Eating your own dog food, or dogfooding, is like the practice of practicing what you preach, which can feel like having to taste your own medicine when the medicine ain’t so tasty, or if it isn’t Gmail.
Want to piss off a software developer? Tell her she’s got less time to code something. This isn’t specific to coders, of course, but this is more the realm I work in, so I can speak to it. She’ll thrash. “Leave me be,” she’ll say. “You foul beast,” she’ll add. (“And stop speaking for me,” I’ll type on her behalf, parenthetically.)
Being told there’s less time to do stuff sucks. The Scrum response to this is to, well, do less stuff.
Folks, I am opening up a can of
whoop-ass my own Scrumalicious dog food and halving my Sprints from a time box of two weeks to one week, which means I will proportionately plan to do fewer points worth of things per now-shorter Sprint. “You damn dirty ape,” I say through clenched teeth, “Why?”
I’ll tell me why.
…to monitor which stories get implemented that are emergent and not related to my Sprint Goal.
In doing so, I monitored myself diving deep into emergent stories related to Bitcoin (invested in 1 BTC), Litecoin (invested in 10 LTC), and AirBnB (opened up our home to strangers). Were they things that ultimately help me out? The Product Owner in me thinks so, but they didn’t further me along the journey of accomplishing my Sprint Goal or getting done my reduced number of Sprint stories. To top it all off, I have yet to do the Retrospective, but I attribute that to getting food poisoning right at the very end of the Sprint.
I feel like I’ve fallen off the bandwagon.
Or have I?
Having relatively short time boxes neatly punctuates what can otherwise be an endless slog of personal development, in the ScrumOfOne realm, or software development, in the just-about-everywhere-else realm. It provides a point of transparency that you can then inspect, from which a specific practice of adaptation hopefully emerges. What I could clearly see was that the points associated with the emergent stories were greater than my predetermined buffer. This triggered a rather Scrumalicious adaptation which, aaugh, increases my chances of getting my Sprint Backlog (predetermined list of things to do) completed if I shorten that list and then shorten the time I next check in… with… myself.
It feels like punishment, which I’m imposing on myself, which is twisted; however, it is a practice designed to get the team to win. For good measure, I’m throwing in a period of grooming my own
fur Product Backlog.