Tag Archives: kanban

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).

Step 1: Set Goals

When we get a good idea, it is natural to jump right in and start working.  In recent weeks, several people have had so much enthusiasm about their project that they want to dive right in without any real preparation or fully formed vision of what they want.  To address this, here is a three part blog series on steps to take before you start.  This week’s blog is dedicated to Goals – or defining what you want to accomplish.  Part 2 will be defining your target audience and we will discuss personas.  Finally, part 3 will define what success will look like by creating a screenplay.

SMART Goals?

lighted-path1But first things first.  What are your goals for the project?  Now, many will tell you that you have to define SMART goals – goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.  I am going to disagree.  While SMART goals are great, I don’t think you need that much structure for every project.  There is a saying attributed to Voltaire which says “Perfection is the enemy of the good.”  I feel like this applies to goals too.  You can spend so much time trying to define metrics that are measurable and time-bound that you delay the project or miss a critical window.