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Dev Team Hours
Last Post 31 Dec 2013 01:22 PM by Ian Mitchell. 10 Replies.
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Scott Way
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Scott Way

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14 Nov 2013 08:48 AM
    Hello Good Friends,

    I recently attempted the PSM certification and sadly missed by one question. I am preparing to take it again shortly and I am researching the questions that did not come easily to me. I am reaching out because there was one question I cannot find a formal official scurm based answer to and in my years as serving as both a product owner and a scrum master I have heard differing opinions.

    The question related to how many hours should the dev team work. I can recall three of the four answers; ideal hours, enough to meet their commitments, and 7-8 hours per day. My thoughts were to select the 'enough to meet their commitments' selection. However, sometimes teams take on too much and trying to maintain their commitments quickly leads to working late and weekends and eventually team burnout if they don't learn to adjust their sprint planning commitments.

    I can understand arguments for both. Teams should maintain reasonable hours so that we know what they can accomplish at a balanced pace and also teams should feel the pain of their mistake (commitments should hold weight) so they learn not to do that again.., but what is the formal scrum answer that would be expected? Did I get it right?

    Scott
    Illya Pavlichenko
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    Illya Pavlichenko

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    14 Nov 2013 08:56 AM
    Scott,

    please don't expect from Scrum Guide to give you direct answers to all the questions.
    You have to remember that Scrum Guide is the tangible implementation of the Values and Principles of Agile Manifesto for Software Development. And one of those principles talks about "sustainable pace". That's the speed of development that the Development Team is capable to keep indefinitely long.

    Also the foundation of the Scrum are the 5 Scrum Values (Openness, Commitment, Focus, Respect, Courage).
    Please keep that in mind too when answering any question.

    Ian Mitchell
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    Ian Mitchell

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    14 Nov 2013 09:22 AM
    A team following Scrum will provide regular incremental deliveries of value. The only measure of success is whether or not such deliveries are made. The number of hours that have been worked is not a substitute for such value.

    So of the three answers you can remember, it seems that you can eliminate the first (ideal hours) and the last (7-8 hours per day). They may be good answers, but they are not the best. The middle answer (enough to meet their commitments) appears to be the better one. A Scrum Development Team will commit to achieving a Sprint Goal and the Sprint Backlog that they have forecast for delivery. It is up to that team how many hours will be worked to achieve that goal, and who will work them and when in the Sprint. As long as the Product Owner is satisfied with the delivery it is immaterial how the team self-organized their working time in order to provide it.
    Illya Pavlichenko
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    Illya Pavlichenko

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    15 Nov 2013 12:33 AM
    Ian, I have to disagree with you

    The key to the correct answer is the "sustainable pace".
    Working 7-8 hours per day - IS sustainable pace.
    I want to give a quote from Ken's book "The enterprise and Scrum":

    The product that was developed using Scrum was Vosod. It began to emerge in high-quality, regular increments. Joris adopted a sustainable pace of work, one of Scrum's practices. Everyone worked eight-hour days. Some people might look at that practice and think, "Oh, that means developers get out of working hard for the company!" Quite the contrary—a sustainable pace yields higher productivity and quality products.
    Adventure Works was owned by a Japanese company. The Scrum practice of eight-hour workdays was unacceptable to the senior members of the Japanese management. They demanded longer hours, and the 12-hour work days that were normal prior to Scrum were restored.


    So as you see it's all about regular hours of work per day.
    To work "enough to meet commitments " does not guarantee you a sustainable pace at all.
    Colin Hamilton
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    Colin Hamilton

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    15 Nov 2013 10:07 AM
    I agree 100% with Illya.

    As a team matures their understanding of how much they can commit to will evolve and become more predictable. Adding extra hours to compensate for over-commitment sounds like the bad old days of waterfall where someone else made the commitment for the team!

    If the team over-commits then you'd be looking at a scenario where it takes 18hr days and a hero culture to meet the commitments. That's not sustainable (or healthy).

    Of course, if a team under-commits, they can conversely "get away" with working fewer hours to deliver on their commitments, but that's equally unsustainable.
    Ian Mitchell
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    Ian Mitchell

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    04 Dec 2013 10:31 AM
    > Ian, I have to disagree with you
    >
    > The key to the correct answer is the "sustainable pace".
    > Working 7-8 hours per day - IS sustainable pace.
    > I want to give a quote from Ken's book "The enterprise and Scrum"...

    7 - 8 hours per day may not be sustainable for some team members. It's up to the team to decide how many hours they can work and they should reflect that decision in their Sprint commitments.

    There's another clue here. Given that Scrum is a framework and not a methodology, it's very unlikely that Scrum would prescribe "ideal hours" or indeed a specific number of hours. This stands in contrast with other agile approaches such as Extreme Programming (XP). If I recall correctly, in XP a 40 hour work week is a key practice, but that's the sort of prescription that makes XP more of a methodology than a framework.

    Now, if this question had related to the PSD certification I think the correct answer would be less clear, given that PSD seems to be founded on many XP practices including refactoring, TDD, and (possibly) a 40 hour week.
    Ian Mitchell
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    Ian Mitchell

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    04 Dec 2013 10:40 AM
    > Given that Scrum is a framework and not a methodology, it's very unlikely
    > that Scrum would prescribe "ideal hours" or indeed a specific number of hours

    I should be more precise: a working day is not a time-boxed event in Scrum
    Ravi Vajaria
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    Ravi Vajaria

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    15 Dec 2013 05:03 PM
    I think "sustainable 7-8 hours" is a trick answer. I also think that this question and many other questions, we could write why we chose one answer over the other(s). My answer would be: as much as needed to complete the forecast with openness. i.e. let the PO know it is taking longer and the reason (be it lack of experience, or it is really more work now that we know more on Nth day of the sprint). So PO knows the team is committed. Eventually, the team should reach to a level where they can accurately forecast and complete the work by working at sustainable pace. Yes, "sustainable" is a relative term (for example, some team might work more MON-THU and 1/2 day on FRI which is perfectly fine, and some company culture is just that!)
    Bengt
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    Bengt

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    27 Dec 2013 08:34 AM
    The new Scrum Guide says the development team only forecasts stories they will have done at the end of the sprint.
    There is no comitment anymore so i'm with Illya 7-8 hours
    michael
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    michael

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    31 Dec 2013 08:10 AM
    Hi,

    I was in the same position by 1% so really know where you are coming from when you get one like this.
    This is where PSM1 really falls down , Ken says the SCRUM guide is enough to pass the exam.
    https://www.scrum.org/Forums/aft/553

    Feedback as you have gathered from the fail has now left you not knowing what the actual answer is and is being debated in this forum, so do think that PSM1 is a little unkind in many aspects.
    I would have gone with 7 hours as that i too think that it is a sustainable pace, but SCRUM does not assign a timebox on this, so my guess could be wrong.
    The best bet is mail Ken or Jeff as they would be the experts, and as its costing you 100$ you do want the correct answer to give you the best chance of passing on your resit.
    Ian Mitchell
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    Ian Mitchell

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    31 Dec 2013 01:22 PM
    > I would have gone with 7 hours as that i too think that it is a
    > sustainable pace, but SCRUM does not assign a timebox on this,
    > so my guess could be wrong. 

    I think that's the correct analysis, even if the correct answer remains dubious.

    If the right answer turns out to be a certain number of hours the repercussions would be significant, given that a working day is not a time-boxed event in Scrum. I suggest that it is wisest to apply the principle of least surprise.
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