Agile Book – Tracking

One of the amazing things about co-authoring this Agile textbook (Introduction to Agile Methods) with Sondra Ashmore has been the opportunity to learn new things and research other methodologies.  For our excerpt from Chapter 8, Tracking and Reporting, I had the opportunity to research Feature Driven Development (FDD) and a great concept called Parking Lots.  Here are the Learning Objectives for this chapter and more on FDD Parking Lots.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand Kanban, its effectiveness, and when it is used
  • Learn the definition of work in progress (WIP) limits and how they can identify bottlenecks in processes
  • Explore different tracking mechanisms used in XP, Scrum, Lean, DSDM, and Crystal
  • Understand burn charts, both burn-up for release management and burn-down for sprint tracking
  • Examine feature-driven development (FDD) parking lots and how they assist in tracking large and complex projects
  • Learn the different strategies for tracking quality through an iteration
  • Understand the importance of meetings in tracking progress and course correcting
  • Learn the purpose and desired outcome for each meeting—the daily stand-up, the Sprint review, and the retrospective
  • Consider the metrics for measuring the success of Agile projects


Feature-Driven Development (FDD) Parking Lots

FDD incorporates an excellent way to track progress on larger projects where many activities are contributing to a cohesive whole. For our Cayman Design project, we want to create and sell weather-related calendars to customers; this is a large departure from the other features in our weather app because we have to consider inventory, shipping, and payment details. An example of an FDD parking lot might look like what is shown in Figure 8.7.








This tells us that the feature “Collect Customer Information” consists of seven stories totaling 32 points. At this moment, we are 75% complete, and the feature is needed by August 2014. The color on the story can indicate its health, this particular story being yellow, meaning it is in jeopardy. Although this is an interesting depiction of information, it is not necessarily more valuable than any of the other Agile tools we have discussed—that is, until you add many other components, and then the picture painted by the FDD parking lot is incredibly useful (see Figure 8.8).


Figure 8.8         FDD parking lot full view

From this parking lot view, you can get an immediate sense for the project health, even though we are looking at a total of 66 stories and 325 points. You can add teams/owners to each parking lot and define a more detailed color scheme as needed for your particular project. FDD’s model-driven approach allows it to scale to support large, complex projects (De Luca 2012; Griffiths 2007; Highsmith 2012).


I hope this excerpt inspires you to want to learn more about Agile and potentially buy the book. Previous blogs have addressed other topics such as Roles, Requirements and Technical Debt.  We also hosted a guest blog by Sondra about Agile in Academics.  Chapter 8 was a lot of fun to write, including information about Kanban and the importance of the meetings (or ceremonies) in Scrum.  The chapter concludes with an interview from Kent McDonald, an amazing Agile Coach and Trainer.  Agile has so much to offer to so many organizations and we truly hope this book opens doors for students, professors, employees, executives and anyone else who can benefit from this dynamic way of thinking and managing projects.


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