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Agile Transformation pragmatically, incrementally and safely

Vivek: “Hey Rajan, are you all set for the demo on leasing functionality?”
Rajan: “Yes Vivek we are but there is a glitch. Tom and Brady have taken off tomorrow to have a 4 days long weekend clubbing it with their Labor day holiday on Monday. So the earliest we can have it is on next Tuesday. Is that ok?”
Vivek: “umm. OK. Not ideal but can’t help much here. Let’s push both the sprint review and the retrospective to next week.”

Have you encountered this situation in your scrum teams? How do you react to this? Did Sanjeev assume too much or felt that Rohit was not being too honest? Did Rohit feel that he had left Sanjeev down?

How many times has this happened with your scrum teams? 1, 2, 3 or umpteen times? If the answer is later, it is worth considering your sprint cadence.

I assume that you are having a 2 weeks’ sprint in your teams. 4 weeks is too long a window to deliver valuable product for your customer and close the inspect/adapt loop though I would prefer 1-week sprint if you have well established DevOps tool chain in your organization.

During my consulting assignments, I have typically seen scrum teams aligning their cadence with start-end of week.

Typical Cadence:

  • – Sprint starts on a Monday
  • – Sprint ends on a Friday (10 business days later)

Pitfalls of this approach:

  • 1. Mondays and Fridays are typically the days that people take PTO/day-off to combine it with the weekend. Because the sprint review and retrospective is a time to reflect on the product and the process, we need the full Scrum team to attend.
  • 2. Stakeholder/Customer meetings on Fridays can be an erratic with distributed geographies / time zone differences especially late on a Friday evening
  • 3. Friday being the last day of the week means that people are usually tired and not able to concentrate to finish the sprint (they just want to go home for the weekend). Is this the right time for teams to be deploying work into production?
  • 4. Starting on a Monday could tempt PO/SMs to ask teams to stretch and work over the weekend to be prepared for demo on Monday. Let’s maintain a sustainable pace.
  • 5. If teams have the ability to deploy anytime, mid-week is ideal rather than Friday when everyone is leaving for the weekend. Deploy mid-week while the team is more available to support.

Proposed Cadence:

  • – Sprint starts on a Wednesday
  • – Sprint ends on a Tuesday (10 business days later)

If you have been following the Monday through Friday cycle, experiment-inspect-adapt your cadence with below calendar. Hopefully, you should have all tick in the boxes with your cadence, eventually helping you deliver awesome products for your customers!

Keep Learning and Improving!

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