End of first project working within sprints

So, today I finished the user assistance on the first project where I worked within the sprint team. I need some more time to reflect on what I’ve learnt over this period and how I feel about going forward working in sprint teams. But, since I have to encourage others on the team to talk about what they’ve learnt over the last few weeks in our project review tomorrow, I thought I should at least make a cursory inspection of my initial thoughts.

Working in a sprint team has some benefits

  • Someone else was doing the admin of managing my backlog tasks. This saved me some time.
  • The team were more aware (not totally aware) of the work I was doing.
  • I had more knowledge of what the developers were working on, and was more comfortable approaching them and asking for information.
  • I got review tasks added to the backlog. This meant that people had time allocated them in the sprints to review my work.
  • My motivation was quite high to get work done when I said I was going to get it done, because others were waiting to review it. Previously, it was relatively easy to delay tasks I didn’t enjoy because no one had any visibility on my work.
  • It was easier to track whether I was on progress.

But there are some downsides

  • I never got all my tasks added into the backlog. I do a lot of tasks that don’t make a lot of sense to the rest of the team, and are hard to package into neat sounding tasks to go in the backlog. As such, I worked in a sprint for longer than my official allocated work would suggest.
  • Review days take a lot of time and its sometimes hard to feel them useful. Review meetings are fantastic chances to find where the project’s at, but the planning meetings can feel long. I think this might be because my tasks still sit on the periphery of the main work, so I don’t get involved with detailed task discussions.
  • I think it gives a false sense of confidence. An example being this week when I was explaining about finalising documents needed for the release. Despite the right people being in the daily stand-up, it just didn’t register with them. In the end, it caused the CD to be delayed a couple of hours. No big deal on this occasion, and things may improve in future. I now have some ideas for how to stop this happening again. It does make me wonder though, whether anyone understands what it is I actually do.
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