Mid-sprint review

The three teams I’m working with are on 2-week sprints; today and tomorrow marks halfway through their first sprints, so I did a brief mid-sprint review with two of the teams (the third team are doing theirs tomorrow). I introduced each team to the objective, which is for the team to look at the remaining work and any impediments then discuss any concerns they have about completing their committed stories in time for the Review, then opened it up for discussion.

Both teams (and I’m sure the third team) are concerned that the lack of a dedicated test environment is becoming critical. This impediment has been escalated and the teams have done what they can to work around it, but it’s fast approaching the point at which there won’t be time for the teams to complete all their testing. The IT department are working on rebuilding the server, and obviously they have other teams placing demands on them too, but it’s important that the people who set their priorities understand the implications – we don’t necessarily know the urgency of other work, so we can say we should be #1 but we can make sure we make our case as best we can.

Other concerns included getting clarification from experts outside the team (again, they have other demands of their time), the scope of testing for small, isolated code changes (can’t we limit the scope of testing more?), and a low priority support issue which they had committed to resolve in this sprint even though it’s not required until the end of the next sprint. Team members took responsibility to follow up on these items, and I suspect they’re already resolved.

One item which we’ll discuss in the teams’ Retrospectives, I’m sure, is the introduction of additional stories after the sprint started. It’s possible that both teams will struggle to complete all their stories, so the Product Owner (who was part of the mid-sprint review) is forewarned, and we took this opportunity to ensure the priorities are clear to everyone.

Even though they may not complete all the work on their task board, I still think the teams are doing really well – I was pleased to see people volunteer to get issues resolved, as well as the open discussion about the teams’ progress and performance. Obviously it’s important that the teams deliver completed stories but it’s also important that they grow as a team and improve the way they work, and I’m very optimistic in this regard.