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Octopus: planning for v1
2 min read

Octopus: planning for v1

This is an old post and doesn't necessarily reflect my current thinking on a topic, and some links or images may not work. The text is preserved here for posterity.

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:

Cumulative flow diagram from AgileZen

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:

  1. Run two-week 'sprints'
  2. On the first Monday, choose the work to do, and move it from the backlog to the 'Sprint' column
  3. Post the sprint plan on my blog
  4. Do the work
  5. On the last Sunday (since most of the Octopus work is done on weekends), move work from 'done' into 'archive'
  6. Send an email to the beta testing list with what features were completed, so people know what to expect
  7. 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.

Paul Stovell's Blog

Hello, I'm Paul Stovell

I'm a Brisbane-based software developer, and founder of Octopus Deploy, a DevOps automation software company. This is my personal blog where I write about my journey with Octopus and software development.

I write new blog posts about once a month. Subscribe and I'll send you an email when I publish something new.