How We Control Chaos

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04 / 01 / 2015

How We Control Chaos

Following up the Jeff McKenna visit, the Agile Guru and the Scrum Coach, we would like to share how we manage to constantly improve our product and deliver the maximum benefit within MacKeeper.

When people are doing complex and creative work that involves a lot of interaction and competing ideas it is time for the business to take an Agile Scrum approach in delivering solutions.                                

Looking back at 1995, when the first publication was made, Scrum was implemented by a vast majority of software development companies, although this method has been successfully applied in other business areas such as education and marketing. More than 1000 books have been published on Scrum.

There are a lot of changes that a company should adopt while implementing this framework, actually as soon as the organization starts this journey everybody inside challenges to keep the process going.

Step #1: Keep Backlog In Order

The Product Backlog is a list of things that people want to be done to the product, in priority order. Anyone from the team can add anything to the Product Backlog. The Scrum process and agile development principles generally are collaborative and inclusive. But very importantly – only the Product Owner can prioritise the Product Backlog.

Step #2: Sprint

This is very important decision to plan Sprint duration, to choose reasonable goal to set for the Sprint and make it consistent. The widely adapted practice is to take 30 days though it depends mainly on the maturity of teams. Whatever duration you choose it is highly important to keep it consistent: take each item on the Product Backlog. It’s important to go through them methodically. There are few tips of how to better perform on this stage:

  • Team is free to make a decision
  • Time doesn’t wait
  • Complete one feature before moving on to the next

Step #3: Stand-ups

Stand-ups are held on a daily basis. There are non optional terms at these meetings: the whole team must be present and involved, including Product Owner. Sometimes it is important to invite any other specialist actively involved in the Sprint, even if he is not a part of the core Scrum team.

Our reports address 3 key questions:

  • what have we achieved since the last meeting? (yesterday)
  • what will we achieve before the next meeting? (tomorrow)
  • is anything holding up our progress? (‘impediments’)

Features are completed one by one and  we can track progress by means of a daily burndown chart.

Step #4: Finish, Review and Repeat

We make each feature “Done” before moving on to the next. Following the Sprint Review, we hold a Sprint Retrospective meeting where the whole team. as well as the Product Owner are invited.                   

  • Check the final Burndown Chart
  • Check the team’s speed
  • Discuss what went well
  • Discuss what could have gone better
  • Decide what the team will do differently in the next Sprint

That is the way we perform in order to constantly improve the features of MacKeeper.

Of course in reality these steps are much more difficult to accomplish though this is the best way to combine humans and software development.