The goal of a hackathon is to buckle down and create a product and/or complete a small project under time pressure (at //SEIBERT/MEDIA within 24 hours). The hackathon team alone plans and decides what kind of product or project to work on. We explained the reasons for regularly conducting hackathons in our agile organization in more detailed articles. On the one hand, we strive to create concrete and truly innovative solutions. On the other hand, we try to attain “soft” effects, such as promoting training, teamwork and personal responsibility and motivating our employees. Our latest hackathon took place in early July 2013. In the following chronological field report, we offer insight into the work of the team that designed and developed the EasyEvents Confluence plugin.
Complex IT projects are always subject to uncertainty. You must often deal with unclear conditions and changing priorities, are dependent on third-party systems and/or service providers, are using new technology and must face new requirements. That’s why it’s difficult to make professional, reliable estimates on company expenditures regardless of which project management method you use. Risks, however, are significantly lower in Scrum projects, because you always remain in complete control of the budget.
We are often contacted by customers with very rough, technical requirements lists for software projects. In cases like this, the first project step for //SEIBERT/MEDIA is to turn the customer’s requirements list into a product backlog that highlights how the customer benefits from the requirements. This is not a trivial task and requires time and resources. But why should the customer pay for this preparation work that has nothing to do with actually completing the project?
We’ve been using the agile framework Scrum to complete software development projects for almost four years now. Many Scrum elements also form the basis of our process model for continuously improving our organization. The internal label for our process is “Agile Org”. In one-month cycles, we think about things we want to change and work on them. The topics vary greatly from improving company strategy and forming more intensive customer relationships to internal issues like creating a good work-life balance.
In many teams, islands of knowledge are a major topic and great challenge. At the same time, team members ask themselves what areas they should continue improving and training in. This is where a “skill matrix” can provide a starting point for exchange within development teams. This aid helps you process and visualize:
The JIRA plugin Tempo Planner offers agile capacity and resource scheduling, team and project management, and business data for teams. It extends the JIRA platform by deeper agile planning and management specific features.