Thursday, January 8, 2009

Maintaining agility with Teamness

Not being tied to a particular process, such as Scrum, might be a flexibility advantage to a team looking to follow its own process of development.

Teamness is a loose structure web tool that allows a small lightweight agile team to use its own custom project work approach.

Image by Scientific deliriums

Here is a set of hints on how to combine Tasks, Messages and Milestones within Teamness to manage your projects in an agile way in 2009 and beyond.

1. Use Messages for briefs and support requests

A brief for functionality or a support ticket can be a Message entered into Teamness within the appropriate group. Once the brief is processed or completed, this might be marked by moving the Message into a different group.

2. Use Milestones to create project goals and timings

Generally the project manager will create the Milestone after discussing with the team about time and availability, in regard to customer priorities.

Milestones are the glue which bind together details (Messages) and work (Tasks). Once you create a Milestone for a list of tasks, you can now bind the Messages to it.

Selecting a Milestone gives visibility into both the customer and team facing aspects.

3. Group Tasks under Milestones

Each Milestone can have tasks assigned to it. This task list should be set up to allow you to track time against it.

By having a single goal with track-able time you can then start making the actual work declared as Tasks. This allows an individual or mini-team to manage their own specific goals without making the high level project plan dirty.

This approach of using task lists also means that you can track your progress against a single Milestone which means you don't have to move all your tasks from week to week.

Milestones can be set up really fast and yet they can be moved if other demands come in, without having to micromanage a list of items which cannot be done in time anymore.

You also have the possibility to shift in time the subsequent milestones of the one you intend to move.