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Adding structure, artifacts and gateways to task patterns

Task patterns can be very simple (just one task with no extras) or a quite complex template controlled by several parameters and providing the implementer of the task with template documents, quality checklists (gateways), variable estimates and a family of subtasks. It's important to note that often simplest is best! Or at least (following Einstein) "as simple as possible but no simpler". We already discussed this issue in the blog with regards patterns for FDD (see Comparing big patterns and small ones). In Scrum, we've shown that different patterns can be used in addition to or instead of the Backlog Item pattern (see previous posting). Now let's look at what additional features might be useful to add to our Enhancement and Defect patterns.

Depending on the size of Scrum team you may have specialist roles that go beyond those of
  • Product Owner
  • ScrumMaster
  • Team Member
For example the specialist role of Tester is useful on nearly all but very small projects. Developers must also write tests and test their code but Testers are generally more focused on end-to-end tests, user acceptance tests and full system tests. They may also have a role to play in accepting enhancements and defect-fixes. So for example we could identify subtasks in the Enhancement pattern with these different roles.

The alternative to multiple tasks, each requiring a single person with a single role, is to specify one task with multiple people, possibly with multiple roles. This would mean that each of these people would book time to the same task. Although this results in fewer tasks ,it's not necessarily simpler since the completion of the task is less well defined - basically the last one to finish closes the task. Experiment with what works best in your team - and let us know the outcome. We find such feedback invaluable.

In subsequent posts we'll look at:
These are all ways to enhance the task patterns and make them easier for managers and team members to use and be productive.
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