The schedule of artists and engineers is not aligned as the project was waterfall.

Last post 03:24 am December 12, 2017
by Ka Ming Yip
6 replies
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09:57 am December 7, 2017

Hi everyone,

I am trying to guide my PO to manage his PBI, but the schedule of our artists is quite ahead of our engineers, because the project was working with waterfall.

Our artists have done the artwork for this sprint long time ago, and they are working on the artwork for other PBI. It is quite risky because no one can ensure those PBI will be selected in the future. Furthermore, what the artists doing are not posted on the scrum board as not for the increment of this sprint, it is totally intransparent.

Any idea to sync up two parties as a whole development team to deliver the increment in every sprint?

10:09 pm December 7, 2017

Since the work of both artists and engineers is needed to create an increment, shouldn't they be on the same Development Team?

04:41 am December 8, 2017

Hi Ian, thanks for helping!

Yes, they are now in the same dev team. But they weren't not as working in waterfall.

Only engineers are working on the increment. Artists have done the artwork for this increment long time ago and are working on the artwork for later sprints.

It is so abnormal tho, so I want to align them altogether.

05:45 pm December 8, 2017

This is a "bad smell" regarding Scrum.   The term is called Local Optimization, and it refers to the practice of keeping specialists busy with their specialized tasks, which does not help move any work product to "done", and simply results in creating more inventory of unfinished work.

Your "artists" may be done with their artwork for the increment, but the items are incomplete from an end-user perspective.   You need to shift the focus from those doing the work, to the actual end work product.

What does your Definition of Done look like?

06:11 pm December 8, 2017

If people aren’t working on the increment, then they aren’t really members of the Development Team. What can each person who aspires to the Development Team role do to escape their old role restrictions? What can they do now to help develop each Sprint increment? Looking at the work which remains to be done, what useful skills does each individual person have to offer, and what new skills might they be able to learn?

07:27 am December 11, 2017

creating more inventory of unfinished work

This is a very important pointer from Timothy and I want to re-emphasise it. Inventory is waste. You say the artists are doing artwork for later sprints. But in fact, they're doing artwork for what you think may be later sprints. With changing requirements, there is a very real chance that what the features they're designing right now will not make it into the product. In which case you wasted a lot of time and money.

03:24 am December 12, 2017

Thanks all of your replies!

I understood the risk and problems of doing this, and I explained the artwork might not be valuable as planned cause we are working in a complex environment.

Now I just suggest artists to support the engineers to deliver the increment in each sprint first, and shift their schedule by suggesting them to review the artwork of current sprint or taking leaves (xmas is coming, haha), just for slowing down their progress.

"creating more inventory of unfinished work" create more complexity, so I can only communicate with them, I guess.

Don't know if it works, any idea regarding turning waterfall in agile?