Facilitating the Spread of Knowledge and Innovation in Professional Software Development

Write for InfoQ


Choose your language

InfoQ Homepage News Scrumodoro: Methods For Personal Effectiveness Within Scrum

Scrumodoro: Methods For Personal Effectiveness Within Scrum

Leia em Português

This item in japanese

A recent and continuing series of posts by Magnus Nord at Devoted Developer shows further hybridization and experimentation of agile techniques. Magnus details his use of Pomodoro, a personal productivity technique in which work is completed in 25 minute iterations, called pomodoros. Each post in the series is devoted to Magnus' exploration of one of the Pomodoro Technique's objectives used in conjunction with Scrum. While the series is not complete, we outline some of the key take-aways from the first five posts below.

Find Out How Much Effort an Activity Requires

In this first post, Magnus shows how the Pomodoro Technique used within scrum gives structure and discipline to his own activities.  Each pomodoro is equal in length, just like a sprint.  He knows where his time goes, and how much of it he uses on any one activity, which in turn allows him to more acurately contribute to estimating sessions with the team as well as daily standups. He shows how this naturally fits within the scrum framework and helps to make his own personal productivity stronger. 

Cut Down On Interuptions
Internal and external interruptions can be the bane of concetration, and Magnu's second post shows how Pomodoro helps him reduce internal interuptions, those caused by himself and his own thoughts, and external interuptions, those caused by others. A simple Pomodoro technique is employed to reduce the external interuptions: Inform, Negotiage, and Call.  Using this minimizes the impact of external interuptions by:
1. Tell the person causing the interruption you’re busy at the moment.
2. Agree on a time when you can get back to them (next five minute break, or the next long break).
3. Make sure you get back to them on the time agreed.
In effect Magnus becomes his own scrum master removing blockers to his own personal progress.
Estimate The Effort For Activiies
Magnu's third post shows how using Pomodoros gives him a more accurate idea of how much time things take by continuously monitoring and tracking where his time goes.  A suggestion is even made that estimating in pomodoros might be a good replacement for story points, ideal hours, or ideal days. 
Make the Pomodoro More Effective
Refactoring is considered a good practice within development circles, and Magnus uses his fourth post to show how Pomodoro provides a structured way for him to apply his refactoring.  During the last few minutes of each Pomodoro he dedicates time to cleaning up his code. Every third or fourth Pomodoro he dedicates the entire session to refactoring.  
Setup a Timetable
This post shows the similarities between sprints and pomodoros.  It discusses the importance of focusing on what was completed, respecting the timetable by not overcommitting within any pomodoro, and personally reflecting on what went right/wrong after each pomodoro.  It is shown how pomodoro reinforces the values and acitivities of scrum at an individual work level.
Team Contribution or Individual Performance
There's often a debate within software development communities on whether individual performance or total team performance is more important when building software.  Surely both matter, but Magnus's use of pomodoro within scrum show a blended pragmatic approach to providing effective individual performance within an agile team.  Further, his willingness to experiment and blend individual performance techniques with Scrum show the general trend of experimentaiton and evolution that is occuring within the agile community.  Opening it up to our readers, and the community; what techniques have you seen blended with an agile approach like scrum that work well?

Rate this Article