085: (Part 2) The Art & Science Of Doing Twice As Much In Half The Time Using Scrum For Ecommerce
Posted by August 5, 2015on
The Scrum Methodology was originally designed for technical projects, but now it’s being applied to business and it’s been a smashing success for many.
Our own experience has been extremely positive. Our team is on the same page, we’re doing the right things at the right time, and we’re knocking out project after project weekly.
Tim Francis is the guest on the first two episodes in this series. He is a scrum “master” so to speak and he taught us the ins and outs of the process. In this series he’s going to outline what scrum looks like and how you can use it in your business.
This episode is part two in a 3-part series about applying the scrum methodology to innovate with disciplined execution while getting twice as much done in half the time.
Part one is an overview of the methodology, part two covers how to execute the methodology, and part three is a review of how we implemented scrum into our business and how you can apply it to yours.
Key Takeaways from the Show
- How scrum can help anyone do twice as much in half the time
- Why and how the scrum framework applies to ecommerce
- A complete breakdown of the 5 essential components of successful scrum implementation
- The most inefficient way to get projects done
Links / Resources
- “Get Twice As Much Done In Half The Time with Scrum” Process Map & Resource Links
- Profit Factory
- Tim Francis Twitter
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Tim: This is Tim Francis with ProfitFactory.com and you are listening to the Ecommerce Influence podcast.
Chad: Hey everybody welcome back to the Ecommerce Influence podcast for part two of this three-part series on the scrum methodology. Now, if you haven’t listened to part one, please go back and do that now before listening to part two. It’s very important that you do so you can get an idea for what this series is going to cover. But if you need to whet your appetite for what scrum is I will give you a quick background and go back to part one. Really, what it is a methodology that helps you get twice as much done in half the time. It’s a methodology that we have been using for the last couple of months now and it has helped us close in in our quarterly goals at a much faster clip, more efficient clip than ever before. Really, it’s combining rapid innovation with disciplined execution. So if you are a big fan of the four-hour work week, if you’re a big fan of productivity. It’s like combining the 80-20 rule, Parkinson’s Law and then you know extreme accountability on one. It’s pretty incredible. Our guest for the two of the three episodes is Tim Francis of the Profit Factory who is a certified scrum owner which basically means he has mastered the system and he is more than qualified to train on it. So he is the one who is talking with us in two of the three episodes. We’re talking about this mainly because Tim helped us implement the methodology and we found so much success with it. I have even implemented it into my personal life which is kind of strange I know but it really works and we just wanted to share it with you because we think it will help you go a lot further in your ecommerce business.
So today, the second part is really going to be a discussion on the execution of scrum. The first part was an overview with a brief understanding of the elements within the methodology. Part two is going to talk about the finer points and the execution of how to use scrum. So I have already gone on long enough so the one thing I want to do here is remind you that we are offering a guide for this series. Really, it’s a process map and we just titled it Get As Much Done in Half the Time with Scrum. It’s going to outline what the process looks like, we’ll also include some links to excel spreadsheets to help you move this thing along. It’s going to help you really get scrum started. It’s as simple as I can say here. But you can get it in two different ways.
The first is by texting the word influencer, to the phone number 33444. I’m going to give you the second to get the phone out if you need that second. I’ll give you one more. Okay cool, so you’re going to text the word influencer, spelled I-N-F-L-U-E-N-C-E-R to the phone number 33444. Again influencer to the number 33444. Do that, and we’ll send you an email to the links to download the documents. You can also get those docs at ecommernceinfluence.com/scrum1. That’s the word scrum, S-C-R-U-M and the number 1. So ecommerceinfluence.com/scrum1. No spaces. I have already given a background on Tim in the first episode. If you’re still listening and haven’t listened to the first episode in this series, go back and do that now. And you’ll have an understanding of who Tim is. But let’s kick it off.
Chad: Hey everybody. Welcome back to part two. We have got Tim Francis on the line for part two. Tim welcome back.
Tim: Good day my friend.
Chad: Yes, and we’re here to talk about more of the finer details of scrum. In part one, we gave an overview of scrum, what it was and some of the elements of that but now we are going to take it down and dig a little bit deeper into each step. So for Tim, the first question I have for you is, after that overview and somebody is ready to implement scrum, what is the first thing that we need to do with our team to kick off a project in the scrum methodology?
Tim: So leaving on from part one, the homework that we assigned was to get everything that you have in your mind, projects you want to complete and be systems that you want to create, new marketing material you want to build, new products you want to launch, partnerships you want to pursue, marketing channels that are exciting to you, social media campaigns—anything, anything, anything in your mind that you said I want to go do that at some time, get it down onto paper and so if someone hasn’t listened to the first episode and they haven’t done that bit of homework that’s the place to start is to basically unload everything in your brain out on to a piece of paper and unto a bunch of sticky notes or perhaps into a spreadsheet in Google Drive, whatever, I don’t care your method just get it out of your brain and down on to some tangible form so now you can move it around.
Austin: Spend more time too. That’s one thing that I think looking back the first time, I wished I had dedicated like five, six hours. There is a lot of stuff going on, a lot of projects in your mind. You need to dedicate some serious time to get them all out. Just dedicate just five, six maybe more. I don’t know how long you took with other people but for me, I needed to like almost a full day.
Tim: Yeah. So I am also worldwide certified in Kolbe and knowing that different people work in different ways, and I think it’s like just whatever gets the person started and whatever gets the person feel really good so you know for you guys maybe it was a super power session one day to get it done and that is perfectly fine. My blessing goes to you. Hit it hard. Lock the doors, turn off the phones and let the–
Austin: That’s’ stuff like me.
Chad: That’s’ definitely not me.
Tim: Okay, okay. So off the top, I’m guessing that one of you is more high fact finder and low quick start and there is high quick start and so it’s just like I can see the matrix in that way. If a person does need to just have like the single light coming down from the ceiling and like the war room and just throw it all down, uninterrupted the great go for it, work with your natural instincts and if you’re somebody else, who is like well no, no, I am okay just getting a few things down and just getting started that’s fine too. I think it’s like just whatever works best for you, give yourself the space and permission to do that and know that along the way, you have permission to add more to your back log. The back log is the document or the spot on the wall or the whiteboard where you’re putting everything up. You’re 100% to add to it on the fly.
Chad: So the back log that you’re talking about really is the list of projects that you just dump. That’s what you’re calling the back log?
Tim: Yeah and you know projects, tasks, ideas, just like whatever is in your brain just get it down.
Austin: So we got that. We got the back log, it’s all up there, whether it’s small or big, where do we go next?
get twice as much done in half the time with scrum
Tim: The next step is again we don’t want to build a ladder only to find that it’s leaning on the wrong wall. We want to build the first couple of rungs of the ladder, lean it on the wall and see if we are on track or not. So really it’s about deciding what are the first two rungs we are going to build. If we start 20 projects and we don’t complete any of them, we’re going to have 20 half-finished ladders laying around on the floor and we can’t climb any of them. So if you have ever opened up 50 windows on your computer, what does that do to your computer?
It totally slows it down and like nothing gets done. So it’s about prioritizing. That’s the next step is to look at your backlog and say okay everything on here, what are the top three projects that are most important to me and separate those out. Put them at the top of the list or grab those three stickies and out them on a special spot on the whiteboard, whatever it is and at that point, you need to think, in the next two weeks and you can do one week and you can do four weeks, like it’s all acceptable as a starting point, I’d say try two weeks. That’s usually seem to be the best starting point for people I work with. It’s what I do most of the time as well, is two weeks. Just ask yourself within this three projects what feature of these projects or maybe of one of the projects do we need to be able to ship and demonstrate and have complete at the end of this sprint, at the end of the two weeks. At that point, now it’s a good idea to start unpacking that task or that project.
It can be tempting to say okay we need a new website and that might feel like it’s one project and then we might also say okay we need a Facebook ad campaign. And then we might also say we need a Google ad campaign to drive traffic to this new website when in fact, those are not three projects. Those are actually three like monster super big projects with a lot of smaller items underneath it and if we think about well I can only do one of the three projects, we might be making a critical mistake. There is something that I call parallel processing so waterfall which is not how we want to do project managing, it is what you are taught as a kid and it is not the fastest best way usually to build things. When we have got a new and growing business is to say well we have to do things sequentially one after the other. I want to know how can we do things on parallel. So instead of saying we are going to do all the copy for eh website first and then all the design second, and then all the programming third.
I want to look at that situation and say okay, I want my programmer to be doing all the behind the scenes work with the host and FTP and setting all that up and selling WordPress if that’s the case. Getting the email addresses set up. I want them to be working at that in parallel to my copywriter, doing the interviews with my customers, going on to Amazon and grabbing all of the reviews and buying languages that’s out there and doing all that while the graphic designer is simultaneously working on the wireframe or the Adobe Photoshop file that’s the design of the website. So that at the end of the two weeks, they can all show shippable product then say to the stakeholder which is going to be us the business owner or maybe two investors or maybe to a client to say this is what the design looks like, are we on track or off track.
What do you like about it, give us feedback. The copywriter can talk with the sales pitch, and say is this on track or off track and then from there, the coding and tech person can show what they have done and say are these all the email addresses that you wanted on this domain name. Is the file structure behind the scenes and FTP set up the way that you like? Now, we have parallel processing happening at the same time. And so instead of us doing it sequentially, unpacking instead of saying we have a website to build, which is one project, by unpacking it, we realize we can actually do things in parallel rather than sequentially. Now that sounds really geeky and technical, but does that make sense?
Austin: Yeah it does make sense. That something that you taught us is when we do that specifically is during our sprint planning meeting which is we block out three hours on a Monday and we knock all these things out. So we decide what we want and what we are going to focus and then like you said we unpack, so we take bigger projects and break them down in smaller chunks and assign them out so that they can be done kind of a the same, time and parallels like you talk about. So it does make a lot of sense and that for us is when we use this sprint planning meeting. Is that typically when you are organizing people, is the sprint planning meeting something that is the next sequential step. Is that the place where they are going to be typically doping that breakdown?
Tim: This is where there is I don’t know maybe calling it a fork in the road. Because if it’s a bigger company where you have say three, four, five, team embers that are specialists, in coding, in copy and in design you actually want to do all that unpacking before your sprint planning meeting. You want to do it in what’s called backlog grooming. It’s where you are looking at the whole backlog and you’re shifting and sorting to figure out the top priority projects, the top priority projects then you are unpacking them to say what are the different deliverables in these different areas so that by the time you hit the sprint planning meeting you can just say we need this in copy, this in design. Dear copywriter, can we hit that? Sear designer, can we hit that? And then they can give you feedback and in the sprint planning meeting you can sort it out. If you don’t do the backlog grooming ahead of time, you’re going to end up doing the backlog grooming in front of everybody else, while they sit and do nothing while you sit there and say actually if we will do it this way, this will be better or actually that is not a priority, let us move this around and if you are paying these people hourly or you know you’re just going to be wasting your money. If you’re paying them not hourly but by deliverable, they going to get pissed off that they have wasted all these time, sitting watching you do your work while they do nothing.
Chad: I think at the beginning of the show, you asked us where we have had trouble and we weren’t sure where we had trouble and I think this is actually something that is now to me flagged for us individually because we do not do backlog grooming ahead of the sprint planning meeting when I think that could have been valuable. Would you agree, Austin?
Austin: I think so. I think that’s definitely something that making spending the time ahead of time to get it all the priorities outlined, and then just assigning them is going to clean that whole process. And even like discussing each one. Chad:
Chad: It’s amazing that I can sit there in my head and like oh I should have probably done this ahead of time so that when we get to this meeting, I can say here is my unpacked project, does this make sense to everybody versus us going through and trying to figure out together.
Austin: Unpack them together, it doesn’t make sense.
Chad: Totally man, it’s amazing. I’m so glad we figured that out now.
Tim: So why you say it’s a fork in the road, is because like one of the criticisms of scrum is there are too many meetings and you spent too much time doing work to manage work, rather than actually just doing the work itself. So over managing is something that you just seem to be careful of and if you’re a small team, maybe for your solopreneur or it’s you as an assistant or you in a couple of partners and you are just all kind of bootstrapping together then, backlog grooming and sprint planning are one and the same. You don’t want to be doing as there are two separate meetings. You would be just doing the same thing twice thing in a row. The decision making guideline that I give people to figure out if they need to do backlog grooming separate and in advance is to say like are you delegating a bunch of work to other people. In the engine room of your company, if you are delegating to others to specialists in SEO or graph design and whatever and those people are not you then yes you do need to sort that out ahead of time so that you can be giving clear, crisp, concise directions to those that are hiring to go and do work for you. If you yourself are in the engine room though and you are the one that are the specialist then the process of doing backlog grooming and sprint planning is one and the same.
Austin: I agree. In the mix, in the middle of that.
Chad: Yes I agree.
Tim: So let’s talk about sprint planning then. So sprint planning is the start of any two-week sprint, I mean technically the work that goes into the two-week sprint, happens before the sprint starts. We talked about creating your backlog. We talked about especially backlog grooming and then where you bring another team member is in sprint planning. In sprint planning, there is a bit of a negotiation that goes on. Not an adversarial negotiation but kind of like a co-created of discussion you are of you saying to the designer okay in two weeks we are looking for these three or four deliverables. The highest priority is X, second is Y and then third is Z. What do you think you can do for us, do you think you can get that done?
This is their chance to say you are insane, there is no way or yes and I am going to need a budget from you. I am going to need log in information. I am going to need permission or something, something. I need an introduction to so and so. So they can tell you what resources they need. The goal by the end of sprint planning is for each team member to have three things super clear. Now, this is not anywhere and anywhere else about the scrum literature. This is something that I just developed again from doing this myself is we need to make sure each team member has vision, resources and the definition of done. So the vision would be to say we want this new website up and the resources would be here is login information, here is the number of hours we are going to authorize you to work on it, etcetera, etcetera. Definition of done would be to say at the end of the two weeks, it needs to be shippable products.
We need to be able to purchase these 10 different products on the website. We need to see these credibility indicators appearing. We need to see a 1-800 number at the top right corner and these four supporting pages. Maybe about us, contact us type pages up. We don’t need the blog, we don’t need products number 11 through 500. We just need the first 10 products so that we can see what it’s like to work with it. And so you just tell them, the definition of done, this is my acceptance criteria for what I will sign off on if you can hit it. The clear that you can be in that, the easier it is, for your team to hit it. The next natural question is what if you have a brand new business and I don’t know what it is. I don’t know that I want a 1-800 number. I don’t know how many products I want up… so then we use a different tool called user’s stories.
You say well, I don’t know what we are going to build in the next two weeks but what we do know is as a visitor to the website I need to be able to within three clicks, contact customer support. As a visitor of the website, within three clicks, I need to be able to buy a product. It doesn’t matter what product but just a product. As the website owner, I need to be able to log into Google analytics and see how much traffic I am getting. As a director of marketing, I need to be able to log in to visual website optimizers or lead pages or something and to see the conversion rate of what is going on. So those are examples of user stories. As an X I need the Ys so that I can Z. Sometimes you may offer up in your sprint planning a mix of user’s stories and features. Because some things you might be crystal clear and at another thing, you might just be figuring it out in the fly. In your sprint planning meeting, maybe because you are doing so much of the work, it’s a mix of you being in the sprint planning meeting and you are also delegating certain things to maybe your first contractor or something like that. So that’s a sprint planning meeting. So the definition of done in the sprint planning meeting is that everybody who is talent on the team has vision, resources, definition of done for what they need to be able to create shippable product at the end of the sprint which is two weeks.
Austin: My question is how long should somebody really set aside for a sprint planning meeting? From your experience, how much time that they typically need for that meeting?
get twice as much done in half the time with scrum
Tim: On my own team we have had like five people on the sprint team. You think it should only be like 30-minute meeting or something where you should be like, there is that bang-bang-bang-, done-done-done. Almost without exception, without exception, we couldn’t get it done in less than 60 to 90 minutes and usually 90 minutes. It’s like this crazy thing where once you get into it, you start realizing we need log-in information for that. Like I guess I’ll just say the devil can be n the details. In going back and forth with your team, they start sassing out and pulling apart what actually needs to happen and we realize it we need to conquer assumptions. Assumptions are the number one killer of your team effectively getting done work for you because when you saw draw me a sports car and somebody draws a Subaru WRX and the next person draws you an indie car and the next person draws you a stock car, they have all done the job right.
They have given you a sports car but you didn’t give them clear enough definition of done and that in the 80-20 of things is the number one thing that you will run into again and again and again is an unclear definition of done. So the better you as the leader, get a definition of done, the better your teammates can get at fulfilling it.
Austin: Make sense. Very good advice. I’ll like to move on to the next you have taught us about which is the daily scrum. Can you describe what that is, and how you typically run that for your team or how you coach others to run that?
Tim: So in the big world, of major business, they’ll do a daily stand up so a daily stand up simply says every day, everybody in the scrum team is going to answer three questions. The first question is what have you done since our last meeting to get us closer to the sprint goal. So that’s what everyone to get done in the two weeks. So everybody just like the first person will answer that question and this is not a discussion time, it’s reporting. You are just saying this is what I got done. Then the same person will then answer the second question which is what will I get done between now and the next meeting to get us closer to the sprint goal. And again, no discussion, no questioning from other team members it’s just reporting.
The third thing that the first person will say is these are the bottlenecks and roadblocks that I have run into. And by again, not discussion. People don’t swarm in and start solving the problem or solving the bottleneck it’s just reporting and then from there, if people want to shot and talk about it after the standup they can in one on one or two on one conversations. But it’s really important that this stays only reporting and it’s just those three questions. The first person answers all three, the next person answers all three and you just go around the horn so that everybody answers it. Your daily stand up should not be absolutely not be more than 15 minutes. When I am in smaller teams when it’s only two or three people, we can get the stand up done in like six to eight minutes and when the meeting is super short and to the point and everybody is razor focused and everybody came prepared with those answers to those three questions all of a sudden it doesn’t seem like a big hassle. Now, it’s kind of like, well every morning at 9am we’re going to have this stand up and we are going to go bang-bang-bang around the horn and then after that, everybody can go on their merry way. So that is really important that that sits tight.
Austin: I think that right there—you talked about earlier about the scrum, the scrum just get started, just doing that even if there is nothing else has been a huge change for us. It’s really been helpful for us as we have grown. I think it’s a really good advice for really any business owner. I’d like to move on a little bit more out of the daily scrum to as we have progressed right through the week, to the two weeks, I want to get into what it looks like as we near towards the end, and go through the next thing you kind of talk to us about what’s a sprint review meeting. Can you kind of describe what that is? And what do you want to accomplish in a sprint review meeting?
Tim: Yeah, so all of this comes down to like accountability. The sprint review meeting as well as the stand ups. Ina smaller business, your stand ups you might want to do them every other day instead of every single day so that’s one tip for a smaller team and as you get closer to the end of the sprint, a couple of things need to happen. If you’re in a bigger team then, as the leader, you need to do, guess what, back log grooming all over again to prepare yourself for the upcoming two weeks. So if we were to look at it at 10 working days that make up a two-week period, a two-week sprint, we would have sprint planning on day one, we would have in a smaller team, stand ups would be on days three and five so Wednesday, Friday, Monday Wednesday of the following week. So days three, five I guess so that seven, nine—I’m off. Or five, seven. And then after that, on day 10, which in big companies there are two meeting which is yo9ur demo and the second is the retro. In smaller company, we’re going to wrap those all into one meeting. In the demo, simply it’s show and tell. It’s a show and tell time where you can show stakeholders, your product owner and anybody else in the team what you have accomplished. So if you have investors, this is an invaluable process because you can show them your progress. Investors want to know, maybe not always but usually want to know how is it going on the team, what is your progress like, has my investment been wise one, and by keeping them in the loop, it’s usually a pretty smart management strategy to manage your investors. You’ve got clients, same thing. They spent money with you so you can show them here is the shippable product we’ve completed within two weeks. In addition to that sense of accountability to them, they can also give you feedback, and if it’s a client, they can say well, I don’t like this, can you try something else and now you are correcting instead of being six months down the road and building something that they didn’t want. Furthermore, if it’s an investor who is also like an adviser, or even if it’s not a mentor, they can also give you advice and say well, did you consider setting up your Google campaign this way or having 1-800 number above the fold. You can benefit from their wisdom. So great opportunity for that. Even if you don’t have advisers and mentors, it just creates that stake in the sand where everybody has to show up with something to show at show and tell. Sometimes just showing each other is powerful to either be a good of a kick in the ass, but not only that, it’s also to celebrate and high-five and be like great job in the landing page or in the campaign, it looks super good. That takes usually about 30 to 60minutes and then after that which in big companies might be a separate meeting, for us in smaller companies we kind of make it all one meeting, is to then have a retro, a retrospective. It’s looking back on the last two weeks and saying what did we learn about our process. So a perfect example, I had a similar experience what Tim Ferriss said in the Four-Hour Work Week where I said to my team what bottlenecks and road blocks are slowing you down. They said to me, well Tim, we find that we have to e-mail you all the time to ask for approval on buying stock images for different ads that we’re creating like different banner ads and different web properties. If we can just get a budget from you of like $200, per sprint, we can just go buy what we need and have to slow down, e-mail you, wait a day for a response. So that’s a perfect example of something that we would pull up, that we would identify in a retrospective. What is slowing you down? What is hampering the process? Another might be like I don’t have access to all the different websites that I need like WordPress and FTP and whatever so okay why don’t we try a tool like Last Pass where we can have all our log in in one spot. Team communication over emails are too slow. Maybe we can use a tool like Convo. We tried Slack before, we are not a big fan of it, let’s try something like Convo. That’s where you look inside and you say, what systems do you think we need to make checklists, what tools need to be improved, what approvals are getting in the way and we actually find that our retrospectives are oftentimes longer than the demo. Our retros are oftentimes, like an additional anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes and when you think about the medium and long-term of the business, how amazing is it where you can sort out all this like process bugs early and often so that from that point on it’s taken care of and now everybody can just focus on design or copy or coding instead of waiting around for approvals, log ins and whatnot. So that’s what the retro is all about.
Austin: I find that it’s helpful to bring them all where you got all the heads in the room. You can cut through instead of one person is saying this and going to as a business owner, it goes to typically to me or to Chad and then we got to think about it. It’s better when everyone is there together. You can get feedback from the whole team on changing processes. So just to review, so sprint review, you said show and tell, sprint retrospective, what we learned about the process of the sprint and of the business.
Tim: Yeah and we call it a demo and a retro. Sprint demonstrations, sprint retrospective.
Austin: Okay make sense. So we have gone through now your process then your back in your do back log grooming and you go right back to the sprint planning meeting. You go for the next two weeks. Is that correct?
Tim: Yeah exactly. Again my same comments from before about when to do the back log grooming. If it’s a bigger business, you’ll want it to be done ahead of time. If it’s a smaller business, then you can just do it at the same time as sprint planning on the following Monday or whenever it is you are going to start the next sprint. And yes, it’s just kind of rinse, wash and repeat at that point.
Austin: Sure sounds good. So I want to talk a little bit about to give me kind of an idea, so when you first chatted us about this and kind of taught us how to do this we started with a process where we were using I guess it was Trello, combined with an Excel Sheet.
Austin: It wasn’t very good. The first time was very rough. I think that from somebody listening who is interested in this. They have come from part one to part two and they are listening and they are thinking to themselves this actually sound pretty interesting. I’d love to chat about things they can do to get started and make it easy on the actual process side of administering. For us, initially just switching over to a Google sheet and listing everything out with the name of the person assigned to it, the description and then priorities. I think that one thing that was really helpful that you described to us last time is how to prioritize tasks and it was in a Fibonacci sequence. Could you describe how you actually get people to prioritize tasks?
Chad: And also unpacking the task.
Austin: And unpacking the task. That is something that has been helpful to us and was also very difficult at first for us to understand how to prioritize and then unpack. So if you can kind of speak on that that would be helpful for somebody new.
Tim: So let me just say as an umbrella like a guiding statement is like all of these is meant to help you accelerate and if any part of this does not work for you because whatever reason, do something different. This is not about a rigid process and what works for me maybe will or won’t work for you. I just think like just get started, see how it goes, and from there understand this can all be flexible. It’s all in the table, keep the parts you want, discard the parts you don’t and just always the tool is meant to suit you. You’re not meant to necessarily suit the tool. Just so that is on the table. The fastest, most flexible way that I find people getting started and like when I run workshops on scrum getting started inside of a small business, we just used like posted notes. Like for goodness sakes, it’s the most low tech, slow tech, no teach answer is posted notes on a wall. Because people can just dump ideas rather than be like how do I use Trello. Instead of getting hang up in the tool, they can just flow and go. Then after that if they want to get more sophisticated with other tools, they can. To this day, the way that I run scrum inside my own business is I have a room in my house that is my war room, and I literally have like green painters tape ceiling to floor and then post it notes on there and like that’s how I run scrum. A lot of the biggest companies actually just use physical scrum boards with like post it notes or stickies. It seems so low tech but so far it seems to be the most flexible. So to answer your question of getting started in flexibility that’s what I have done.
Austin: Could you describe what a scrum board looks like for some people who is not familiar with it?
Tim: So again this will be inside my book, ScrumforBusiness.com you can see a picture. Basically it’s like very simple. Just imagine three columns. The first column is to-do, the second column is doing and the third column is done. It’s what called a Kanban board. If you want to make it more complicated with to do, doing, blocked, done—if you have got anything that is being blocked by something you can. Again, build it bigger, smaller, whatever you want. A great starting place that is simple, is to do, doing done. From there, you can have swim lanes that run left to right and in the swim lines you can have different projects so maybe the website is one swim lane then maybe the Google ad campaign is next, the Facebook is next swim lane under that. From there, I’ll use like recipe index cards, like the white recipe cards just to have information about the project that will always sit in the left column, in the to do column with maybe some definition of done and some of the notes scribbled on it. Then to unpack as you were asking, I think Chad you asked that question, is to look at that project and say okay what are the component tasks of this project and those tasks go into post it notes so then we can move the stickies across the board. We can have team members check it out and say this CV is doing for Chad Vanags and AB, Austin Brawner is doing this and we know who owns what along the way and then we can move the post it notes across the board. The natural question goes hey Tim you got a virtual company, you don’t have the benefit of everybody being in your room, in your war room and seeing what’s going on. And you know what, I have yet to find a piece of software that works as well like. It’s not perfect to have it in a physical location but I have yet to find a piece of software that does a better job than just post it notes in the wall. I know big companies, like we’re talking teams in 25 people in Atlanta and another 50 people in Austin and they are not on the same place and they literally just like have a Skype call on a laptop looking on the sprint board 24 hours a day and it’s just a constant feed. That’s how they manage of not being in the same location. At the end of the day, it’s still a physical sprint board. So that’s something that I would think about, it makes it super easy to unpack, it makes it supper easy for everybody to use it and to see what is going on.
get twice as much done in half the time with scrum
Austin: That’s’ good. We have started using Wrike. We implemented it with Wrike. Wrike has been helpful for us. We are using Basecamp and switch over to Wrike has been helpful to do that in a combination of a Google drive that has everything outlined so we are kind of mostly looking to Google Drive but then assigning individual tasks through Wrike. That seems to work very well for us but it still again a working progress.
Tim: For the recurring tasks in my business, that happened every single week or every single month like a podcast episode, we managed that through teamwork PM. Teamwork PM blows away Basecamp. I really dislike basecamp, I think it’s a piece of well you know, it is not my preferred tool. But Teamwork PM is phenomenal for being able to manage recurring tasks that happen same with each time and so we use that and that is a great way to complement our scrum board. Scrum is usually building new things as business owners were regularly building new things and we have specialist that participate in that. From there, I used Teamwork PM for all the recurring tasks. I have team members that are on both boards and some are the only on one and not the other and that’s fine.
Austin: Awesome. That was a very good overview. We have given people a lot to chew in here. Obviously there are books. You are writing your book on it right now. When is your estimate? Because we’ll know when this is going to go out on the book. When will that launch? So at the time of this recording, it’s July 2015 and by the end of the year I should be out and I am hoping sooner but I think by the end of the year the book should be ready and before the end of the year I am going to be sharing some more resources to Profitfactory.com, my website. So if a person opts in at scrumforbusiness.om they’ll receive emails along the way with videos and tools that will help them out with scrum even if the book isn’t ready.
Austin: Sounds good. Well based off some stuff we have talked about in part two here, we dialed it down in part one to just getting that back log board going. What about after this one? What do you think? If you move on to part one and part two what’s the one thing they should start to do today to just execute the scrum process?
Tim: It’s all about at this point, picking what is your shippable product in the next two weeks and then from there like unpacking that so that they’ll know what tasks need to be done, even if you’re a solopreneur, just saying what is the bite-size chunk that I can get done in two weeks. Then from there, having somebody to be accountable to. Even if it’s not somebody in your business. Even if it’s like who another entrepreneur, you’re buddies because you met at a marketing conference. If all you do at this point, so if part one, you got your back log populated, all your tasks are in the backlog and part two if all you do at this point is establish that shippable product within two weeks, unpack tasks and you have accountabilities then you can have a standup and do it. Go have a stand up every other day or maybe everyday if you’ll want with somebody else, like you will be blown away with what changes and how you are crossing things off the list and crossing the finish lines on certain items at the end of two weeks. There is a student of mine, he is an entrepreneur, he came to one of my live events up here in Canada, and then he came to the same event again three months later and he told me that doing just what I have told you. He is a solopreneur, having a back log, having two week chunks and having accountability to somebody else that ideas that used to be stuck in his brain for the last five years that he just never got around to doing, or actually getting done and he had the shippable product at the end of 90 days to show me that after I guess two weeks sprints and one one-week sprint for the 13 weeks he is like Tim, this has been a 50,000 to 100,000 locked in my brain and it is now down only because I followed scrum so thank you. He like he gave me a big high five.
Chad: I’m going to finish up here with a quick very small tidbit that proves your point, I’ve had a long time with tis podcast to make sure it gets up and running and one of the biggest things I have been wanting to do basically SOP or basically this is standard operating procedure so that I could outsource a little bit more of it. It has been sometimes dogbane of my existence because of the things I have to do outside of just that. What I have realized is the biggest problem I am having is I got this thing I know I need to o but it seems bigger. I chunk it down so small thanks to this scrum process that is now moving along to the point where I see myself being free from it, in the sense of somebody else should be doing some of these tasks. Like as simple as going from my deliverable product really is just an SOP for the podcast, well I had the task down just last week for just outline step one of the entire podcasting process and when I outline step one, that took me maybe 45 minutes, the amount of momentum I gained from just that was incredible. I rolled right into the step two. Outline this part of the process, outline that part of the process and I did that each day to the point now where it is like something that I have been holding on to probably for six months has already starting to be let go thanks to what we have learned.
Austin: Key word is momentum. I feel like the momentum is absolutely key with you had just mentioned. Because you chunk it down, so at least from our experience, chunking it down to smaller pieces and then knocking them out, you go one, two, three smaller pieces and you feel like it’s attainable to reach a bigger I guess to fulfill a larger project and then by the end of the two weeks, you get to like Wednesday really before the end of the show and tell, you get excited. You want to show off what you’re doing so you knock the rest of them out and that momentum just keeps you pushing through the week and it feels great.
Chad: It’s amazing.
Tim: It’s fun. You got a sense of momentum. You get things done. Like what’s better than that than being like look at this amazing thing I built. That’s magic right there.
Austin: That’s true. Tim, well thanks so much man, it’s really good to go back through this and relearn the process and have you explain it again to something that has been really helpful for us. So thanks so much.
Chad: Really appreciate it Tim.
Tim: It had been my honor gentlemen. It’s been so exciting to watch you guys grow since we chatted last time about this and I am excited to see you guys just keep growing because you ae already doing great things and the trajectory just keeps getting higher and higher.
Austin: Thanks man.
Chad: Thanks a lot buddy. Talk to you soon.
Chad: Thanks again for joining us for part two of this three-part series. Next week we’ll have part three coming out and it’s going to be a pretty good one. It’s going to help really outline what we have done with scrum so you can get an idea on how to apply it to your ecommerce business. As a reminder for this series, we are giving away a process map for scrum. We just call it Get Twice as Much Done in Half the Time with Scrum. Simple process map that will help you get started. We’ll also include some excel spreadsheet links that will enable you to do this starting on the right foot. You can get the guide in two different ways. The first is by texting the word influencer to the phone number 33444. Again that’s’ the word influencer, to the number 33444. I’ll give you a second to get your phone out of your pocket so I can do it one more time. It’s out? Cool. Text the word influencer, spelled I-N-F-L-U-E-N-C-E-R to the phone number 33444. Do that and we will send an email with links to download the documents right to your phone. You can also get those docs at ecommerceinfluence.com/scrum2. Again that’s ecommerceinfluence.com/scrum2. That’s’ the word scrum, S-C-R-U-M, the number 2, no spaces. Ecommerceinfluence.com/scrum2. Also, as a reminder, make sure you subscribe. If you haven’t done it yet, please do so. We love to have subscribers and we’d also love reviews. Whether it’s positive or negative, it doesn’t matter to us, we just want to know if we are doing well, not doing well and how we can improve. So please leave a review. We really do appreciate that and we will see you on the next episode which is part three of this three-part series.
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