Sunday, June 17, 2007

Scrumming the night away

Today I decided to do a small experiment.

I was scribbling up a tiny todo-list when I thought "Hey, why don't I do some rough estimation on how long these things will take?". This is what the list looked like at first (at 18:00):
  • Short bike trip - done at 18:30
  • Do some planning for Objectware-uni (training for the new folks) - done at 19:00
  • Fiddle with personal bank-stuff, bills, etc - done at 19:30
  • Write this blog entry - done at 20:00
  • Do some maintenance programming for a customer - done at 22:00
So off I went on my little bike trip, trying out those new bike-shoes that click on to the pedals (did I mention that I cycle to work and I think everybody should do the same?). Naturally, I bumped into my neighbour that I had to help out with moving a fence, and neighbour-chat with for a while. By the time I got back it was 19:20.

Darn. So I had to re-arrange my estimate:
  • Bike and neighbour - done at 19:20
  • Objectware-uni - done at 19:30 (would have to be quick!)
  • Bank business - 20:00
  • Blog - 20:30
  • Programming - 22:00 (1/2 hour less than originally estimated)
On I went to wiki down the uni-plans. Was I quick about it? No. It is very hard to rush stuff that involves thinking. In fact I was so enticed with the state of the wiki that I blew off half-an-hour cleaning and moving stuff around on the wiki. By the end, the time was 20:00. Re-estimating:
  • Bike and neighbour - 19:20
  • Objectware-uni - done at 19:30
  • Wiki-stuff - 20:00
  • Bank - 20:30
  • Blog - 21:00
  • Programming - 22:00 (1 hour less than originally estimated)
[In the moment of writing, it is 21:30, the deadline for my latest blog estimate, so I will have to hurry up now.]

The bank stuff went pretty quick (10 minutes). But then I felt hungry. I eat extremely slow, and I eat a lot (much to the annoyence of fellow lunchers and diners). I made dinner, ate (while reading TheServerSide discussions) and was ready to move on at 21:00.

New estimate:

  • Bike and neighbour - 19:20
  • Objectware-uni - done at 19:30
  • Wiki-stuff - 20:00
  • Bank - 20:30
  • Dinner - 21:00
  • Blog - 21:30
  • Programming - 22:00 (1,5 hours less than originally estimated)
And now my time for blogging is up. Spending a half hour programming doesn't seem very worthwhile, so I'll rather spend the rest of the evening relaxing and planning tomorrows bike-trip to work (lotsa logistics involved there).

Conclusions:
  • Keeping a plan like that made me work more efficiently
  • I quickly discovered things I wouldn't have time for
  • I always discover new tasks I'll have to squeeze into the program
  • I'm easily distracted by these new tasks (will have to work on that)
  • Food takes time and must be planned for (will have to work on that too)
  • Your plan will continously be disturbed by people who want to chat on MSN/IM
Overall, the best thing about Scrum is that it makes you more aware of what you and your team is doing, and what steps can be taken to improve your development process. The next best thing is that it allows you to break estimates and openly admit it without anyone yelling "Sue these guys!"..