Waterwheel Methodology

You’re an agile shop but still having problems shipping? Tell me about your process.

We put all our tasks into pivotal. In our weekly planning meeting, we point new stories and organize them in the order we need to do them. We’re good about communicating the estimates that pivotal shows us as our “best guess” for when a particular feature will get done. We do continuos deploys.

How big is your backlog?

Pretty big. Around 60 stories.

How many iterations is that?

22. So, that’s 44 weeks.

You have almost a year’s backlog? Backlog, not icebox, right? How did you create these stories?

Well, we met with product and design and they explained what the business wanted to see in the product over the few quarters. Design gave us a bunch of PSD mockups and we war-roomed for three days at the beginning of the quarter and to figure out our path from where we are today to where we need to go. Then we turned each of those steps into a story or two and pointed them. Based on our past velocity, we noticed some features won’t get done in time, so we pushed back on product to help us prioritize.

Hold up. Aren’t you just describing waterfall right now?

Well, our dev team is agile. We work in weekly iterations and continously deploy.

But your business, product, and design all do detailed 6–12 month planning?

Waterwheel methodology so your dev team can feel good about itself.