Jan 24

SUMO Development Update 2012.1

First SUMO development update of 2012.

SUMO Dev goes agile

Inspired by the MDN Dev team, the SUMO Dev team decided to try an agile-style planning process in 2012.

To be fair, we have always been pretty agile, but perhaps we were more on the cowboy side than the waterfall side. We planned our big features for the quarter and worked towards that. Along the way, we picked up (or were thrown) lots of other bugs based on the hot issue of the day or week, contributor requests, scratching our own itch, etc. These bugs ended up taking time away from the major features we set as goals and, in some cases, ended up delaying them. This new process should help us become more predictable.

Starting out by copying what MDN has been doing for some time now, we are doing two week sprints. We will continue to push out new code weekly for now, so it is kind of weird in that each sprint has two two milestones within it. We will continue to name the milestones by the date of the push (ie, "2012-01-24" for today's push) and we are naming sprints as YEAR.sprint_number (ie, "2012.1" was our first sprint). We hope to will be doing continuous deployment soon. At that point we will only have to track one milestone (the sprint) at a time. For more details on our process, check out our Support/SUMOdev Sprints wiki page.

2012.1 sprint

We just pushed the second half of our first sprint to production. Some data:

  • Closed Stories: 26
  • Closed Points: 34
  • Developer Days: 36
  • Velocity: .94 pts/day

Our major focus of this sprint was getting our Elastic Search implementation (we are in the process of switching from Sphinx) to the point where we can index and start rolling it out to users. After today's push, we will find out whether this is working properly. *fingers crossed* (UPDATE: we did hit an issue with the indexing.)

Other stuff we landed:

  • Initial support for the apps marketplace. Basically, a landing page and a question workflow that integrates with zendesk for 1:1 help.
  • KPI (Key Performance Indicator) Dashboard. We landed the first chart which displays % of solved questions (it has a math bug in it that will get fixed in the next push).
  • Some minor UI fixes and improvements.

2012.2 sprint

We are currently halfway through our second sprint. Our main goals with this sprint are to get Elastic Search out to 15% of our users and to add a bunch of new metrics charts to the KPI Dashboard.

In my opinion, this new planning process is going well so far. The product team has better insight into what the dev team is up to day to day. And the dev team has better sense about what the short term priorities are. Probably the most awesome thing about it is that we are collecting lots of great data. The part I have liked the least so far has been the actual planning sessions, I end up pretty tired after those. I think it just needs a little getting used to and it is only 1-2 hours every two weeks.

:-)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.

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