Five Ways to Deliver Your Agile Project Sprints on Time
March 3, 2018

Are you a young professional working at an Agile – Scrum practicing company?; Your teams must have missed the project deadline at least once. Delivering a sprint as promised on the promised date is a challenge where it costs time, money and more importantly, it breaks the trust of the client and company’s management.

Here are my tips on how to avoid making undeliverable project promises:

1.Give accurate time estimates

Every team member must pitch in their time estimate

The mistake many Agile team members make is to assume that they should not bother participating in sprint planning. But then, when the deadline approaches, they announce that they never thought the time estimates were realistic. By making everyone contribute their time estimate, every team member takes on the responsibility of delivering on their promise.

You can search on the internet these terms to know about some popular Scrum time estimation methods: Planning Poker, T-shirt Sizes Estimation, The Bucket System Estimation.

Break the story down into smaller tasks

It is easier to estimate times for a particular task than for the entire user story. Your team members will intuitively know how much time a particular sub-task would take while estimating user stories would require them to research, reflect on past experiences and calculate.  Estimating stories by breaking them down into smaller tasks is, therefore, not only more accurate but also much quicker.

2. Have a buffer; Set an internal deadline

It is always good to add a buffer to your estimate. In a real-world scenario, tasks tend to take more time than we think they would. Strive to have a project deadline which is for the team only. But, it is important that all team members take this deadline seriously. The client deadline should be later than the internal deadline so that the team is likelier to meet it.  

3. Use your planning tools diligently and to their full capacity

Project management tools

Estimating and reporting time in your project management tool regularly can significantly improve your performance in the long-run. You will be able to revisit your past tasks and evaluate the real time it took you to complete them, as well as identify bottlenecks.

Calendar scheduling

Using your calendar to plan your daily workload will help you account for any impediments to your delivery.

4. Do follow the Scrum by the book

Have daily standup meetings every working day

Daily standups will lead to your team’s overall performance.

Never skip sprint retrospective

Sprint retrospective is the perfect opportunity to discuss what went well and what went wrong in the last sprint and help the entire team get better organised for the next one.

5. [Agile project managers/ Senior management] Resource reallocation 

Bringing in resources with required competencies

If a member assigned to the project has different skills and lack the required skills, it would be better to try a different resource with required competencies.

Bringing in more resources

Bringing in more resources always cannot be a good solution, as it will increase the project cost, and with a large group, it might be messy too. But if you can’t meet the project expectations with the existing number of resources then more resources should be brought in.

Article by Dinuka Jayaweera, Editor-in-Chief, IMPACT by IEEE Young Professionals

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