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Sprinting towards Scrum

If you are a Pig or a Chicken this will be interesting for you[1] :-) Rational Team Concert 2.0 comes with an overhauled Agile Planning component that enables you to steer a Scrum project without hassle. No matter if you’re a product owner, scrum master, developer, stakeholder, manager, or user – there is support for all of the artifacts, roles, and meetings that you focus on.

Let’s start with some basics: The underlying idea of the planning component is that your team has a set of work items assigned that is planned for a sprint. Loosely said, a plan simply queries for those work items, presents them nicely, and helps you to manage them.

So, why did we provide Scrum support? For viewing and working with a plan, we implemented a task-oriented approach that allows for multiple presentations depending on what you want to do. For instance, prioritizing your product backlog is different from doing a daily scrum and therefore the user interface should adapt. Also, we listened to your feedback and simplified work item workflows and improved built-in queries. Further, planning in the web is now possible as our web client is aligned with our Eclipse client, and planning is widely customizable.

Product Backlog

Let’s take a closer look on a typical Scrum project. In the very beginning, you start by composing your Product Backlog. This calls for a quick way to create new Stories or Epics, to easily estimate them, and to bring them in a persisted order (stack ranking). Create a new Product Backlog for your release and view it as Backlog. This will render a flat list of all stories allowing for easy ranking[2] – namely by drag & drop.

Sprint Backlog

Before you start a sprint you have a Sprint Planning Meeting. Create a new Sprint Backlog and fill it by picking the next high priority stories from your product backlog and by breaking them up into implementation tasks. Estimate your tasks and assign them to an owner, or team members grab tasks from the backlog and assign them to themselves.

Daily Scrum

The Daily Scrum is when you update the project status. You answer two questions: “What did I do since yesterday?” and “What am I going to do until tomorrow?” Bring up the Sprint Backlog. Shown as Taskboard it will render all work items as cards on a board, arranging them in columns representing three states: Todo, In Progress, and Done. This allows for a quick overview of your work, and it’s straightforward to mark something as done: simply drag it from one column to another.

Working with the taskboard is as easy as using sticky notes but brings in the comfort of working with an integrated system. A sticky note won’t stick to the change set you are just delivering to your source control system; a work item does. A sticky note cannot be filtered or searched for; a work item can be. A sticky note does not know its counterpart in your bug tracking system; a work item is exactly that. To conclude, the ‘digital’ sticky note is the next step, and we are confident that we took this step properly.

Needless to say, there is an integrated Burndown Chart. It shows the progress of the current sprint or of the whole release. View charts as a page of the plan editor or embed them in your Dashboard.

Daily Work

Planning should be the smallest portion of your daily work. As a developer you want to write code. Still, your coding will happen in context of a work item: the Task you’re just implementing or the Defect you’re just fixing. To make this as smooth as possible, developers are equipped with the My Work View. The My Work View is your personal view onto all work items that are assigned to you and allows for in-place scheduling and estimation.


After some days of coding you finish the current sprint, and the Sprint Retrospective is due. The whole team comes together and discusses two questions: “What worked well?” and “What didn’t work well?” Have a retrospective work item planned for the current sprint and use it to write down what problems are to be tackled, link impediment work items, and note what you should leverage doing.

Your turn!

Be a Pig or be a Chicken but go scrumming. Scrum makes your life in software development easier, and we want to make life in a Scrum project easier. Try out Rational Team Concert 2.0 and our improved JUnit Example Project! It now uses the Scrum process template and allows you to explore Rational Team Concert in a snap. We are eager to get some feedback, learn how you use our tools, what you like, and what we should improve.


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