Energy in planning

Last Monday we had our next sprint planning (#13 for those keeping count). It was a Monday, not the usual Friday to avoid missing half the team, who took a day off to celebrate the last day of school. But this strays from my topic…

I really enjoy what we call “turnaround day” – we do our Sprint Review and Sprint Planning on the same day (more on that another time). One of the reasons is that the team feels very energized during and right after the meeting.

So much that we moved up the Planning in the day, because the engineers actually want to start working on the storiesĀ that day. We’ve previously thought that planning on a Friday afternoon would allow people to calm down, have time to absorb the work over the weekend (subconsciously!) and start cracking on it on Monday. Well, surprise!

Why do I think they’re so energized:

  • new shiny things to do! – new stories, means new opportunities, challenges, valuable contributions
  • we meet as a team – working in a LeSS framework, this is one of the times members of all the teams come together to collaborate
  • egalitarian meets experts – on one hand, everyone has input into their team’s backlog sprint, including freshly hired interns; on the other – the technical leads and senior engineers get asked about their opinions on key items
  • playfulness – there is an amount of joking and ribbing that occurs at the meetings:
    • we have an informal (and unenforced) rule “you touch the story card last, your team has to take it” – ended with someone using tweezers during planning
    • last time I heard the phrase “I can take these for my team, since I’m going on vacation” (tongue firmly in cheek)
    • wayward story cards make it into initial backlog piles, before someone notices the sabotage

And in the end, we are surprised how much the team is able to pick up for the next sprint and they do deliver!

Well, two more weeks and we get to plan again.

 

Regressions

I heard a really cool thing in our last sprint review. I was surprised to see that a new feature was fully enabled, one I didn’t think would be done in time. How did that happen?

Teamwork

And not that the team split up the story and worked on it in parallel, but a more interesting way of helping occurred. Since the engineer that wanted to focus on the story (having experience implementing it in another product) had just finished a big feature, he was still getting some late regressions from sporadic failures or longer tests. The team bandied together and handled these regressions for him, so he could focus on this new work. (And at the same time, probably got an understanding of the previous feature).