Saturday, December 1, 2007

Six Sprints Later: A retrospective

After six sprints (five + a release sprint), we released three products, two of which were sim-shipped with nine language packs (including one that was thrown in during the ship sprint). These were the first language pack releases for these products.

Delivering Value
Along the way we accepted and delivered a feature for a customer (an Oil Producing Company), something that would have been difficult to pull off prior to adopting Scrum. We delivered software for the customer to integrate with their solution and give us feedback. Although the customer did not move ahead with the solution (for reasons I will talk about at a later date), Scrum allowed us to be agile in our response to this request from the sales team and therefore delivering value to the company/customers.

We also passed a third party review of our software development process conducted by Construx Software - Steve McConnell's company. This was of course a big deal for us since it was part of a process we had to go through on a deal (it was the largest deal ever done by the company) we were working on with a large software company.

Sprint Retrospective
The sprint retrospective meetings were definitely the most valuable postmortem meetings I had ever attended. The team discussed what went well and what didn't in a very candid matter and people took personally responsibility for what did not go well and what they will do better next time. I thought I would never see the day but it did happen, holding yourself personally accountable in front of your team mates and making a commitment to do better, how powerful is that.

Project [Progress] Visibility
The feedback I received about the sprint review meetings were probably the most telling that we had done a great job with visibility. This meeting is attended by everyone in the company, outside of the Product Development team, as well as Program Managers who do the demos. We get feedback about the products as expected and we also get comments especially from the CEO about how the sprint review meetings give everyone a peak into what is coming and allows the sales and support teams to set customer expectations appropriately since they've had an opportunity to get clarifications on upcoming product features.

Our Scrum roll out was not all smooth sailing, I'll talk about the bad & the ugly and what we are doing to resolve them in my next post.

No comments: