Agile Development:
Cadence

Description

'Cadence' refers to the pace, rhythm, and recurring themes of a march or other piece of music. The cadence of an Agile team revolves around its schedule of meetings, large and small. Daily standups, weekly demos, monthly retrospectives... all contribute to (or detract from!) the team's communication, feedback, and cohesion.



 Slides

Cadence

'Cadence' refers to the pace, rhythm, and recurring themes of a march or other piece of music.

The cadence of an Agile team revolves around its schedule of meetings, large and small.

The timing, recurrence, agendas and durations of these meeting all contribute greatly to the team's sense of cohesion, and provide regular touchpoints for feedback, communicatio and adjustment.

Standup

Frequency: Daily

Duration: 10-15 minutes max

Goals:

  • be together, make eye contact, remember you are a team
  • ask for help on current/upcoming work
  • inform team of interesting news
    • (only if there's time!)
  • if discussions start, pick a time to finish them later
    • "Parking Lot" technique

Iteration Planning

Frequency: Weekly (depending on iteration length)

Duration: 1-2 hours

Goals:

  • track velocity
  • groom backlog
  • write upcoming stories
  • estimate effort, cut scope, specify technical tasks
  • identify risks and unknowns
  • plan for (unestimated!) bugs and chores, to pay down technical debt

Story Demo/Acceptance/Rejection

Frequency: at least Weekly

Duration: as short as possible, but don't skimp

Goals:

  • demonstrate individual stories, recently implemented and theoretically ready to ship
  • developers seek feedback; clients give feedback
  • correct misunderstandings and compare hopes with reality
  • others can look for bugs & edge cases & global concerns (like performance or accessibility or marketing)
  • determine if story is really done, or needs more work
    • remember, rejection is not failure! it's feedback
    • if it's partially ready, or scope or effort is larger than anticipated, then consider spinning off a new story for the remainder in the backlog, and move this story forward
  • if acceptance is done on the fly (e.g. one-on-one at desk), then don't forget to schedule a group demo too, for other team members

Retrospective

Frequency: at least monthly, weekly is better, and/or after significant events like a major release or a team reorg

Duration: usually 1-2 hours

Goals:

  • continuously improve the process itself
  • focus on process, not individual features
  • step outside the daily grind and think about...
    • What's working?
    • What's not working?
    • What's confusing or mysterious?
    • Are we accomplishing our goals (communication, feedback, testing, sustainable pace, etc.)?

Link: Agile Retrospectives book

Other cadence elements

  • pairing up (daily, usually after standup)
  • test - code - refactor cycle (TDD)
  • long-term planning / roadmapping (to involve non-devs, e.g. business analysts, marketing & PR, etc.)
  • quarterly or annual retreats, for entire department
  • more...?



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