Funiteration – Fun way to explain iterative development in Agile

In our organization we are continuously striving to bring new practices and to share knowledge in different ways. Trying to make learning fun and interactive. Such an opportunity came our way and we had to put on our innovative hats to figure out, how a center of excellence group could present – agile, scrum, tools, and processes without getting it to be mundane and repetitive.

Finally after a lot of thought and scratches on the whiteboard, we unanimously agreed to describe iterative delivery using food (the one pull for all), calling it – sweet desires incrementally

For those not aware of Iterative development –

In any scrum team, what we fail to communicate or what is difficult for a developer to see, is the objective and need for iterative development. It is much more than time-boxing. It’s the ability to get feedback continuously, through your working software demos. To be able to accommodate changes and provide the need of the hour software. But the most essential part of all of this, is to be able to provide the customer the opportunity to make a choice, wait for the whole thing or go with what they can get now – reducing the time to market and increasing ROI. All of these, keeps your customer happy and attuned to what is coming their way. Happy customers, happy organization.

Now how do we put all of this in food and make it fun to learn J

Sweet desires incrementally

Sweet desires was the theme & title we came up with for the learning flow.  As the name suggests it catered to something sweet and we selected muffins.

Recipe

We framed the menu as below (requirements document), we shared this with the customers,  to select what they wanted as the end product and also gave them the option to take the muffin at the end of any one iteration – it was valuable and potentially shippable at the end of every iteration

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Three iterations >

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Consumable at the end of every iteration

At the end of every iteration, during the demo, we asked the customer to verify if the muffins met the Definition of Done. A checklist to ensure we have covered all the essentials related to quality, requirements and readiness.

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You can have variations in your presentation, where you can bring in blockers like, unavailability of toppings so ask them if they would be ok with something else, or would they like to wait till we get the toppings they want. This brings out how blockers can be handled and also how customer feedback plays a key role to remove the requirement blockers

Outcome

The activity was very successful and we were sold out within 45 mins of it starting.  What we hoped to achieve was learnings and to pass on the information regarding

  1. Better understanding of working in an iteration ( incremental delivery to the customer
  2. Importance of demos and how it helps gain confidence of the customer and creates a happy customer
  3. Ensures we are developing the right product, aligned with what the customer requires and provides an opportunity for the customer to make changes
  4. Learning of new concepts like definition of done – The importance of quality and alignment with the stakeholders
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