At FiveP, we are embracing an agile approach, not only for our fivep SharePoint projects but also our customer support service. And it’s working. We’ll share insights into running an agile customer support desk another day, but now I’d like to share a few observations from our last major agile project.
The project itself was one of the most complex online, web based forms, any of us had worked on. And we’ve been around for a long time. It was one of those scenarios where the complexity increased as the project evolved, so it was even more critical that our development team and our client’s product owner worked together closely, every step of the journey. Through an agile process, we were able to achieve this, with an exceptionally successful outcome.
A key element to agile is the daily stand-up meeting, which we conducted religiously. This was pivotal for all team members to stay current on what each other was doing and learning. Given we are always running multiple projects, the rule of capping these stand-ups to 15min max is even more crucial. Otherwise, other project stand-ups were impacted. And at FiveP, we believe every project deserves the respect of running these on time. We quickly learnt to call out topics that should be added to the “parking lot” for detailed discussion later that day (with the relevant parties present).
Our two-week iterations culminated in a show case presentation to the client followed by a planning session in which the next iteration features and stories were selected. Invariably our client was satisfied with the ongoing progress, but even more important was the growth in understanding of how their own paper based processes could, and indeed should, be translated to a digital form.
Perhaps one of the more underrated elements of agile which we gained immense value from was the retrospective sessions. A facilitated workshop where every team member was asked to write on sticky notes their thoughts of:
- What went well?
- What went wrong?
- How can we improve?
These were then placed under the respective sections on the white board for group discussion.
This regular project ‘release valve’ proved invaluable in stabilising team dynamics, balancing individual effort of members, removing waste/impediments and solidifying the team itself towards our project goals; all in a timely manner such that the project itself benefited.