29 January 2010

Backlog Logjam

log jamWith Twitter hash tag #rethinkingbacklogDavid Hussman mused

I see many people who hear backlog and think "things I will never get"
Then he asked
Is it time for a new word?
Here's a sampling of the responses to David's query
Hopper?

It might be a hayseed rearing in one of the Little Boxes made of ticky-tack in the sardine suburbs of Tony Soprano's New Jersey, but I suggested Hopper. No reaction. Crickets chirped on Twitter. So let me explain.

If Agilistas used Hopper instead of Backlog, then hoofed ruminant programmers like me would be gravity fed! It's unnerving to programmers when there isn't a stream of mouth-watering cud ready to be digested. Programmers wouldn't be beholden to trying to think for, and prod, hapless product owners. Immutable gravity would move whatever shit they tossed in.
hungry pig

Most so-called product owners do not know enough, or are not engaged enough with the vision for the product, to prioritize things...unless it's a startup and it is your bacon smoke going up the chimney. Otherwise, the concept of product owner makes no sense in the typical corporate paradigm. You don't have ownership unless you actually own it.

As a hungry programmer, I like the image of positioning my pie hole below the spigot.

Sidebar

In the corporate realm, I wonder if the more common scenario than a backlog so large people are concerned if stories will ever get into an iteration, is having a backlog so thin that well-intentioned people are scrambling around 10 minutes before iteration planning to make sure there is enough cud to toss into the UCS, or Usability Calamity Software (aka, agile tracking tool), for the salivating programmers.

This opinion might be slightly tainted by an un-coached, agile-lite project I once worked on. Please don't try agile without coaching.

More

Search the #rethinkingbacklog thread started by David Hussman on Twitter to see more replacement candidates for Backlog.

Gratitude

Thanks David - you spark some of the best discussions.