Sprint 36 retrospective
We've just had a sprint marked by a few absences; a few of FP were taking holidays, and Mr Bigland was attending to an unmissable deadline as Zoe Bigland said hello to the world :)
What we learned:
- We need to look at a new build server - when ours fails, it causes us heartache;
- FP folks don't just want time to work on their own projects, they want to get them launched too;
- Code coverage and unit testing for J2ME present challenges, but we want to persevere with them;
- Maybe we can use this Scrum stuff for the rest of the business, too...?
On top of this, the work of Anjuna was focused around procedural stuff: tidying up some loose ends which we consciously accumulated to meet an early deadline. So with little obvious new functionality to demo, we ran a very quick review session looking at the lovely little GPS application Dougie had produced to enter the 5k apps competition.
The retrospective followed, as retrospectives do, and Joh suggested a new and unusual format to take advantage of the extra time available. Both production teams split off, and the rest of the business (myself, our Product Owners, Sergio and Ali) formed a third group. Each group was tasked with looking back at activities from the last 2 weeks, identifying areas for improvement, and areas where things were going well.
Anjuna noted some issues with our build server which required attention: we've used CruiseControl but are hovering around an old version. We'll evaluate a newer one, and also Hudson, which everyone seems to rave about. Gold cards - our "10% time" scheme, which deserves a blog post of its own - were a theme for this team (who've been heads-down meeting a deadline and have opted not to take them); specifically, they wanted to take a collaborative card and work on something together, and also have a means to distribute the end-results - perhaps an expression of a communal love of launching stuff?
Tonberry were very focused on technical practices: 1-click deploy was mooted as something we urgently need (we've automated a lot of deployment stuff over the last 12 months, thanks mainly to the efforts of Mr Bigland, but some things are still fiddly); more and more of our development environment will be moved into version control; and they're going to give formal pair-programming a go this sprint, whilst simplifying their planning wall and removing QA as an explicit process.
Both teams want to get further into code coverage tools and unit testing of J2ME; we've done a bit more than usual of both on some recent projects, and it seems to have paid off.
Meanwhile our team, later named Mocha, talked about recent documentation efforts (we've needed to do a fair bit on some large and small projects), the need to record estimates more rigorously so they can be accessed when a project metamorphosises from a proposal into a full engagement, and we decided to adopt Scrum ourselves for general company tasks. So there's a backlog with new business activities, marketing and general company stuff on it, and a burndown for us now... plus we'll be presenting a review of our sprint in the fortnightly planning days, just as the development teams do. We're hoping it'll help them feel more connected to the business, and perhaps give us an air of accountability... let's see :)