First official post of the year! 🙂
I decided to talk about project preparation and Product Backlog Readiness.
Often times (should say, too many times) people refer to a Sprint 0 (Zero) when talking about the work that is needed before project implementation. I’m happy to announce, it *DOES NOT* exist people… no such thing. For starters, usage of the word Sprint means that it has a determined maximum amount of time, meaning 30 days or 1 calendar month, so how do you know that you will have everything prepared within that time? Will you have a Sprint 0 prime and so on? The answer is no, if you are using Scrum that is and since this is a Scrum blog I don’t care about the other “stuff”.
That is why a vocabulary change is in order. All you need to do is refer the that period of time as simply, Project Preparation. During that preparation period, you will do what is necessary to get you project in a state of Readiness that you feel comfortable with. I can hear you already, How will I know when i’m comfortable? The answer is, you won’t know until you try. I very much doubt that you will find the perfect balance right out of the gate with your first project, but i am certain that you will quickly find it as you start subsequent projects. You must remember that Scrum is an empirical process and therefore learn by experience. We have the audicity to adopt behaviours and practices for a short time in order to observe whether it makes sense for us or not. The question you must therefore ask yourselves is, What is my level of readiness which I am comfortable with? (Such things as Architecture, Modeling, UX, Environments, Specifications, etc.)
The product backlog is at the heart of this process and must therefore be ready in order to have the best chance of success. You will find yourself asking the same questions about this artefact as all other activities. Are your features in Story form? Are your estimates done? Have you determined you Acceptance Criterias? Are your stories small enough? I could go on. So please, do not be afraid to take the time necessary (I stress the word, necessary) for you to have what you need and in the same manner that I hope you will not be afraid to start when it seems right (You will certainly find out if you missed something along the way).