Monday, March 23, 2009

First experiences on doing the SAP Scrum

In my blog on doing the SAP Scrum I described that we wanted to follow the Scrum approach for the second phase of the project. In the first phase we lived according to the traditional waterfall method and experienced the traditional issues.

Now we are three weeks on route and this week we started our first realization iteration, our first sprint. The past three weeks we focused on delivering the product backlog, the scope in deliverables so to say. Scope that is to be realized with SAP BPM, SAP XI, SAP CRM, ABAP and some minor (*) web development. Now I would like to share some experiences that we gathered over the past three weeks.

(*) Main focus is to realize backend components for an administrative process.

The traditional process of writing all relevant documentation first is taking too much time. Writing business requirements – evaluate. Writing functional specifications – evaluate. Writing technical specifications – evaluate. Realize / Build. Test, if there is still time left ;-)

So we decided to go for a Scrum, an agile approach that does not foresee in documentation templates. We had a scenario document that described the desired processes. On base of that we created sequence diagrams and with our agile coach Sander Hoogendoorn we decided to use Smart use cases to model our deliverables. With a training for the team we got up to speed and on the same knowledge level.

And then … modeling our first SAP Smart use cases:

After modeling it was time for estimating the use cases. Not in a traditional way of thinking how much time was required to realize, but with points. These points identify the complexity. As a team we decided per use case how many points were to be assigned: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 or 10 points. Ten points for either very complex stuff or for use cases with still some unclearness in it that has to be resolved before assigning the real points.

As a result:

284 points in total. With six iterations of 2 weeks and an estimation of 50 (best guess) points per sprint, it looks that we are able to manage. At least theoretically. In two weeks (after the first iteration) we get a better picture how realistic this is. We then know how many points we have realized in the first iteration. Keep you posted in two weeks ;-)

Recap up till now:

  • Whole team (IA, CRM, BPM, XI, ABAP, Test, Web) working collaboratively on the use cases and everyone is on the same knowledge level
  • Flaws in specifications early identified
  • Flaws in solution early identified
  • Involvement of all parties (business representatives) concerned in daily scrum meetings
Points of attention
  • Availability of key players
  • Involve all content specialists (business and IT) while designing the product backlog
  • Implement team availability rules: Plan individual meetings after 15:00; After the daily scrum max 15 minutes extension have discussions outside of the team; Make sure that you do not hold the rest of the team; Focus on project activities only
And interesting to see that team enthusiasm goes up and down, it is new to every member of the team. Within the SAP world agile is not wide spread (yet). So it is understandable to hang on to processes and approaches that someone is used to. However with the time we have left to our final delivery mid June, I still believe this agile approach is our only option.

SOA, after the hype

Oscar Mulders, a colleague, posted an article in Computable, a Dutch IT magazine.

"Customers do not ask for SOA, they long for the expected business advantages"
"Service orientation combined with BPM means shortening the throughput time and less effort required"
You can read the whole article at the Computable site (In Dutch).

Monday, March 09, 2009

Interesting Twitter discussion

After my last post on doing the SAP Scrum at my current project an interesting discussion evolved on Twitter:

Well I am a bit flattered that @yojibee thought that I was an SAP employee ;-) With "Doing the SAP Scrum" I was only looking for a catching title.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Doing the SAP Scrum

Today I finally finished my blog on the SAP Scrum. We started the second phase of the project by doing things differently, not the traditional waterfall but doing a Scrum.

In this blog you can read about some thoughts that kept me awake:

Why is it so hard to deal with changing requirements? Why is time pressure in a project forwarded to teams that are last in line, like developers and testers?

Read more in SAP Scrum: An agile approach to deliver what is really required.