We’ve begun (several weeks ago) the process of completely redesigning the SearchWorks application. This site has been running for several years now on a primarily homegrown interface (i.e. a highly customized Blacklight UI). Given that the redesign is a dramatic departure from our current UI we’re approaching this from a fresh Blacklight install and porting over code when and where it makes sense as well as re-writing and/or re-organizing the rest.

We’re following a sprint model w/ a team of 3 developers that are devoting nearly 100% time. Our sprints are a week long and the schedule for a full sprint is roughly as follows.

  1. Friday: Future Sprint Theming/Planning
    • The product owner and development teams collaboratively decide a theme for the next sprint.
    • The development teams (and sometimes the product owner) pull issues from the backlog that will accomplish the sprint. This may require additional issues to be created or breaking down large feature issues into smaller actionable issues.
    • The development teams will then score the tickets. We’re using a fibonacci based scoring mechanism to assign level of effort to the ticket (this has been by far the most controversial part of the process).
  2. Tuesday - Thursday
    • 15 minute max standup with the development teams. The main purpose of the standup is for people to give a quick status update on what they’re working on and indicate any blockers they have or assistance they could use (i.e. pairing).
  3. Friday: End-of-sprint Demo
    • A large group is invited to view and end of sprint demo. This group includes the development teams, product owners, stakeholders, as well as other staff who are intimately involved with the project.
    • The demo is conducted as an On-Air Google Hangout and recorded to our youtube channel.
    • The demos can include anything from new features, improvements, to metrics and statistics.
  4. Friday End-of-sprint Retrospective
    • The development teams (and sometimes the product owner) will have a quick retrospective about the sprint.
    • Each developer will discuss what they thing went well and what didn’t go well during the sprint. We will also try and talk about what can be done to improve the following week.

After step 4 we go back to step 1 and create a theme for and plan the next sprint.

This sprint model has been working out really well for us so far. We’ve made an incredible amount of progress in our sprints and we’ve been refining our process over that time. I’ll post some more updates of the progress as we get ready to launch the new application to production.