Sprints: A Behind-the-Scenes Look
Originally developed and identified within the Scrum framework, sprints are a mainstay in the fjorge vocabulary. Our sprints promote collaboration, discussion, and iteration. We will dive into how we structure sprints, establish goals, and approach sprint planning.
How are sprints structured?
They are structured in short set periods of time, with an established goal(s) to complete by the end of that time. These goals are created by the team working within that sprint. With the completion of each sprint, the team should be closer to completing the project or have a clearer understanding of what is left to complete within the project.
What is a sprint goal?
When structuring a sprint goal we define the general target. We also look at:
- What are we trying to achieve?
- Defining the business value
- What goals will help us move the project forward?
From there, we define how to confirm that we have achieved the goal through completed action items that can be presented to the client.
When is a sprint goal determined?
Within our process, the sprint goal encapsulates the tasks, stories, and issues that have been selected as items to complete to get closer to project competition.
Sprint goals are created during our sprint planning meetings, these meetings are typically once a week, and our team members meet to discuss the items we want to include in the next sprint. The cycle of sprints consists of four main parts: Backlog Refinement, Sprint Planning, Sprint Retrospective, and Sprint Review.
Who determines the sprint goals?
Our project operations department consists of five teams, each with a Project Manager, UX Designer, Solutions Architect, and Developers. Each team, while aligned in our core process, has its own approach to defining its sprint goals. With each sprint goal we create, we learn and iterate on the next.
To get insight into how our teams approach these goals, we spoke with Tristan Emery, our Lead Solutions Architect, and a member of our Project Operations Management team.
“Sprint Goals are vitally important, they establish what [our teams] should focus on. Sprint goals also help define what the most valuable thing to do next is”,
Now we’ll focus on the second part, sprint planning.
What is sprint planning?
After goals are set, a backlog has also been created. Our team has the stories defined and the remaining tasks are ordered by most valuable to complete next within the backlog. Sprint planning is where our team determines which stories or tasks will be pulled from the backlog into upcoming sprints.
During sprint planning, the development team on the project will confirm alignment on goals or make adjustments to the goal to more accurately represent what will be targeted before we officially start the sprint.
Why do we value sprints?
Not only do our solution architects support the practice of sprint goals, but our operations department and company as a whole have also seen the benefits of implementing the practice. A conversation with Darren Hagen, Developer Manager here at fjorge, highlighted additional benefits of sprint goals for our development team. “Sprint goals help guide our team to what we can get done and if we complete a goal during the sprint, it helps us make informed decisions on what we can pull from the backlog to continue moving the project forward.”
Since the utilization of sprints, our teams have benefitted from their use and it has given our teams the ability to make informed and valuable decisions that benefit the project and ultimately the product we deliver to our clients.