Scrum for Weddings

You might be wondering why I’m listing down the wedding under personal projects. Because wedding nowadays have become more into a fancy multi million dollar project. When we think of wedding these days, this would be the picture on most people’s mind.

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Now lets see what is a project is, it must have a dead line, scope and a cost. Same here! , Once you picked a date for your wedding, that’s it ! you are running against the clock.

There is a saying in Tamil culture, ‘if you want to see how hard life is either try to build a house or try to do wedding’. Doing a wedding seems very hectic , but for me it was two weddings because we are from two different cultures. For people who knows Sri Lankan history will understand. Basically doing a wedding between two cultures that were in war for 30 years takes it to another whole new dimension. And I always joke around people saying that I had two weddings , but bride for both the weddings were the same person. 😀

Weddings will always end up in scope crepe, so there should be a way to manage all these nonsense. And yes, the answer is Scrum.

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Scrum is an Agile framework for completing complex projects. Scrum originally was formalized for software development projects, but it works well for any complex work. But how does it fit into a traditional wedding.

As all projects, wedding also  initiate with the initial requirement docs. But in Indo Asian culture the initial documents you need to start a wedding is your zodiac documents. Normally both sides will have an expert consultant (astrologer) to predict the outcomes and you’ll end up in very confusing predictions. 😀

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After the initial sow (statement of work) we can begin the planning. In scrum there are some key concepts.

One of the first things to do when we start a scrum project is to have a product backlog. For this scenario the product is our wedding. backlog is all the features that you want in your wedding. And we’ll be implementing these features based on the priority and break it in to small sprints which are time boxed. For weddings, with my personal experience I would recommend having 1 week sprints.

Priorities matter

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Lets say you have two features/(User stories), which is to book the wedding venue and to book the wedding catering service. With out booking the wedding hall we cannot book the catering service, because some wedding halls does not allow private catering. So always prioritize the features from the backlog and take the most important things to the coming sprints.

For the scrum project I added my wife as the product owner, and I assume I don’t need to elaborate more on this fact I assume. I was playing the scrum master role. The team members were my parents , siblings and friends etc.

I will not bore you with the process and terminologies, but I’ll jot down some pain points when applying scrum to a wedding.

Daily stands up , use proper medium.

In scrum we have some thing called daily stand up where the whole team meets every day for a quick status update. Its always better to have daily stand ups to keeps every one in sync. It’s acceptable that all the team members can’t be present for daily stand up. But always try to get hold of them.

'Sorry, I've gotta take this...'

And always use a common medium where every one can relate to. It took me an eternity to explain what is a Skype/Viber to my parents. In Sri Lankan context I would recommend to  go with conference calls.

Have a cross functional team

A cross-functional team has members with a variety of skills. In the team one person might be an expert in traditional customs and one might be good at handling finances. So always create a self organized cross functional team. In other words  the Team is self-managing; overseeing its own internal workings, rather than being told from external management what to do and when to do it.

For example the tradition expert should play his part and disseminate their knowledge for the other members. For example in the Sinhalese tradition the parents provide a glass of water and after that only we can eat.

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You are not supposed to drink it. We have to touch the glass and go for the lunch. But guess what happened. Yes there were people who drank the water.

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So both parties should understand the customs.

Defining user stories that every one can understand matters.

User stories are short, simple descriptions of a feature told from the perspective of the person who wants the new feature. So for printing the wedding invitation I would write the user story as, “As a groom, I want to print the invitation cards so I can handover it to my relatives.” and will add the template as the brief description.

Even for the well defined wedding cards also there can be small misunderstandings. This is what I gave for the sample text, and this was my expectation. I basically wanted the hand sign to be there.

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Long story short the regular typist was not there, so a new person did this and guess what I got as the sample print.

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This is why it is always important to have well defined user stories that every one can understand. And always have the risk measured when involving 3rd parties.

Remove uncertainties with a POC

Most of the things revolve around weddings are based on uncertainties. We are uncertain if the food will be good on the wedding day etc. So its always better to do a poc (proof of concept) before making any decisions. For the food I tested almost all the catering services in Colombo. 😀

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And believe me they are more than happy to give some samples. So its always better to do a proof of concept before trying to go a decision based on high level of uncertainty.

Retrospective meetings are more emotional.

Retrospective meetings are held in the end of each sprint and discusses on what happened in the sprint and identifies actions for improvement going forward.The retro respective meetings before the wedding will be always troublesome, but the final retrospective meeting that you would have, after the wedding day would be the most interesting.

Wedding present atrocities.

present.jpgHaving an everlasting impression.

After the project completions also people should always remember how awesome is it. For me I had a wedding location that no one can even imagine to have it now, at any cost. Because the whole building collapsed down recently this year.

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So always choose the location wisely.

That’s all folks. And thanks for all the friends and family for the help and guidance.

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