SCRUM For Wedding Planning - Notes

Gregory Heller at Ignite Seattle 12 by Randy StewartYesterday I presented an Ignite Talk at Ignite Seattle 12 on the topic of using SCRUM Project Management for wedding planning.  I've heard people liked it, and some people asked me for some more information.  The video will surely be out soon enough, and I posted my slides already.  But slides without audio don't help that much, so until the video comes out, I figured I would post my notes.

This is a bit of an "opening the kimono" moment.  What you will see in the notes below, which I will not edit significantly from what I used to prep yesterday, is that I dropped alot as I worked toward the final genesis of the talk (if you were there, or when you see the video). I prepared my initial notes, which were more of a rough draft of an essay first, then produced my slide deck last week. I didn't finalize the notes until Monday, and polished the presentation on Tuesday. I'd say I spent about an hour per minute preparing which is in sharp contrast to my last Ignite Seattle talk in 2009 for which I probably spent 3 hours or more per minute of presentation.

A few tips I've learned about slide design: use a black background, and use high contrast fonts in large point sizes. Like 60pt or higher, the large words on my slides are all above 80pt.  The credits are between 18pt and 40pt.  Where I used images, I tried to make them as large as possible (full screen). Using the black background doesn't call attention to where the image ends and empty space on the slide when projected.

So here are my notes:

1. Title Screen

I'm a certified scrum master and I am going to tell you from my recent experience how you can use SCRUM to plan your wedding and stay sane while doing it.

SCRUM is a project management style designed for agile software development

It allows a product/project to respond to changing market demands without throwing out the entire project into jeopardy

Helps to cut down waste and waiting periods

reducing employee stress while simultaneously increasing productivity.

2. Why is it well suited for wedding planning?

Its well suited for Wedding planning because it is all about time boxes, Once you pick a date, your working against the clock. On the wedding day, you are getting married, and what you have gotten done by that day is all that you will get done.

3. CALENDAR

Scrum does not allow a delivery date to be altered! Just like most weddings. if you are behind on your work, you triage – delete items in the Sprint Backlog.

4. BACKLOG

The product backlog is a list of all the “features” of your wedding.

The items on the list are really groupings of other tasks, in a software project they would be feature requests like “user can post video”, not “code video upload” “code video player” those would be the tasks on the sprint backlog.

When you think of new “features”, add them to the product backlog where they wait to be placed onto a sprint backlog.

5. The sprint backlog is a list of all the to-do items you are going to work on in a specific sprint, and they are, necessarily, more detailed than the items you initially put on your product backlog.

6. Sprints

In SCRUM a sprint would typically be 30 days, but depending on how long you have to plan your wedding your “Sprints” could be longer or shorter: 10 to 45 days

Sprints allow you to logically group to do items based on the date they need to be done. In wedding planning there are a few distinct phases, getting the invitations out. Getting the clothing and decorations ordered. Finalizing the menu and other reception details.

7. SCRUM DIAGRAM

Don't bother trying to understand this slide now. Check it out online later at gregoryheller.com

8. BOUNDARIES

Sprints don't need to run back to back with no breaks in between. The sprints create a boundary between the wedding planning and the rest of your life leaving you time for things like vacations, holidays, time with friends and your job.

9. Shipable

SCRUM emphasizes developing “shipable units” of product, meaning you complete something and it is ready to go. In the context of wedding planning this is important too. If it is not truly done, it's useless. Focus on the things you can finish, finish them completely within a sprint and move on. As soon as something looks like it will not get done, drop it from the sprint and move on.

10. DONE

What does DONE mean? Anyone who's worked on a software team knows that 2 engineers will have 3 opinions. You and your partner need to understand DONE the same way, and you need to write the tasks on your backlogs in such a way that when you mark them DONE, you know that they are ready to go, no more work necessary.

11 Invites

Take for example “Wedding Invitations”

As an item on your backlog it is hopelessly vague. On your sprint backlog it includes: ordering samples, asking a friend to help design them, finding a printer, picking paper, getting envelopes, having them printed, stuffing them, finding a pen that writes best on the metallic paper of the envelops you bought, addressing them, buying the stamps and actually mailing them.

12 Prioritize

It is absolutely important to prioritize the items on your product and sprint backlogs so that you know you are getting the most important things done. As our planning progressed we adjusted the priority of items. Some things were always a priority 1, but as time and other resources got short, there were priority 2 or 3s that got dropped.

13 SCRUM TEAM

A typical SCRUM team team is 5 to 7 people, modified SCRUM for wedding planning has a small SCRUM team: you and the one you are going to marry. There is no SCRUM master, and you are both the Product Owner.

14 CHICKENS AND PIGS

If you've read about SCRUM, you might have seen a reference to Chickens and Pigs. The story goes that a chicken and a pig were hanging out one day when the chicken suggested they open a restaurant, the pig asked what they should call it, to which the chicken replied “Ham and Eggs.” To which the pig replied, “No Thanks, I'd be committed, but you'd only be involved.”

15 Beware the chickens! Wedding planning is rife with them: parents, siblings, best friends, coworkers.. all can be chickens, even a wedding planner, or venue coordinator. The Product Owner, and the SCRUM team are the Pigs. Totally committed.

16. TIME BOXED DAILY SCRUM

An important part of SCRUM is the daily SCRUM, a 15 minute time boxed meeting. In wedding SCRUM, you don't need to do this every day, maybe 2 or 3 times a week during an active sprint. Its not a working meeting. Its not about the doing.

17. DAILY SCRUM QUESTIONS

It is a reporting meeting during which each member of the team says what they have done since the last meeting, what they plan to do before the next meeting, and any blockers or impediments to the doing.

It is important not to get dragged into the “doing”. Any discussions or decision making happens in followup meetings or working sessions.

18. Communication and Transparency

The Daily Scrum is a ritual that fosters communication and transparency which is not only a good thing to develop during wedding planning, but also in marriage.

19. PHOTO

  • If you follow some of these tips:
  • Make A List
  • Prioritize it
  • Organize it into sprints
  • Focus on what can be completed within each sprint
  • communicate regularly with your partner

you too can stay sane while planning your wedding with scrum.

Credits

All photos were creative commons licensed, as is this presentation, learn more at gregoryheller.com

follow me on twitter @gregoryheller and @hungryseattle