Octopus: planning for v1
Since I started working on Octopus, I've been using AgileZen as a task board. The graph below gives an idea of how the work has progressed:
There are a few nice things this graph suggests:
- The backlog is always growing thanks to great suggestions from the beta testing group
- The archive is also always growing, because work is actually getting completed
(The slowdown in change during July/August is due to my moving overseas)
On a fixed time, fixed scope project I'd ideally want to see backlog growing much slower, if at all, as the project nears completion. For product development, however, I think it's actually healthy for the backlog to be growing as quickly as the 'done' column.
So far I've been following this methodology, but as I prepare for an Octopus version 1.0, I want to get a little more disciplined about my process. One of the things I miss working as a one-man-band is the "closure" that comes when working on actual sprints - the sprint planning and sprint review sessions in Scrum are a good way to book-end a few weeks of work.
To improve my process, here's what I am going to start doing:
- Run two-week 'sprints'
- On the first Monday, choose the work to do, and move it from the backlog to the 'Sprint' column
- Post the sprint plan on my blog
- Do the work
- On the last Sunday (since most of the Octopus work is done on weekends), move work from 'done' into 'archive'
- Send an email to the beta testing list with what features were completed, so people know what to expect
- Celebrate with cake
During the two weeks I'll also spend a good amount of time on support (I'll blog about how I use Tender for that), so each sprint probably won't go exactly as planned.
How do you approach your personal projects? What else could I do to improve my process? My first 'sprint' should start on Monday, 12th September.
Welcome, my name is Paul Stovell. I live in Brisbane and work on Octopus Deploy, an automated deployment tool for .NET applications.
Prior to founding Octopus Deploy, I worked for an investment bank in London building WPF applications, and before that I worked for Readify, an Australian .NET consulting firm. I also worked on a number of open source projects and was an active user group presenter. I was a Microsoft MVP for WPF from 2006 to 2013.