If you are like me who ages and forgets, I find checklists really useful to consider and remember important points relating to specific activities. I maintain several checklists in my OneNote that I could access Online or Offline (vacation checklist or checklist for deciding a good summer workshop for my kid).
I like to share to you my checklist for guiding/leading several Scrum Teams. It helps me determine what point in the project a team is currently in and what level of maturity the Scrum Team currently has.
The list is quite long. It is still under construction as new best practices are discovered and old lessons need to be unlearned.
- Is the Business case defined and clear?
- Clear Project Vision and target customer
- Customer needs and the critical attributes of the product to satisfy the needs
- How is the product different from other product or existing solution
- Is there an approved project budget and time-frame?
- Has the Product Owner been identified? (Or a Project Manager in case project is multi-disciplinary – example include actual setup of infrastructures other than SW)
- Is the list of assumptions, constraints, top risks identified and known? (Risk/Assumption Register)
- Has the project Contract been established?
Establish Team and Communication Needs
- Is a Product Owner assigned?
- Is a Scrum Master(s) assigned?
- Are the Development Team(s) formed?
- Are the stakeholders and their information/reporting needs identified? (Stakeholder Register)
- Are the communication paths with stakeholders and other teams established?
- Are there strategies to ensure Stakeholder engagement?
- Are the skill gaps identified and the training strategies developed?
Populate the Product Backlog
- Are the Product Personas identified?
- Are the User Journeys visualized?
- Are the Product themes and epics identified?
- Is the Product backlog prioritized?
- Does the product backlog have READY Stories for at least the next 2 sprints?
- Do the READY stories have acceptance criteria and estimates?
- Are the transition requirements identified and included in the Backlog?
- Is there a defined Emergent/Malleable Architecture that may meet epic-level requirements?
Plan the Product/Project Roadmap
- Is there an initial assumed velocity? (For the purposes of road-mapping)
- Conduct a spike if necessary to measure velocity or define the unknown
- Is the Length of Sprint decided?
- Do the Items in the Product backlog have point estimates? (At least for 6-month horizon)
- Is the Project Roadmap visualized/plotted?
- Are the releases indicated in the roadmap?
- Is the Initial Product Burndown plotted?
- Are the resource (materials/tools/etc.) requirements identified?
- Is the Risk/Assumptions Register updated to support the roadmap?
Setup the Tools/Infrastructure
- How will the Backlog be managed? (Issue/Task Management)
- What will be the Information Radiators (Kanban board) and information sharing tools? Are they available?
- File sharing mechanism is available
- Code Management system is established
- Video Conferencing/Teleconferencing Systems
- War rooms for co-located teams
- What will be the Coding/Development Environment? Are they available?
- Tools for automated build
- Tools for static code testing
- Tools for unit testing/TDD
- Tools for resource leak detection
- What will be the Test Environment? Are they available?
- Tools for BDD testing
- Framework for Continuous Integration
- Framework Continuous Delivery/DevOps
- If applicable, Staging and Deployment Environment are available
- Is there a “Hello World” Spike code that will employ the tools identified?
Establish the House Rules/Events
- When, Where and Who will attend Sprint Planning?
- When, Where and Who will attend Daily Scrum?
- When, Where and Who will attend Sprint Review?
- When, Where and Who will attend Sprint Retrospective?
- When, Where and Who will attend Product Backlog Refinement?
- What is the team’s Definition of Ready?
- What is the team’s Definition of Done?
- What are the Scrum Emergency Procedures (what to do in case progress is behind set threshold)?
- What are the rules for code Check-in/Checkout?
- How would the teams share common resources?
- What are the coding guidelines (including commenting)?
- How will the team get consensus and resolve conflicts?
Execute Sprint Planning
- Is the Sprint Goal agreed upon?
- Is there a Sprint Backlog?
- Chosen Product Backlog Items for the sprint
- Tasks to Deliver the Product Increment
- At least 1 actionable item from the retrospect
- Task for at least 3 days’ worth are defined
- Are the tasks are estimated in hours?
- Is the Sprint Burndown plotted?
- Is there an Emergent Design to meet the sprint backlog stories?
- Are there UI Wireframes?
Execute Daily Scrum and Sprint
- Are acceptance tests written?
- Is the Sprint Burndown chart up-to-date? (daily preferred)
- Are Impediments raised, monitored, and removed?
- Do deviations not exceed set threshold? (ex: sprint burndown is not delayed for 20%) – if yes execute Scrum Emergency Procedures
Perform Product backlog Refinement
- Do change requests/New ideas have clear WHAT/WHY, and do they contribute to vision and add value?
- Are technical debts prioritized and estimated?
- Are user stories (product backlog items) estimated and can fit in a sprint?
- Are acceptance criteria identified at least for the product backlog items in the next two sprints?
- Do user stories pass INVEST Criteria?
Perform Sprint Review
- Is Product Burndown chart updated?
- Is Product Roadmap updated?
- Are there Project Forecasts and variance analyses: Schedule and Cost (EVM – example)?
- Are the DONE and NOT DONE items clear?
- Is the Product increment (accepted stories) and associated deliverables available? (manuals, test reports etc.)
- Are the rejected user stories returned to the Product Backlog and re-estimated?
- Are the change requests are identified, prioritized (included in the backlog)?
- Are Technical debts, if any, declared?
- Is the Risk/Assumptions Register updated?
- Is there a need to project cost and schedule baselines (if necessary)?
Conduct Sprint Retrospective
- Is there an updated Velocity Histogram?
- Are the relevant metrics for retrospective available for analysis?(Velocity, Done Success Rate, Estimation effectiveness)
- Are actionable items for improvement identified?
- Is the Lessons Learned register updated and shared appropriately to other teams?
Release product/Transition Product
- Are the Pilot/Rollout/deployment activities planned and performed?
- Are the Data conversions and cleanup completed?
- Are the Users trained on the system? (re-alignment of roles and changes in workflow)
Perform Project Administrative Closure
- Has the Final Product been transitioned?
- Has Project Sign-off/acceptance been received?
- Are the Project Metrics collected, analyzed and stored for future estimation?
- Are the Lessons learned from the project documented, shared, and fed-back to the organizational process assets?
- Has the Project information been archived?
- Are Project Resources released?
I will share an excel version soon. Please do wait for it.
As promised, here is the EXCEL version of Agile-ProjectManagement-Checklist.
– Agile Pinoy