[From Wrike's Product Team] How do you use agile methodology? ๐Ÿ”„

Hi Community!
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My name is Nicole, and I'm a Product Manager here at Wrike. You might remember me from my previous posts on Wrike Analyze and Wrike Reports. ๐Ÿ“Š
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This year, part of our research effort is ๐Ÿฅ ๐Ÿฅ focused on agile methodology!
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We are curious to find out more about your experience implementing agile methodology. Please share how you keep your team agile in the comments below.
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We'd love to hear more about:
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  • What is in your toolbox? Are you using a customized task template? For example Wrike's Agile Teamwork Use Case Template.
  • How do you plan your sprints? What metrics and data do you track in your sprints?
  • How do you optimize your workflow, and what helps you accomplish your goals?

Bonus question ๐Ÿง™ If you had a magic wand, what would you improve in your work process or a tool you use?
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Thank you for your contributions ๐ŸŒŸ
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16 comentarios
Spot On Innovative Approach Stellar Advice

What is in your toolbox? Are you using a customized task template?

We use agile to manage our marketing team.

  • We've built a common space for managing our sprint tasks
  • Built custom dashboards for holding agencies accountable
  • Reporting for At/Risk Blocked Items
  • Reporting for tracking and managing Story Points
  • Custom fields for sprints, story points, RISE scoring
  • Custom workflows.
  • Channel intake forms.

How do you plan your sprints? What metrics and data do you track in your sprints?

We begin our 2 week sprints by on Friday afternoon, analyze the tickets in our queue, move them to production and assign story points. We negotiate with team members to ensure we don't over work members of the team. We have reporting for calculating the number of story points per team member. We lock out sprint on Monday. The following Monday we run our custom report for At Risk/Blocked tickets and note any actions we need to take to close the ticket by the end of sprint. Friday AM we review any tickets that need to be pushed to the next sprint. We built custom fields for our sprints and story points.ย 

How do you optimize your workflow, and what helps you accomplish your goals?

We run our sprints and other meetings using wrike reports and dashboards and make notes and comments in tickets directly to always ensure they are progressing. We are also launching automation reminders when tickets have not progressed.

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We don't typically follow an agile process for most of our projects, due to some of the complexities in the Healthcare Industry.ย  For example, we wouldn't launch a project without it being completed vetted and approved through various stages of Medical, Legal, Regulatory, or FDA teams.ย  But there are many times that we adopt agile process within a project to prioritize projects into appropriate phases.ย ย 

What is in your toolbox? Are you using a customized task template?ย 
Yep - we use request forms, blueprints and a component based approach that aligns to the necessary scope and requirements of each phase of the project

How do you plan your sprints? What metrics and data do you track in your sprints?

For most of our Digital projects, we plan our sprints outside of Wrike - in alignment with Development Cycles, QC, and Code Repositories, but are looking towards a future where integrate could tie both systems together.

How do you optimize your workflow, and what helps you accomplish your goals?

We are consistently checking in with our Wrike users, with regular governance meetings and stakeholder insights - we figure out what is working, what needs improvement, and what future states might look like!

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Spot On Innovative Approach Stellar Advice

We are not fully agile and are more of a hybrid methodology. We do use customized task templates though, and it's all automated through our forms. This is one way that helps our workflow. We do not typically utilize sprints in the sense that you are asking about.

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Spot On Innovative Approach Stellar Advice

I ditto Abigail. Our vendor uses sprints and we assign projects to those sprints as a small piece of the overall project. We utilize blue prints for our projects ... all through request forms which is a tremendous time savings. The automation rules are also a great way to save time!

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We are just starting our journey on implementing Agile. Following along to learn from other groups.

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What metrics and data do you track in your sprints?

We are looking at 3 week sprints and follow our story point commitment for each sprint. We are just working on our KPIs as we use Wrike Integrate to sync between Wrike and Jira as we are looking to use Wrike Analyze for our reports.

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What is in your toolbox? Are you using a customized task template?

We have created a project template that has all the required steps within our process for each project.ย  We use this template to create the overall project.ย  Once we determine the number of sprints needed to complete the project, we can also use that project template for each sprint.ย  For the actual development work, we have one task per day per team member, which provides high level details of what is needed, plus generic items such as creating and executing test cases and checking in source code.ย 


How do you plan your sprints? What metrics and data do you track in your sprints?

We aim for 1-2 week sprints and look for logical breaks within the feature set to provide a full functionality with each release.ย  We review the workload management and see each team members availability to schedule sprints and projects.


How do you optimize your workflow, and what helps you accomplish your goals?

We have created 2 separate dashboards - a daily standup dashboard and a developer dashboard.ย  Our daily standup dashboard is used for our daily standup meeting to show which each team member has to work on that day and also lists the tasks completed the previous day.ย  It is a good way to celebrate the victories.ย  The Developer Dashboard shows many items: Developers completed tasks for last week and this week, upcoming assigned tasks, overdue assigned tasks, Team completed tasks for last month, current month, and current year.

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Spot On Innovative Approach Stellar Advice

Firstly

I am incredibly happy to you're focusing on Agile this year. It is much needed and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that you're haemorrhaging customers that are moving to Agile and realising that Wrike is - largely - incapable.

Background Info

My company has had a recent drive towards Agile (specifically SCRUM) in all areas other than manufacturing. I was asked to assess my department's ability to conform to Agile methodologies and concluded that the level of asset planning and management and inherent lack of flexibility in the physical work that we do does not warrant our main value-stream being in Agile. However process improvement activities could be performed in line with Agile methodologies.

My company has adopted Jira in general and my department was also pressure to conform to this as Wrike is now seen as an addition expenditure when a centralised decision has already been made to purchase a on-site Jira license with unlimited seats.

If I had concluded that we, as a department, could benefit from a full adoption of Agile (SCRUM) methodologies I would've had to conclude that Wrike is incapable of performing within Agile methodology to the same level as Jira due to it's inherent lack of sprint based metrics (looking at performance during a sprint, slip of work into the next sprint, etc) even within Wrike Analyse and even with 'Wrike Integrate' these would've been difficult to develop. Specifically things that are lacking:

  • Charts and metrics supporting retrospectives and enabling teams to accurately estimate their story point capabilities and whether the story points they allocated to tasks/user-stories were accurate, this will require...
  • Properly segmented sprints, not by putting them in projects called 'sprint 1' 'sprint 2'... I see this is an interim solution and not a project management tool that has truly embraced Agile.
  • Proper Burndown charts where a team can display their capability and performance against it. I'm not going to expand on this because I think the Burndown chart thread does so pretty well but I will sathe current state of burn down charts is not up to scratch compared to other PM tools. https://help.wrike.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360001265865--Status-Launched-Burn-Down-Graph-and-Project-requirements-reportingย 

Having said all of the above, I still love Wrike's flexibility and diversity. I believe it is an incredibly capable tool but it is lacking some key Agile features and therefore should not be advertised as a tool that is currently Agile capable.

I will also say that because doesn't embrace a particular methodology (like Jira and Agile for example) it is more cumbersome to setup and often to use but much more capable and in many ways better for larger companies which may be using multiple methodologies but want everything in one tool.

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What is in your toolbox? Are you using a customized task template? For example Wrike's Agile Teamwork Use Case Template.

Currently don't use Agile in the department but if I were to I imagine I would use projects for Epics and Tasks for stories. I would utilise Wrike incredible folder structure and sharing capabilities to control access, rights and visibility.


How do you plan your sprints? What metrics and data do you track in your sprints?

I would use custom fields to note which sprint of a project a task / subtask was in (not projects as per the recommendation in 'Use-Case-Templates-Agile-Teamwork'. This is so that I could use integrate and the connection we have to tableau to produce burn down charts, measure team capability for use in retrospectives and slippage charts (that would look at custom field history to see if a task has been in more than one sprint).

Because:

A. We don't have Wrike Analyze as a company but I've looked into getting it extensively.

and

B. I don't believe Wrike Analzye to currently be worth it because of it's missing/inadequate Agile Focused metrics


How do you optimize your workflow, and what helps you accomplish your goals?

N/a for us however I would mention that an incredibly diverse Wrike feature is it's Request Form (particularly external request forms) which could allow you to allocate task priority based on a dropdown which is necessary due to different service level agreements with customers. Which would be useful for service / continuous flow / kanban based teams instead of SCRUM / sprint based teams.

Also Wrike's Gantt chart view is great, I find it really helpful however I would definitely like to see an improvement. Specifically how dependencies for tasks not currently visible on the screen don't exist... There should be something that enables you to look at what is a blocker or what is being blocked by a task even though it might be in another project... This is very very important to the delivery of large projects particularly those with physical resource requirements (not software based projects).


Magic Wand
Pffffttt big question... Probably have everyone immediately understand all the back end of why data needs to be a certain way... Less gripping over data entry and less 'N/a's / 'Don't knows'. When a Wrike request for is 'Short Answer' open entry.

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I really hope that you take this feedback well, I want to be able to start using Wrike for the Agile activities we do do in my department, but I won't feel comfortable doing so until some key and basic needs are met.

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Thanks for taking the time to read this and for asking for the community's feedback on Agile, it's greatly appreciated!

Have a good one,

-George Fiveash

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Spot On Innovative Approach Stellar Advice

Not the place for this comment but it bugs me alot...

Once again, please change the community website to automatically approve URLs within the Wrike domains... e.g. all I've linked to in the above post is two community posts... It would save your community team a lot of work methinks and would increase the speed that community members can help each other e.g. by directing each other to other posts or Wrike Help Documentation.

Thanks.

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Spot On Innovative Approach Stellar Advice

Hi everyone, thank you for sharing your agile practices, your input is always appreciated by the team!

George Fiveash, thank you for sharing this, we will look into this ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

Cansu Community Team at Wrike Wrike Product Manager Infรณrmate sobre las funciones y prรกcticas recomendadas de Wrike

Cansu Wrike Team member Infรณrmate sobre las funciones y prรกcticas recomendadas de Wrike

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Spot On Innovative Approach Stellar Advice

We use Scrum for our 20 person Marketing team - answers to questions below:

What is in your toolbox? Are you using a customized task template?ย 
We use Blueprints (for recurring projects and repeatable processes), Request Forms, and a lot of Custom Fields to enable our agile process. We have an Agile Marketing space where the majority of our cross-functional work is done, as well as an Agile Workflow for task statuses. Our Epics are technically 'Projects' and each task is an action that is specific, assigned to one person, and will support accomplishing that Epic. Our Epics are typically quarter long and tie into business initiatives.

How do you plan your sprints? What metrics and data do you track in your sprints?

We recently extended our sprints from 2 weeks to 3 weeks, and we will discuss our priorities as a team on a Monday and then regroup on Tuesday to make sure everything is reflected in Wrike and brought into the new Sprint Project. We have an 'Add to Next Sprint' checkbox custom field that enables me to quickly select all of the tasks for the new sprint and add them to the project. We use effort points and have a dropdown custom field (we use the Fibonacci sequence) which helps us track capacity and how much we accomplish in a sprint, as well as what ends up having to be carried over to the next sprint (not a best practice, but necessary in marketing sometimes). We look at effort points completed vs. effort points planned as a team and at an individual level, which helps team members determine what their ideal capacity is. Effort points aren't perfect, as they can be a bit subjective (we do not currently use a story gauge because we have a lot of individual contributors with very specific roles) but it gives us a lagging indicator of capacity and who may be overcommitting themselves for the sprint.


How do you optimize your workflow, and what helps you accomplish your goals?

We've established a pretty good feedback loop with Sprint Retrospectives where we surface any issues or potential improvements. We catalog these in Wrike so I have a backlog of ideas and potential improvements to pull from. We also have a request form specific to Wrike improvements (a bit meta, but helps funnel the ideas!). The fact that every cross-functional item is in Wrike helps immensely with visibility, communication, and collaboration. I've also automated a lot of the more administrative functions as well as reminders (ie, if a task status is set to Ready for Review, the assignee is alerted to start an approval or tag the person that needs to review)โ€”and looking forward to being able to Automate more items as the functionality grows.

Magic Wand

More options to automate based on custom fields - very limited right now.

Making custom fields requiredโ€”this would save me a ton of time when it comes to reminding people to fill out their effort points and the epic label.

Hope that helps!

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Thank you for sharing detailed answers Regina Ball ๐Ÿค—

Lisa Community Team at Wrike Wrike Product Manager Become a Wrike expert with Wrike Discover

Lisa Wrike Team member Become a Wrike expert with Wrike Discover

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Spot On Innovative Approach Stellar Advice

Hi Nicole and Lisa,

Let me first call your attention to the need to create dependencies without dates (in blueprints and projects), which is currently not possible in Wrike. For us, many of our deliverables have a clear set of dependent steps, but in the beginning we don't yet know when we will do the deliverable, because priorities are still being set in the ongoing collaboration with the client. What we want to do is specify the 10 subtasks that make up a deliverable, their standard duration and dependencies, and when we schedule the first one, all the downstream tasks would be scheduled as well. And vice versa, if we schedule some tasks and indicate dependencies between them, if the client asks us to backlog the work (remove the dates), currently Wrike loses the dependencies.ย 

I believe this capability would provide a bridge between agile and more traditional approaches. It would be huge for us.

Beyond that, here's answers to the questions you asked - our organization has 3 broad workstreams being managed in Wrike, (1) new client projects - process/scheduled work is managed in a more traditional fashion, configuration work is kanban, (2) front-end product development - kanban with monthly releases, (3) back-end/middle-tier development - kanban/ad hoc.

My team brought Wrike into the organization, for use on our new client projects. We use a custom Blueprint for each project, that provides a standard set of pre-scheduled tasks and a library of standard configuration tasks to pick from as needed.

We do not use sprints.

Metrics-wise, the Analytics tab and project percent completes are nice for a high-level picture. We don't otherwise use Wrike to track metrics.ย 

Optimizing the workflow for us means refining the items that can be standard on the project (and therefore available in the blueprint) vs. require more client-specific thought process. We are maturing our ability to have a blueprint that is highly useful for collaboration and knowing "what" to do, and separating our the "how to" details.

Magic wands:

  1. Ability to create swimlanes on the Board View. For example, create swimlanes based on importance, a custom field, or parent project/folder. This would be a big improvement and help us to optimize our workflow by more easily managing classes of service.
  2. Ability to create dependences without dates as noted above.

Matt

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Spot On Innovative Approach Stellar Advice

Regina Ball Thanks for explaining how you do retrospectives, it's been something I'd been considering how could be done.

Matt Snyder I agree that swimlanes based on board view priority (or a custom field, customisable) would be good, I meant to include that when I spoke about service level agreements! So thanks for including it. Also agree that dateless dependencies are important.ย 

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George Fiveash that's a small part of our retrospectives that we do asynchronously but has helped surface issues around prioritization, etc.

Matt Snyder & Lisa 10000% agreed on dateless dependencies! That's a significant need for our team as well.

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Spot On Innovative Approach Stellar Advice

Thanks a lot for your feedback here folks! Matt Snyder I can also see that you supported a Product Feedback thread for this suggestion, thank you for that! And thank you for detailed answers to Nicole's questions ๐Ÿค—

Lisa Community Team at Wrike Wrike Product Manager Become a Wrike expert with Wrike Discover

Lisa Wrike Team member Become a Wrike expert with Wrike Discover

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Spot On Innovative Approach Stellar Advice

Curious to see samples of the workflows used for Sprints plus Custom Field Ideas!ย 

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