Agile, Estimation, Improvement, Leadership, Learning Lessons, Remote, Technology, Tools

Daily Sprints – Day 1

Each morning for the next eight days, I will post about the previous day and hope to provide some interesting insights on how the team is trying to improve their estimation! See our previous day here!

What have you tried that works or doesn’t work?!

Day 1

Day 1 started with tons of issues! We pushed a new solution to our prod environment on Tuesday morning and one of our applications was completely broken. A number of team members, including three from the team went into the technology ER and started troubleshooting from 7:30am till about 10:30am when we finally resolved the issue. Shortly before we solved that issue, our most experienced engineer texted me saying his computer was failing to start up. Turns out his motherboard died.

Before 10:30am, we had four out of six team members unavailable to do sprint work (three team members fighting fires and one team member without a computer)!

We started stand up after we finished solving the broken solution and our team member without a computer called in (we are all remote). We identified one of the three stories we wanted to start with and agreed on trying to complete these story tasks by the end of the day.

  • Set up our unit testing project
  • Decide where the business logic will live
  • Write a passing unit test against the story we are working on

The engineers came together in Zoom and started to pair-program the above goals. We had one of our engineers in California drive, while our other software and quality engineers navigated the code writing, telling the driver what to do and where to go. Additionally, it may have been a blessing in disguise that our Sr. Engineer didn’t have a functional computer, because it forced him to be a guide rather than a driver.

Before we finished the day, we met with two architects to help guide us on some questions that we came up with on Day 0 when talking about the design of our overall project.

At the end of the day, we came really close to accomplishing everything we set out to do, despite the crazy morning. We were unable to finish the unit test due to some issues with some of our fakes.

Lastly, before we broke for the day, we came together and talked about “what we accomplished” and how can we improve for the next day.

A few other takeaways from our end of day “retro”

  • Collaboration between the engineers was amazing – everyone was providing input and insight!
    • All the engineers worked together using Zoom
  • As a remote TM, our network lag is not ideal and it takes a significant amount of time to get solutions built, download updates and generally things are a little slower when you aren’t in the office.
    • Starting Wednesday, we made a decision to make sure everyone gets the latest solution and has their solution ready to work on before we start to work together, so we can reduce some of the down time it takes to get those things up and running
  • The “left out” effect is powerful
    • Our BA, who was working on getting things prepared for the next day and not collaborating in writing code, mentioned ‘wow sounds like you all had a lot of fun, seems like I missed out’
      • This is really interesting comment. I thought this was great, not because one of our team members feels left out, because behind that comment is a nugget of truth – collaborating together and taking on a challenge is fun, exciting and contagious!
  • Tackling one story, using a new way to attack the story (TDD), takes more time than anticipated
(Feature Image Credit: https://www.joc.com/trucking-logistics/labor/international-brotherhood-teamsters/teamsters-face-uphill-battle-drayage-segment_20140711.html)
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