original requirements.  So it's more than just being able to create stories from the docs.  My main argument is they need to accept the fact that we are not doing scrum or agile and quit pretending, and stop forcing my team to waste time on trying to fit in a framework that has no place, will complicate things, and increase risks.

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Jeff Mangan

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May 9, 2018, 8:33:33 PM5/9/18
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Yes, my exact point.  They need to stop pretending they are scrum/agile. See my prior response. I've already had those talks.

George Dinwiddie

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May 9, 2018, 8:34:20 PM5/9/18
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Jeff,

On 5/9/18 8:31 PM, Jeff Mangan wrote:
> But you can't change anything because there has already been signoff
> from the client.  We all know there will be things missing, incomplete,
> or something else that will invalid the original requirements.  So it's
> more than just being able to create stories from the docs.  My main
> argument is they need to accept the fact that we are not doing scrum or
> agile and quit pretending, and stop forcing my team to waste time on
> trying to fit in a framework that has no place, will complicate things,
> and increase risks.

What are you doing that's wasting time and increasing risks?

- George

>
> On May 9, 2018 6:17 PM, "George Dinwiddie" <li...@idiacomputing.com
> <mailto:li...@idiacomputing.com>> wrote:
>
> Jeff,
>
> FWIW, I've found that taking requirements documents and creating
> functional slices represented by index cards is still a great way to
> track progress. I did that once when I was leading an effort where they
> decided, when I arrived, that they didn't want to try Agile after
> all. I
> did the slicing myself and tracked a burnup counting cards on a weekly
> basis. That and a daily standup were the only things borrowed from
> Agile, but both were a boon.
>
>   - George
>
>
> On 5/9/18 6:53 PM, Jeff Mangan wrote:
> > I guess I forgot to mention, I also told them that we should
> rethink why
> > they want to do scrum, that sometimes the constraints just don't
> support
> > it and right now I feel this is the situation were in.
> >
> > On Wed, May 9, 2018 at 4:44 PM, Alan Dayley <ada...@gmail.com
> <mailto:ada...@gmail.com>
> > <mailto:ada...@gmail.com <mailto:ada...@gmail.com>>> wrote:
> >
> >     Scrum and Agile do NOT require user stories. Don't translate what
> >     you are given into yet another backlog document. Without a Scrum
> >     Master or real Product Owner, you are not using the Scrum
> framework,
> >     anyway.
> >
> >     Seems odd but not surprising that a business would insist on
> doing
> >     things that matter less (user stories) and fail at the things
> that
> >     matter more (important Scrum team roles), all in the name of
> >     something that they are not following.
> >
> >     Alan
> >
> >
> >     On Wed, May 9, 2018 at 3:30 PM JM <je...@magentatech.com
> <mailto:je...@magentatech.com>
> >     <mailto:je...@magentatech.com <mailto:je...@magentatech.com>>>
> <mailto:scrumalliance%2Bunsu...@googlegroups.com>
> >         <mailto:scrumallianc...@googlegroups.com
> <mailto:scrumalliance%2Bunsu...@googlegroups.com>>.
>
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> <mailto:scruma...@googlegroups.com>
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> <mailto:scruma...@googlegroups.com>>.
>
> >         Visit this group at
> > https://groups.google.com/group/scrumalliance
> >         <https://groups.google.com/group/scrumalliance>.
>
> >         For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout
> >         <https://groups.google.com/d/optout>.
>
> >
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> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>    * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
>    Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
>    Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>
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Michael Vizdos

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May 9, 2018, 8:46:05 PM5/9/18
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Ok.  

And.  We are not going to be able to "fix" it for you.  

You think you are right.  

They think they are right.  

So.

What can you do instead?

Have.  Realistic.  Conversations. 

Or.  Keep pretending.  

Something will have to give.  

If you are willing to make some changes on your stance (the only one you actually can) I promise you will get some golden nuggets here.  

What do you really want to do???

- Mike Vizdos

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Jeff Mangan

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May 9, 2018, 8:50:49 PM5/9/18
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They spent several weeks defining requirements before we even saw them.  There version of an epic is 15 pages of detailed content.  We immediately pointed out flaws.  They need to go back and correct many things and then get signoff from the client which will also include deliverable dates.

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Jeff Mangan

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May 9, 2018, 8:56:39 PM5/9/18
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I don't want my team to be cornered into firm estimates on detailed requirements.  There is no flexibility on the triangle.  Fixed scope, time frame, and resources. They want estimates that will then be committed to the client as deliverable dates that will span 3 months each cycle.

George Dinwiddie

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May 9, 2018, 9:05:18 PM5/9/18
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Jeff,

On 5/9/18 8:50 PM, Jeff Mangan wrote:
> They spent several weeks defining requirements before we even saw them.
> There version of an epic is 15 pages of detailed content.  We
> immediately pointed out flaws.  They need to go back and correct many
> things and then get signoff from the client which will also include
> deliverable dates.

Then you're in luck. None of those things have anything to do with Scrum
or Agile. So they're not forcing your team to fit the Scrum framework.
They're pushing something else. :-/

I get that you're just venting. I was originally confused because you
said you were "looking for input."

Good luck.

- George

>
> On Wed, May 9, 2018, 6:34 PM George Dinwiddie <li...@idiacomputing.com
> <mailto:li...@idiacomputing.com>> wrote:
>
> Jeff,
>
> On 5/9/18 8:31 PM, Jeff Mangan wrote:
> > But you can't change anything because there has already been signoff
> > from the client.  We all know there will be things missing,
> incomplete,
> > or something else that will invalid the original requirements.
> So it's
> > more than just being able to create stories from the docs.  My main
> > argument is they need to accept the fact that we are not doing
> scrum or
> > agile and quit pretending, and stop forcing my team to waste time on
> > trying to fit in a framework that has no place, will complicate
> things,
> > and increase risks.
>
> What are you doing that's wasting time and increasing risks?
>
>   - George
>
> >
> > On May 9, 2018 6:17 PM, "George Dinwiddie"
> <li...@idiacomputing.com <mailto:li...@idiacomputing.com>
> > <mailto:li...@idiacomputing.com

Michael Vizdos

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May 9, 2018, 9:06:35 PM5/9/18
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Jeff. 

I get that. 

So don't do that. 

Also. 

They == you. 

There is no *us* versus *them*.  

Well.  

Strike that.  It sounds like that is the case today.  

So. 

How can you shift the stance from blaming *them* and working together to develop a solution together as a company or one organization?

???

// Please remember I am pushing a bit here out of deep empathy and not to troll... I'd welcome a real world conversation too if that would help!! //

- Mike Vizdos
  Focus. #deliver

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