Project Management

Toad Gets Organized

One morning, Toad stood in front of his team.

“We have many things to do,” he said. “I will write out tickets for all of them, and put them into our ticket system so that we remember to do them.”

As his team watched, Toad created a new JIRA project. He titled it, A List of Things We Need To Do For Our Next Release.

Then he created a new ticket in the project, titled: Create a JIRA project for the next release.

“I have done that,” said Toad, and he clicked the button to close the ticket.

Then Toad created more tickets for the project:

  1. Lead team meeting
  2. Groom backlog
  3. Assign tickets to team members
  4. Define product marketing strategy
  5. Build new features
  6. Deploy product
  7. Write release notes

His team watched in stunned silence. “There,” said Toad. “Now our release is all planned out.”

Toad declared the meeting over, and closed the Lead Team meeting ticket.

Gonna need a ticket for “create more tickets.”

Toad stared at all the tickets that were tagged “backlog”. He moved them all into the current sprint. Then he closed Groom backlog.

Toad walked around his team’s development area for the rest of the morning. Every time he saw a member of his team, he chose a user story and assigned it to that person.

Then he closed the ticket, Assign tickets to team members.

Frog walked by Toad’s office and knocked on his door. “Hello,” said Frog.

“Look at my team’s dashboard,” said Toad, “every feature is assigned to someone in my team!”

“Oh,” said Frog, “that is very nice.”

Toad said, “My burn down chart tells me that it’s time for us to start building new features.”

“All right,” said Frog, “I can’t wait to see the new version of our product.”

Frog and Toad took the rest of the day off, to discuss product strategy over beers. As Frog closed their tab, Toad took out his phone and closed Define product marketing strategy.

Bug reports from users started to roll in. Toad’s team created tickets for each bug that crashed the app or rendered it unusable. Toad watched as the burn down chart got taller and taller.

“Help!” cried Toad. “My JIRA skills have been wasted! What will my team do every day, without my tickets to guide their work?”

“Hurry!” said Frog. “Assign all your engineers to fixing bugs, so they can fix those bugs and get back to building real features.”

“No!” muttered Toad. “I cannot do that.”

“Why not?” asked Frog.

“Because,” wailed Toad, “fix bugs was not one of the tickets that I created for our next release!”

Frog hired a bunch of contractors to help fix all the bugs, but the list of bug tickets grew longer and longer. At last, Frog walked into Toad’s office. “I am sorry,” said Frog, “but I could not staff up your team quickly enough to improve your team’s feature velocity.”

“Blah,” said Toad. “I cannot remember any of the features that were on my list for the next release. My team will just have to work on performance and stability instead,” and he closed the Build new features ticket as ‘will not fix.’

Frog and Toad contemplate feature velocity while the engineering team fixes bugs.

Toad sat and did nothing. Frog sat with him.

After a long time, Frog said, “Toad, the release deadline is rapidly approaching. We should deploy the new version and write some release notes.”

Deploy the product and write release notes,” shouted Toad. “Those were the last tickets on my list!”

He created a text file named RELEASE_NOTES.txt, and wrote “Bug fixes and performance improvements” on the first line. He closed the Write release notes ticket. Finally he closed the Deploy the product ticket.

“There,” Toad said, “now our release is ready to go!”

“I am glad,” said Frog.

Then Frog and Toad headed out to another offsite at the bar.

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