At ng-voice, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our products and deliver more value to our customers. And to do so in a fast-paced environment, while the team grows, can be a challenge – it is crucial to keep focus and have clear goals to achieve results. Because of that, our sprint planning process is an essential part of our organization, especially for the feature development and DevOps teams.
What is a sprint in Agile?
In Agile product development, a sprint is a set period of time during which a scrum team works to complete defined goals. Using this method, sprint breaks down larger objectives (e.g., objective key results) into smaller blocks of time in which smaller goals are achieved. Working on long and large topics can get tiresome and leave agile team members with a feeling of no visible success or progress. By splitting topics into sprints, we are able to acknowledge individual milestones and achievements as they occur instead of waiting for the project to end. Sprints are at the core of agile methodologies, and planning them properly helps organizations to deliver results faster, with fewer headaches, and more efficiency.
Sprint cycle in agile
A sprint cycle consists of a short repeatable phase every time we manage and plan a sprint at ng-voice. The steps of the phases remain the same, however, after each sprint, we use insights we learned to make sure our next sprint is more effective. There are 4 phases in the cycle which are:
- Sprint planning – Kicking off the Sprint and defining the goals. This is the most critical part of the sprint. The sprint planning is done thoroughly and with a lot of attention to detail at ng-voice so we really manage to achieve what we set out to do.
- Daily Scrum – Team members meet for a short period daily to share what they have worked on, or if there are any blockers
- Sprint review – Here we assess on what was delivered and decide what should be worked on in the next sprint
- Sprint retrospective – A reflection on the process to improve the next sprint and make it more effective. These are not done on every sprint usually, but from time to time.
Each sprint has its own timeline, and at ng-voice, our sprints usually last between 2 to 4 weeks.
Which values does sprint planning bring to ng-voice?
There are several benefits for using this methodology;
- Reduced complexity and increased agility – It allows the teams to distribute a complicated project into smaller, easier to achieve tasks, and swiftly adjust changes to the project whenever needed, being more agile.
- Ownership and team collaboration – By involving stakeholders to work closely on a daily basis as well as allowing the development team to organize its priority list, each person has their own clear goals and autonomy to work on them during the sprint.
- Faster time to market – The methodology reduces waste by focusing only on necessary tasks within a time frame, increasing the delivery speed.
- Close alignment with customers’ needs – By continuously reviewing customers’ priorities and using them to plan tasks and deliveries, the methodology also increases customer satisfaction.
- Increased team morale – It establishes an environment that encourages participation and empowers self-management, giving the teams a having a feeling of achievement.
- Quick reporting – The sprint management makes it easier to visualize team performance by having transparent progress checks visible to all, which also allows teams to review tasks, progress, and blockers.
Our company has been working with the sprint planning methodology for several years and it is now a fundamental part of our work culture. According to Stefan Frank, Head of Deployment: “The sprint planning is a great opportunity for all of the team members to give ideas and contribute to the product’s roadmap. It makes it very easy to visualize the direction in which we are going and the results we are delivering, which keeps the team motivated to achieve more”.
Learn more about our work culture, team values and apply for open positions on our careers webpage.
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Behnam Hooshiar Kashani
DevOps Team Lead
With years working in the telecom industry as a DevOps Engineer, Behnam joined ng-voice and now has the challenge to automate our cloud-native and standard-based solutions on different container orchestration platforms, like Kubernetes.