Help get this topic noticed by sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, or email.
I’m confused.

Using Pivotal to manage SCRUM environment

I'm fairly new to the SCRUM process and I'm trying to use Pivotal Tracker as the tool for our team. Based on my understanding of SCRUM there is a product backlog and a sprint backlog. The product backlog is a very high level set of requirements provided by the product owner (business/stakeholders). Based on the priorities of this backlog and the resources a sprint backlog is created; basically a set of features that the team will complete during that sprint (1 - 4 weeks).

I'm having trouble implementing this with Pivotal because I initially thought the icebox could work like a product backlog, but it's not that easy. The product backlog is very high level, but the icebox should contain low level stories that can be easily estimated and dragged to the backlog/current sections. So what's the best way to implement SCRUM using Pivotal? Should I maintain a separate document with my product backlog and have my team break those features down further into the icebox? How are other people using Pivotal to manage a SCRUM environment? Does what I'm trying to true make sense?

Thanks for your help in advance!
5 people have
this question
+1
Reply
  • 5
    Ashok,

    We use Scrum and Pivotal Tracker, and it works quite nicely. There are a few standard but non-essential Scrum practices that aren't well supported by Pivotal Tracker, but you can work around them.

    Without going into the theory and detail, here is what I recommend:

    1) Icebox. Initially, all of your user stories start here. They are probably vague and unestimated. We use the Icebox for anything "not ready for development". Your product owner may not fully understand these stories. They may be "epic" stories that are too big for implementation. It doesn't matter...it all starts in Icebox.

    2) Product Owner and team work together to get stories ready for development. This involves the PO explaining details of each story, and providing acceptance criteria. The PO or team may recommend breaking these stories up into smaller stories if they are to large or vague.

    When the team feels they have a handle on the stories, they estimate them using story points. When the stories are estimated, move them into the backlog.

    Initially, on a new project, you want to have a couple of iterations (at least) defined and estimated (in the backlog) before you start. But, this process (backlog grooming) should continue throughout the product lifecycle.

    3) Backlog. The backlog is your Scrum Product Backlog. Generally, It should contain only stories that are defined (ready for dev) and estimated. It should be in priority order, as decided by the Product Owner.

    Only Backlog items are considered viable for development! Icebox may as well not exist as far as your dev team is concerned.

    4) Current. Current is your "Sprint Backlog", what the team is working on in the current iteration.

    The trick here is that PT by default uses velocity based planning for your Sprint Backlog. Current is always going to fill up with stories of point value equal to the teams velocity.

    If you want to use that approach, you just go to work. After a several iterations, your velocity should be stable. Pivotal will now predict what you should be able to do each iteration, AND the backlog will predict/schedule out future iterations.

    The alternative is to turn on "commitment" mode for current. This allows you to manually decide how many stories you want to commit to for the current iteration. Scrum does generally promote a commitment based approach (based on velocity), but either can be useful.

    One of the biggest challenges for a new Scrum team is to get good (consistent) at story estimation, and establish a consistent velocity. Once you do that, PT is a very effective Scrum tool.

    Happy to provide additional advice on using PT for Scrum. We find it a great tool.

    Good luck.
  • (some HTML allowed)
    How does this make you feel?
    Add Image
    I'm

    e.g. sad, anxious, confused, frustrated indifferent, undecided, unconcerned kidding, amused, unsure, silly happy, confident, thankful, excited