J I McFadyen Engineering

Supporting Collaboration

Bowling ball heading down the alley

Gutter-ball iterations

Recently a team I work with came to the end of an iteration without getting any functionality signed off. Nothing.

Bowling ball heading down the alley

Bowl! by mrtopp

I wouldn’t say I was happy with this situation, but understood how it had happened. Continuous build pipelines have been the bane of my life for the last few months. A particularly troublesome defect didn’t help matters, the deployment being yanked back out several times. But that is something else entirely. The simple fact was that the team had delivered no new functionality in the previous two weeks.

This wasn’t acceptable. Something had to be done.

In the e-wall we use, the iteration was left open for another day or so. Just enough time for the stories delayed issues to be complete. Miraculously, we signed enough stories off for the burn-up chart to look good to management!

This still leaves me a little sad. The team, particularly the project management, felt that reporting a gutter-ball iteration wouldn’t be “acceptable” to the management. Why not? It had happened before. All sorts of problems and interventions had ensued. They didn’t trust the senior management to act sensibly on the data.

Recognise that?

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Category: agile