Sprinting with Agile

On 4th Sep 2015, Oracle Mumbai organized “Teach-It-Forward” an event to feature young OFSS employees who gave short talks on technology and functional knowledge. The event had some great talks on topics like MEAN Stack, Mobile Banking, Preparing for PMP, Bitcoin etc. I was also asked to give a small talk for the session. I chose to speak on Agile Methodology.

Agile is a customer focused software development methodology in which a big project is subdivided in small mini projects. One or more such mini projects are completed in an iteration lasting two to three weeks long. What results is a partially usable product for the business owner, which can be then taken to end users.

An emails for the event was sent out to all OFSS staff a few days before the event with names and order of all the speakers. I was the first speaker in the list. I was quiet nervous as I presumed I had to open the event with my talk. But it turned out, on the day of the event the order was changed and I was placed as the last speaker. I was a little relieved by this news. The event was scheduled post lunch and I was going to go last on stage. I knew I had to put in some extra efforts to keep the audiences interested. So instead of giving a routine presentation using a ppt, which almost all the participants in the event did before me. I thought of engaging the audience by running them through a complete cycle of an Agile project.

I asked a friend of mine to video record my talk so that I can see how it went and where I can improve. Since I have shot this using a smart phone the audio and video quality might be a little poor. Here is the link to my talk. Do share you thought and ideas on the content and my presentation.

Sprinting with Agile


Agile Startup

Navin Bansal a young IT professional was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. He submits his idea in an ideation contest conducted by NASCOM. He is misinformed that his idea has reached the final round of an ideation contest. He takes the leap of faith and quits his job to start his start up. He realizes for him to be successful he needs to roll out his product at the earliest. He decides to adopt Agile methodology so that he can get a customer focused product in the shortest amount time. Agile develops products in an iterative manner. With each iteration called Sprint a potentially shippable product is delivered to the client.

Navin hires Yogi to execute his project. Yogi as a Product Owner of an Agile team discusses requirements with Navin and documents them in a product backlog. A product backlog is a repository for all the requirements to be worked upon in Agile. They outline the project timelines and priorities for the project this is called as backlog grooming. Requirements in Agile are called User stories because they are focused on what the customer wants.

Yogi brings in Scrum Master Jitu and his team to develop the product. Yogi and Jitu conduct a sprint planning meeting with the scrum team. Yogi explains the sprints goal to the team. The team reviews and prioritizes the product backlog. Jitu decides which user story fits the current sprint and moves the product backlog into a sprint backlog. A sprint backlog defines the scope of the sprint. The scrum team is a heterogeneous group. It consists of both developers and quality analyst. With everything in place the team gets working.

Everyday during the sprint cycle Jitu conducts a Daily Standup Meeting with the scrum team to monitor their progress. They discuss three key points. What the team did yesterday? What they will be doing today? And what hindered their work? Jitu sees to it that all the impediments are resolved so that the team can work smoothly. Jitu tracks the team’s progress in a Sprint Brundown Graph. He shares it with the team during the daily standup meeting so that the team knows where they are and what they need to do to meet the sprints goal in the given timeline. With each day’s work the teams efforts increase while as the user stories are completed the sprint backlog decreases. When all the work for the sprint is complete it is presented to Navin in an End of Sprint Review.

Navin was happy with the work and signs it off. The partly completed yet usable product is launched in the market. Navin and Yogi then meet with Navin’s customers and seek feedback. They approach Saurabh Mandal a marketing expert to review their product and give them inputs on user experience. The suggestions of the customer and Mandal are documented as new requirements for the upcoming sprint in the product backlog.

Yogi conducts a Retrospective meeting with Jitu and his scrum team. In this meeting Yogi shares the customer feedback with the team. The scrum team also discusses what went well during the sprint and what can be improved for the next sprint. This completes the first sprint and Yogi and Jitu start working with on the next sprint. With complition of each new sprint Navin is one step closer to his finished product.

Using Agile methodology Navin drastically reduces the time to market for his product. Since Navin can take only a part of his product and go to his customers, it gives him a confidence that what he envisioned is what his customer wants. Even with only a small part of the product Navin can start generating revenue for his start up. For a young starup revenue is a desperately needed lifeline.

Navin, Yogi, Jitu and Mandal are characters from one of my favorite internet show “The Pitchers.” The show is about four guys who quit their jobs, to set out on path of entrepreneurship. It’s an amazingly humors drama which I enjoy thoroughly. The show is broadcasted on tvfplay.com. I hope that you too enjoy the show as much as I have.