If you do one thing with your Scrum above all else: deliver working products.
A development team is paid to deliver a working product.
- Do it often
- Do it the best you can
- Do it in a repeatable way
- Be accountable to an actual customer
Here are three tips on improving your development in delivering working products.
Tip #1: Timebox, Don’t Point, any Spike Tasks
A Timebox is a start and end date for a task. Therefore, the best way to approach a spike is to assign a beginning and end date. According to the Agile Dictionary, a Spike is:
A task aimed at answering a question or gathering information, rather than at producing shippable product.
There it is: You are not delivering anything with a spike; you are gathering information. It isn’t resolving a story — it isn’t burning down a set of story points towards a product objective. It is gathering information so that you can complete a Story.
Timebox your spike according to the story at hand.
- Schedule time with the customer to understand why they need the story completed
- Gather statistics from a working system to understand the scope of your story
- Write up a Wiki page with the problem and solution and share it
- Discuss your learnings with colleagues and customers
Tip #2: Specify the Story in a Consistent Form
When writing a story for a Scrum ticket, use the following form:
As a <customer>, I would like to <use the component>, so that I can <achieve my goal>
After executing <the component> I will be able to <a specific action demonstrating the goal>
When writing the acceptance criteria, use specific process examples or codified lists to formalize how to validate the functionality supporting the story.