In distant past projects I encountered a strange phenomenon during the beta phase. Our team would enter alpha, the publisher would throw a couple dozen testers on the project and all of us would focus on the bug database. During this time I felt more productive than any other time of the project.
We would address the bugs daily. Weekly we would triage the bug database to prioritize the bug “backlog”. We tracked the total bug count and used a “burndown chart” to measure bug resolution velocity, bug discovery velocity and the projected “zero bug” date that we were all trying to reach. All I had to focus on was solving those bugs and achieving the best possible velocity.
Does this sound familiar? It’s no coincidence that many of the Scrum practices reflect theses practices. When people have a clear idea of what they need to do (in the form of smaller solvable tasks that they take ownership of), what the goal is and a solid empirical measurement that is updated daily, they can achieve a high level of focus and effectiveness.
It was one of those “aha!” moments when I came across Scrum and discovered how similar it’s practices were to what worked elsewhere.