Granularity of product/sprint backlog items

Last post 04:43 pm June 7, 2021
by Daniel Wilhite
2 replies
08:16 am June 4, 2021

Hi team,

I have done some basic research but not finding relevant answers.  apologies if my question is already covered elsewhere.

I am documenting our project planning session into an MS Project 2019 Agile plan.  We have a task to get the entire team certified on a series of products, and I want to track progress regularly (e.g. a friday scrum to report on training progress).  I could define this in MSProj in many ways, what is your suggestion?  I have these options in mind:

1. a single task of "studying for course 1" and assign 3 resources to it for a total of 120 hours (40 hours/course self-paced training)

2. 3 tasks of "studying course 1" and assign 1 person per task of 40 hours each

The subsequent task would include booking for exams, predecessors would be gathering course material, and we will have regular 1/2 day workshops to study together.


We have 3 members and quite a variety of courses+exams to complete by December.  courses/modules vary such that all 3 members might do a course, or only 2 members, or only 1 (i.e. common training, and specilized focus training) 

So I see the Product as being "certified consultants", with each sprint consisting of different modules + exams according to our plan.

Please share your thoughts on creating such a plan in MS Proj.



06:52 pm June 4, 2021

Wouldn't an agile plan be inspected and adapted by self-managing professionals, rather than established by one person up-front, who then "assigns" tasks to "resources"?

04:43 pm June 7, 2021

I'm going to tag on to @Ian Mitchell's response.  This is a unique way of thinking of a product so I'll give you credit for creativity.  I have worked with People/ Human Resources departments that used Scrum for managing their activities but it was mostly for activities that created the training per this situation.  Trying to use Scrum to manage the actual education of the employees has some limitations.  For example, in Scrum the premise is that you have a single team of dedicated individuals working on the product.  In your example, I'm going to assume that all of the people that will need to be certified are working on teams that are supporting the products for which everyone needs to be certified.  So how would you deal with the conflicts that could occur by individuals trying to satisfy two Product Goals and two Sprint Goals at the same time?  You are building in impediments rather than trying to remove them.  A possible way to work around this would be to have a set of individuals that are removed from their normal teams for a period of X Sprints where they will focus entirely on the certification requirements.  But not sure how well that would scale or if it would provide the timely results you need.

You are assigning work to individuals rather than allowing the individuals to self-organize to achieve the stated goal. That is counter to all agile practices I know but is very reminiscent of project management practices. 

I ask you why you want to do this method?  How does your company manage existing mandatory training requirements? Why can't this be handled in the same manner?