Blogs - project management

Standing Up Daily - How Lucidus uses Daily SCRUM meetings for Drupal development

Two years ago this month, Lucidus started down the path of applying SCRUM to our development process. At the time, we were struggling mightily with a number of goals that we talked about a LOT and never seemed to make progress on. One particular question we always wrestled with was "Where are we on each project?"

We had a tradition of our meeting length swinging on a pendulum. First we'd go for a while with no meetings because people were heads down working. In a few weeks when folks started complaining that no one knew what was going on, we'd insist on weekly (sometimes daily) status meetings that seemed to chew up an hour a day.

Think about that...we had a team of 12 meeting every day for an hour. 12 people x 1 hour x 5 days. We were losing 60 hours / week in productivity. We'd talk about site architecture, the latest Drupal module, etc. It was exciting for the first three days and then we'd swing the pendulum back the other way to no meetings.

In addition to being inefficient, it was frustrating. We just couldn't solve it. That's where SCRUM came to the rescue. Thanks to Mick McGuire, SCRUM was just what we needed for a lot of things but, in particular, it solved our issue with status meetings. Now, I will preface this with we've tailored our flavor of SCRUM to our needs. We hold pretty close to the tenets but leave flexibility for our own business process.

In SCRUM, we meet every day for 15 minutes via web conference. In general, it's recommended to meet in person but with people spread to Oregon, Arizona and New Hampshire, that's just not realistic. For us 1:30 has settled in as the right time that everyone can get a good morning of work done and then report in.

In the Daily SCRUM meeting, each team member reports three things:

  • What they completed since last meeting
  • What they're doing for tomorrow
  • Any impediments they've run into

The team stays connected and knows what each other is doing. Developers are held accountable by each other to get stuff done. If you tell your teammates that you're going to have something done for tomorrow and it's not done once, that's ok. After three days of saying the same thing, people start "looking" at you weird and you feel the pressure. Moreover, it's an opportunity to gain praise from your peers on delivering work. It really helps everyone pull their weight and be excited to contribute.

A couple of our lessons learned / best practices:

  • Concrete reports - Reports should be concrete, not vague. Vague reports are a smokescreen to work that wasn't done (or at least it can be perceived that way).
  • Discussions happen afterward - Any follow up questions specific to how something is being done is pushed until after the meeting
  • Keep it to 15 minutes - this lets folks know that they're going to get back to their work quickly.

Obviously, longer conversations are necessary but we leave those to Sprint Kickoffs (every two weeks) and Sprint Retrospectives (also every two weeks). We've hit a point now where even our retrospectives are only half an hour. By meeting every day for a short, time-boxed period, we dramatically increased our team communication and developer efficiency and provided an opportunity for problems (impediments) to be reported early and dealt with both in terms of development and customer expectations. It's made a HUGE difference for us.

Computer Q & A : How do I make a print screen picture in Windows?

When you want to discuss what you're seeing on your computer or website, the best way to share it is by sharing a picture of your screen or the browser window. People use different words for this, but they all are the same thing: print screen, screen shot, screen capture or screen grab. There are a few ways you can do it.

print screen buttoncontrol and alt keysBefore I begin, let me mention that not all Windows keyboards have a Print Screen key. Sometimes it is labeled "Print Screen|SysRq" and sometimes it is labeled "Prt Scrn". If it is available on your keyboard it will usually be in the 6-pack of keys to the right of the main keys. The methods of taking a screen capture in this tutorial will use this key and the Alt key. In Windows, the Ctrl and Alt keys are located together at the bottom of your keyboard, usually to the left and right of the space bar.

There are two common ways you can take a picture of your screen in Windows. One way takes a picture of the window you are actively working in, for example, your Internet Explorer browser window. The other way takes a picture of the entire monitor screen. I will give you the steps for how to do each one.

Taking a picture of your browser window in Windows

  1. All ProgramsFirst, ensure that you have the browser window you want open in front of you on your screen and you have just clicked inside it. 
  2. Press alt+prt scrn. When both keys are pressed at the same time, it takes a picture of what you see on your browser window right now and copies it into the system's clipboard.
  3. start buttonNow go to Start, then All Programs, then select Accessories, and when it expands, select the application Paint.
  4. Paint will open. When it is open, go to the Edit menu and click on Paste. If you prefer, you can use ctrl+v to paste the image of your browser window.
  5. PaintYou can use the ellipse (circle shape) tool and paint a red circle around part of the image to highlight it and point it out.
  6. Save As menuWhen you are satisfied you have what you want, go to File > Save As...  Enter a meaningful name and  save it as a JPG (recommended to reduce file size), saving it in a place where you will be able to locate it later.
  7. Create an email and attach your print screen image to share what you are seeing, and send it off!

 

 

Taking a picture of your entire monitor screen in Windows

  1. First, ensure that you have what you want to show on your screen. 
  2. Press prt scrn. It takes a picture of what you see on your monitor screen and copies it into the system's clipboard.
  3. Now go to Start, then All Programs, then select Accessories, and when it expands, select the application Paint.
  4. Paint will open. When it is open, go to the Edit menu and click on Paste. If you prefer, you can use ctrl+v to paste the image of your monitor screen.
  5. You can use the ellipse (circle shape) tool and paint a red circle around part of the image to highlight it and point it out.
  6. When you are satisfied you have what you want, go to File > Save As...  Enter a meaningful name and save it as a JPG (recommended to reduce file size), saving it in a place where you will be able to locate it later.
  7. Create an email and attach your print screen image to share what you are seeing, and send it off!

Please let us know if this instruction has been helpful to you. We want to make it easier for you to communicate with us so that we can help you get the website and web applications you need.