Chris Flaat's WebLog

Discussion of software processes and MSFT developer technologies.

  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Trying out pair programming

    • 4 Comments
    Greetings all – My team has been reporting success with pair programming, so I wanted to try it out myself. This week one of my reports and I paired up to do a bit of maintenance work where we’re moving some automated tests around and setting aside...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Software metrics primarily useful as negative indicators?

    • 4 Comments
    Dear Readers – I was thinking about metrics, and it occurred to me that most of the metrics we commonly use in the industry are really good as negative indicators of quality, efficiency, testing, etc. but lousy positive indicators. That is, most...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    People are not fungible resources

    • 1 Comments
    Hi all – We are currently using both Scrum and more traditional project management on several efforts going on within our product unit, and I thought I’d share some learnings. Something we’re running into is that getting people dedicated to...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Sprint 9 complete

    • 2 Comments
    Hi all – Well, we did sprint 9 broken up into two subteams, and it went quite well overall. The tone of the team in the sprint retrospective was generally positive, and the “things that could be improved” were generally focused on the way we were...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Bridging the Gap, etc.

    • 1 Comments
    Greetings all – My apologies for being behind on posting. Things have been really crazy around here with VS2005 shutting down and work on the next major release ramping up. I’ve been tasked to help out with some engineering improvement initiatives...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Agile 2005

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    Hi all - Several people from MSBuild, the Developer Division, and Microsoft went to Agile 2005 last week in Denver . It was very worthwhile. I really enjoyed the keynotes and getting to meet a lot of others at MSFT doing agile methods as well as people...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Sprint 6 winding down

    • 1 Comments
    Well, we finally kicked off sprint 6 in June, and it finishes up next week. Being summer, there have been a lot of vacations plus a Microsoft-wide forum that ate up a lot of time. I expect that sprint 7 will have fewer randomizations, esp. since the core...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Pondering next steps

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    Hi all - With sprint 5 done, we are now in a quiet period, as we have balanced most of the resources on our project toward helping Whidbey get finished. We will probably pull some resources back soon, however. I have been thinking about how to get...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Managing the Product Backlog

    • 1 Comments
    There was a question from Dave Froslie on what we use to store our Product Backlog. We use an internal wiki page. Wiki's are nice because they're easy to view, easy to edit (not only for the Product Owner but also for people with suggestions who can add...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Question about Scrum, waterfall, and more

    • 0 Comments
    Hi all – A reader named Steve Henke writes with some questions: First, you mentioned your concern about waterfall being used in the next major division release but with even more centralized control than before. Why do you expect more centralized...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Scrum and development methods

    • 1 Comments
    I got a question from René Landgrebe about what development methods we use along with Scrum. He writes: "I wonder what developing method you use in combination with SCRUM. I read about combining XP and SCRUM is very reasonable. So, what combination...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Sprint 5 complete

    • 0 Comments
    Greetings all – Well, sprint 5 ended and yesterday we had the sprint review. Overall the sprint was successful, although we did have one work item bleed over (which we of course disclosed to the stakeholders at the sprint review). We had small...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Too little sleep, too much caffeine

    • 1 Comments
    It seems like forever since I got eight hours of decent sleep. I love my kids, but it sure would be nice if they would sleep past 6am! My wife is on me for drinking too much pop -- she thinks 4 a day is too many (if only she knew it was more like 5 or...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Trying to tame our estimates

    • 2 Comments
    Greetings all – It would seem that our estimates are slowly getting better with time. When I compare the burndown chart for sprint 5 with the prior three charts, it’s quite good. The first three look like a silhouette of the Olympic mountain range...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Scrum and Productivity

    • 2 Comments
    Hi all – A reader named David Wylie wrote and commented the following (I’m posting his question here with his permission): I am new to scrum, and one of the selling points is significantly increase productivity. Have you experienced this, or is it just...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Scrutiny and scheduling

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    Well, yesterday after much time spent learning the subtleties of Excel’s SUMIF formula and the difference between B7 and $B$7, I was able to add a handy new feature to our daily scrum spreadsheet: the ability to sum up the work remaining by person. I...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Expanded internal interest in Scrum

    • 1 Comments
    Today Dave Froslie was visiting Redmond from the Fargo MSFT site, and gave a talk to a VS team about Scrum, which I also attended as an observer. It was a good meeting, and I'm hopeful that this team will give Scrum a try. I invited them to our team's...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Team member "borrowed"

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    Well, effective this week we had one of our Scrum team members "borrowed" by another team for 6 weeks. (My manager insists that it was purely my decision, although it was one of those "either do this or come up with a better alternative" decisions. :...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    StickyMinds article on implementing Scrum

    • 0 Comments
    Here is an interesting article on Scrum that I was pointed to by Apoorva Joshi. Alicia Yanik talks about how implementing Scrum was not at all easy for her project. However, things are now running smoothly for her group and she says that while Scrum was...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    "Ideal line" plotted on scrum burndown chart

    • 1 Comments
    Hi all - One new thing we're doing with this sprint is adding an "ideal line" to our scrum burndown chart. This helps us see where we're at with respect to our plans, and is nicer than using an imaginary line. Because in Scrum we use 30 calendar days...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Sprint 5 planning

    • 3 Comments
    Greetings all – Well, our Product Owner got the product backlog ready in time for the first sprint planning meeting, where we pick the product backlog items we’ll use for the sprint. This planning meeting happened yesterday & went pretty smoothly...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Sprint 5 beginning

    • 2 Comments
    Greetings all - Well, next week we’re going to start sprint 5. We had a couple of weeks between the end of sprint 4 & the start of sprint 5, mainly since we had some distractions like an office move and a whole-team offsite fixing bugs for the main...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Sprint 4 ending (mostly) happily

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    Well, my dear readers, I’m pleased to report that we got things pulled together for sprint 4 and are on track to complete it successfully today, barring unforeseen complications. One of the problems we’ve had is that our overarching mission timeline is...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Continued use of Scrum

    • 2 Comments
    Dear Readers – We continue to use Scrum on our project, and we’re now finishing our third sprint (numbered sprint 4 to match up with pre-Scrum milestone numbering). It’s been a stressful sprint. We had a bunch of very hard changes which took much longer...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    VS Core video on MSDN Channel 9

    • 1 Comments
    If you want to see what some of us VS Core and MSBuild folks look like in person, there's now a Channel 9 video of many of us. We each give a brief blurb on what we do. It's about 42min in length, so if you want to be able to skip around, here's how to...
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