Sprint 1 retro

We’re the agile team delivering content for the Fast Stream Conference 2017, Digital: Definition Unknown. We’re working in the open in 2-week sprints. You can see what we’re doing next here, and check us out on Twitter and Facebook.

Retrospectives happen at the end of each sprint. They’re an opportunity for us to look back as a team and discuss what we did well, what we didn’t do well, and what we can do better next time. It’s all in the aim of continuous improvement: every two weeks we can pinpoint new things to work on.

Here’s our retrospective from our first sprint. We did this one by telephone, but we’re hoping to start doing them in person from sprint 2. If you want to come along and see what we’ve been working on, check out our calendar for times and locations.

What we did well

We completed all of our sprint objectives, and we did them really well. Our objectives were:

  1. Research themes with a survey
  2. Write blog to coincide with the launch of the survey
  3. Write an options paper for a mobile app
  4. Brief our senior sponsor and feed back to the team

We’re really proud of the fact that we delivered all of these objectives. The survey has had more than 70 responses and we expect to see more before the deadline on Wednesday. More important than the numbers is the great caliber of feedback we’ve had; as we’d expect from our colleagues, it’s been almost universally constructive.

Almost. If anyone can explain how to cosplay digital we might be up for it.

Jonathan wrote a blog and if you haven’t read it, you should. It got a retweet from Gillian Smith and 85% of people who clicked through to it read all the way to the end. It got us thinking about what we should talk about next, which is why developing a content calendar is one of our next sprint objectives. Look out for more blogs from individual team members over the next few sprints!

Antonia put together an options paper on how we’d get content onto people’s mobile devices. It’s got us thinking hard about what the best of doing it is, and all the things that we want from an app. Jonathan mentioned the brands on Twitter that we were considering, and scored us a meeting with one of them this week!

Finally, Eve took all this information and briefed our sponsor in GDS, Alex Holmes. Alex is the Chief Operating Officer, and his enthusiasm about the conference is already pushing us to do things better.

left to right: Will Joss (Logistics product owner), Charlotta Karlsson-Hill (logistics), Alex Holmes, Eve Davies-Tsagkadakis (Content Product Owner) and Fraser Johnston (Conference Service Manager)

What we didn’t do well

When we first sent the survey out, the first question was a bit muddled. We didn’t spot it, but feedback came in quickly that it wasn’t clear. We fixed the question straight away, making sure no other answers were wasted. However, we definitely should have picked up on it before it went out.

We think this is because we weren’t clear at the beginning of our sprint how much time we could commit and what the review process would be. Letting everyone check everything meant we all assumed someone else would do it, and something slipped through.

What we’re going to do better

We’re going to hack a method software programmers use called ‘pair programming.’ Rather than sitting side by side and working together on a project, we’re going to buddy up to check each other’s work. We’re also going to add a “Has been reviewed” criteria to our definition of done. This will make sure that things don’t get missed, but avoids the bottleneck that comes with one person reviewing everything.

We’re going to make sure we clearly state our capacity at sprint planning meetings. We’re balancing this work with full-time jobs, and we’ve all got different time constraints. Being clearer up-front will mean we plan better.

We’re re-jigging our sprint cadence as well. Trying to do a retro on a Friday afternoon turned out to be almost impossible, so from now on our sprints will end on Tuesdays and kick off on Wednesdays.

Finally, we’re going to commit completely to agile. That means daily stand-ups, proper planning sessions and retrospectives at the end of every sprint.

If you’re interested in attending our retrospectives, you can find out where we’ll be on our calendar. If you’re a digital leader in government we’d love to hear from you — you can tweet at us @fsconference17 or go old-school and email us: fsconference17@gmail.com. Or just leave a comment here with some contact details, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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