When it comes to Agile, it is not about how you start, but about how you finish. At the beginning of a Sprint, you commit developing User Stories, story maps and workable products. If you achieve those goals, you’ll end up with a high-quality product you can present to stakeholders. If you fail to achieve the results, you could have the best Sprint Planning sessions ever, but it will not matter. You have to execute and you have to finish to be a winning development team.
Focus on Finishing
It can be a challenge to focus all of the development team’s attention on any single task. It’s easy to get excited when you complete tasks and can start moving projects them from the “Work in Progress” queue to the “Completed” queue. But are the tasks being completed really that important in the grand scheme of the project? What is the team really accomplishing?
If you have three things complete, but nine in-progress, that’s too much for the team to care about any one aspect of the Sprint. Hone in on the smaller tasks - things you can complete in one Sprint. It’s more important to finish what you start than to overextend on assignments and deadlines.
Getting The Feedback Loop Flowing
Everything you do as a development team is based on feedback from stakeholders. After completing a User Story ask, “Have we met the needs of your stakeholders and our target users?” If the answer is yes, that positive feedback will reinforce the work you do going forward. If you answered no, you need to adjust course.
One of the pillars of Agile is getting feedback quickly - more quickly than the old days of a typical Waterfall methodology. The quicker you can roll out new products, the quicker you’ll receive feedback from your customers. This feedback loop/cycle can help you adjust your operations to meet user needs with a valuable product.
The development team should be delivering value to the customers day in and day out. The goal is to create a minimum viable product - the product you can take to market and be successful with, with the least amount of features. It is all about value realization and recouping the expense of building the software. The quicker you can get a product to the market that brings in revenue, the better off everyone will be.
No Such Thing As “Halfway”
There is no such thing as partial work in the Scrum framework. When you start a Sprint, you intend to complete User Stories and must finish them for the Sprint to be a success. It is important to finish every Sprint you start. In Scrum, you often operate from one Sprint to the next. What you finish in a Sprint is a measure of the success of your team. Focus on small, manageable chunks of work and drive to finish them rather than trying to manage a large work-in-progress queue.
Here at ClearlyAgile we are Scrum enthusiasts. We teach, train and coach organizations of all shapes and sizes on the principles of Agile and Scrum.
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