A MENLO GLOSSARY
Co-location

- Project teams sit together in a group. No separate offices or cubicles. New ideas and problems are quickly and easily discussed.

 

Pairing

- Two people work together on the same task. This promotes collaboration on ideas, peer accountability, and cross-pollination of project knowledge.

 

Daily Stand-up Meeting

- Every day at 10 a.m., an alarm will sound to round up the Menlo team for a daily meeting. Each Menlonian will get a turn with the token (frequently the iconic viking helmet) to talk about what they will be working on for the day and any questions or issues they are having. Pairs will stand and report together. This meeting usually takes a total of about 13 minutes.

 

Storycards

- All tasks and project requirements are hand-written on index cards. Each storycard is independent from all others. Each card includes a description of the work to be completed, focusing on business value. The collection of all storycards describes the potential scope of a project.

 

Work Authorization Board

- Picture a large bulletin board, on which are posted the different pairs on a project. The storycards assigned to each pair are posted under their names, in priority order. Pairs indicate their progress on each card. Boards are re-constructed on a weekly basis. Boards provide transparency and more effective team communication.

 

Green Dotting

- If work done on a storycard passes the following two steps, it gets a green dot to indicate it is done: Step 1) Developers run a series of automated unit tests against their code, on their own computer all tests must pass. Step 2) Quick review of the work is done by non-developers to identify any broken functionality and usability issues not caught by the unit tests.

 

Estimation

- Before storycards are prioritized by a client or assigned to a pair, they are estimated. Every pair on the team selects the amount of time they believe a particular task will take them to complete. This estimation of effort allows the project manager to identify the associated cost (budget) and the impact each feature would have on the timeline (deadline).

 

Show & Tell

- At the end of each week, the project team assembles with the client to literally demonstrate the recent work completed. This provides an open forum to discuss the client's changing needs, build a shared vision, and help guide what work should be prioritized for the coming week.

 

Planning

- After show & tell, the project manager partners with the client to select and prioritize the storycards for the upcoming weeks. This provides a "steering wheel" for the clients to guide their project. Paper planning sheets are laid out on a table, representing available time and budget. As copies of storycards are placed on the sheets, the client is effectively authorizing work to take place in the coming weeks.