The non negotiability of time

In traditional project management, the success and failure of projects are governed by the achievement of the triple constraints of time, cost and scope. Based on this one define the flexibility matrix. What is negotiable and what is not negotiable in Scrum. In scrum projects cost and scope are negotiable where as time is not. What is the actual impact of that on projects;

The first and foremost thing is, all scrum ceremonies must start and complete on time. For instance, all daily standup meetings must start and complete on time. So is the case with the sprint, daily scrum, sprint reviews and sprint retrospectives.

If you cannot buy into the non negotiability of time aspect, do not get into scrum please.

Personal Scrum for 2022

Personal Scrum

The relevance of personal scrum is like never before because of the changes in our work styles and environment. In 2022, most of us will be working on a hybrid model combining work from home and work from office.

I am sure that most of you will agree to the following list of risks of working from home;

  • The distractions to work are higher when we work from home
  • There is no sense of urgency, because we feel that we have 24 hour work days than 8 hour work days
  • Since bosses also feel that they have 24 hour work days, they assume that others are also available for work for 24 hours a day
  • There is always this tendency to drift away into nice to do things at the cost of most important work

What is personal Scrum?

Personal scrum, the miniature version of the standard scrum for teams is ideal for one member teams who plays all the roles (product owner, scrum master and developers). Personal scrum is about implementing scrum in a one member team comprising of just You. You are the product owner, the scrum master and the developer.

1) Personal vision / goal?

What is the main goal that you want to achieve?. It could be just one major goal, or it could be multiple goals. It must be something you really want to accomplish.

2) Personal sprints (daily sprint)

Sprint duration within personal scrum is 24 hours. It is all about how much you increment towards your goal in the next 24 hours from the sprint planning.

3) Personal sprint planning

I found it helpful to plan the daily sprint immediately after a sprint review and sprint retrospective done at the end of the day. At the end of every day, I walk through the activity list for the day, introspect and prepare the plan for the next 24 hours (personal sprint plan).

4) Personal sprints

Preparing a to-do list (sprint plan) for the next day, the previous day itself helps to start the day with a purpose / goal. This helps to focus on the tasks at hand and complete them, resulting in better time management and self esteem.

5) Personal sprint reviews

Done at the fag end of the day to see what all tasks are completed, how many unplanned tasks cropped up etc.

6) Personal sprint retrospectives

This is the most crucial ceremony when one analyses the root causes for failures / success and about ways and means of improving further.

Tools recommended

Writing pad and pen. As far as possible, do not use any automated tools. Physically writing down the goals and the daily sprint backlog (task list) makes it easy to remember and refer to.

The 7 ‘C’s that will improve productivity towards goal achievement

  1. Clarity
    1. Write down the goals
    2. Do something you love and do it well
    3. Build your self esteem continuously by focusing on strengths and opportunities
    4. Set a deadline
    5. Prepare to-do lists
    6. Take action on the most important things
    7. Do something every day on your most important goal
    8. 10 goals to accomplish in the next 12 months
    9. Break them down to 24 hour goals
  2. Competence
    1. Important skills required to be in the top 10 of what I do.
    2. Help people understand how much better their lives are going to be
    3. Get obsessed with customer service
  3. Concentration
    1. One task at a time
    2. Eat a frog live in the morning (difficult tasks first)
    3. Master key to success is self discipline
  4. Constraints
    1. The one factor that will improve the speed of achieving he goal
    2. Double the face time, double the income
  5. Continuous learning and development
  6. Commitment – Put your whole heart into what you are doing for a long time.
  7. Courage – Courage to begin, Courage to keep going. Persistence.

7 major risks of new product development

Risk #1 – Lack of business case

The product idea can look extremely good to the owner of the idea, till we get into the details. The hardest truths surface when we do a cash flow analysis of the new product. It need not be a full fledged cash flow analysis using all professional ratios like NPV or BCR. Take a sheet of paper or use a simple spreadsheet and work out the monthly income and expense forecast to build and launch the new product successfully. Once you have sufficient confidence on the financial viability, then get it reviewed by another person who can ask you difficult questions. In product development, fast failures are much better than failing late because you will be able to save lot of time and money by failing fast. If you have a product idea and want to get it reviewed then we will be able to help you.

Risk #2 – Red Ocean entry

The idea can be great. It can have a good business case on paper. Good!. Still it is better to explore how many similar products are already there in the market. One should never enter into an over crowded red ocean market. Do not get disheartened with this realization. You will be able to create that blue ocean where the competition is almost nil by pivoting your product into something that delivers more value. All successful products or product owners have continuously pivoted their product before they reached their present leadership level.

Risk#3 Technical risks

You have built your product. It is almost complete, and finally when you release it, you run into performance issues which calls for a major revamp of the architecture itself. This is time consuming and calls for additional costs which will be difficult for every new product team. It is better to do all sorts of scalability and stress tests of the core architecture before starting to build.

Risk#4 Lack of cadence in development

Cadence correlates with the rhythm of development. Without a rhythm for development work, the progress becomes unpredictable. It is always better to bank on frameworks like Scrum to bring in discipline to the development process. Professional scrum masters will be able to help you here.

Risk#5 Cash flow delays

Do you have sufficient funds to withstand delays in cash flow?. You might have resigned from your regular 9 to 5 job and pumped in all your savings into the project. The developers need to be paid. The rentals, electricity bills, internet charges, hosting charges etc can create tremendous pressure. One must have reserves. One must be frugal throughout the early years of the product to withstand delayed cash flows.

Quit your regular job as late as possible. Do not resign your 9 to 5 job which gives you a regular income in a hurry o concentrate on the new product. Let it start as a pert time / week end project, and when the situation really demands then think of leaving your regular job to focus on the product full time.

Risk#6 Poor marketing

Your product can be excellent, but if the world does not know about it, then it is as bad as it does not exist. There are several ways of reaching out to the masses. A seasoned marketing professional will be able to guide you here. Poor marketing have killed many good products. Good marketing have saved many mediocre products.

Risk#7 Lack of ethics

Strong, trustworthy partnerships are required to wither every storm. In product development the partnership between the product owner and the architect, team is no exception. The worst thing that can happen in product development is the unstable partnership between the product owner and the main architect during the development stages. Post development the product need a stable CEO, CTO combination to drive it forward.

Scrumlance.org will be able to help you through the entire product life cycle, which will help you develop and launch products at almost 10 times lower costs without sacrificing on quality and reliability.

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