Looking at a product launch from the initial planning stages can feel like an impossible journey. So much work has to be done between whiteboarding a concept to launching that it’s essential to break it down into smaller, accomplishable goals. This is why sprints are the standard process for developer teams.
Sprints allow for developers to be agile, focus on the most important work, shift work to align with changing organizational plans, keep work balanced across teams and produce more accurate timelines for product launches.
Sprint best practices
Creating a successful sprint roadmap isn’t as simple as grouping your work in two week segments. You need to create realistic goals and account for unforeseen work that will inevitably come up.
Planning for the known: Go into each sprint with a plan that includes stretch goals and evenly distributes workloads across team members. This helps keep your technologists engaged in the process and prevents burnout. Sprints should only include your team’s highest-priority tickets, so that you leave room for the unplanned work. It will be your Product Manager or Scrum master’s job to look at all of your tickets, figure out what’s the highest priority, and then have the team complete tickets in order of importance.
Planning for the unknown: When you allocate this work, you’ll need to set aside time for the inevitable unknown work. It’s difficult to plan for the unplanned, but as a general rule, planned work should only fill about 80% of engineers’ bandwidth during the sprint so they can use that other 20% on unplanned work.
Measure your past success: While finding this balance, use data from previous sprints. Data-driven insights are essential to track the progress your teams made in completing planned work but they also offer the ability to see how frequently unplanned work showed up during sprints as well.
Productive Retrospectives: Retros are an essential aspect of development sprints. They provide an opportunity to identify whether the team achieved their commitments, what worked, what needs improvement and how those improvements can be implemented. The ceremony of retrospectives and stand-ups also takes away from active coding time which means they need to be efficient and beneficial. More on that in a moment.
Make check-ins productive: Using an engineering insights platform like Pluralsight Flow assures your one-on-ones are productive. Using a check-in report and the individual contributor’s player card enables team leads and employees to have productive and healthy dialogues about work-life balance, types of tasks they prefer to take on, how they’re contributing to the overall product build and more. Sprint movement helps individuals measure their contributions to the sprint, so use 1:1s to review individual contributions and discuss any roadblocks that came up during the sprint.
Cross-team Collaboration: Building new products and features will always involve a great number of teams working synchronously and asynchronously, and likely from remote locations. Use Pluralsight Flow to see where collaboration opportunities come up and build out sprint alignments where available and valuable. The benefits of collaboration go far beyond successful sprints. Strategic sprint planning, along with Pluralsight Flow, creates healthy team culture, natural upskilling opportunities, and keeps developers engaged through varied task assignments.
Pluralsight Flow and Sprint Movement
Pluralsight Flow’s new Sprint movement report assures a clear and concise look at past sprints so that teams can better plan for future sprints.