Management use cases: Agile Planning

In Blog by Insalgo

Without proper management, there will be no improvements in how your company works. As long as you will just keep moving forward without any insight, you will lose time on things that could be done much faster and more efficiently. In these series of blog posts we would like to share our experience with management at the startup.

This text will be easier to understand if you are already familiar with described tools like JIRA and philosophy of kanban, scrum and scrum poker. If you already know what those fancy words mean, read more.

Plan your Tasks

Tasks are something that helps with having the job done – when you put down everything you have in a form of a list, you can always take a short break to go through it. Five minutes spent on a task analysis are not lost – you can plan your work for the following days and set deadlines. Your next hours will be worth more when you will know what to do.

Sounds amazing. How should we do it as a team?

Choosing proper tools

To be efficient, we need something that will help us with planning. At Insalgo we have checked several task management tools – Pivotal TrackerTrelloJIRA. We have also used Excel and scraps of paper. It is very difficult to say which one is the best – it depends on the team, and its size. For sure we do not recommend starting kanban on your blackboard or Excel for 20-30 developers, that will be hell for the one preparing documents. For now, you should know that JIRA is fully customizable, what is great and gives the user full control of the tool.

We have extended standard JIRA by adding our own columns. With On HoldCode Review and Acceptance Tests it is much easier to manage the team’s work. JIRA supports agile through various practices such as kanban and scrum. As JIRA is not the easiest software to be used, you could be amazed by Pivotal Tracker’s simplicity, where you create an account and, since the first moments, your whole team will know where everything is – same with Trello. We believe that both those tools are fine for a small group and not the bigger ones. After all our tests we have decided to use JIRA, which is not the most user-friendly, but really useful for other reasons which will be explained in the future posts.

Methodology

The first thing which is always difficult – starting a habit. Without it, there is no methodology that will help you with managing your team.

Writing down all the tasks and tracking them takes time. These hours are not lost, but ones to value the most. When you write down tasks and ideas with the team, everyone understands what has to be done and can add something that is important from his point of view. That is why we have decided to choose scrum with incredible scrum poker which is a special tool for exchanging the ideas. Scrum poker meetings let us learn more about things our friends are doing, the sales team will understand developers’ work and cooperation will be much easier. Our version of scrum is slightly edited and adjusted to our needs.

Set some point values for the tasks, explain problems and obstacles awaiting you. Afterwards, as a team, you will make a decision which tasks are the most important. We have some rules for pointing – 8 points is for things almost impossible and all above that are going to be divided into smaller parts.

Find your own rules for sprint speed – we have 24 points for the team member with sprint length of two weeks. You can decide about everything by yourself and at the end of the sprint – you will tell what have been achieved. Our team has one big meeting every week and we exchange information about tasks almost every single day.

This is how we plan work at Insalgo. If you have any other solutions or ideas, leave them in comments below. We like testing new solutions.