Blog

Achieve The Unthinkable using Hyper-Sprints

20 Jan, 2016

2015-06-25 12:38:41 AMSTERDAM - Wereldkampioen sprint Dafne Schippers poseert naast de Nuna 7S van het Nuon Solar Team. De atlete neemt het in Olympisch Stadion op tegen het Nuon Solar Team, de wereldkampioen zonneracen. Het Nuon Solar Team doet dit ter voorbereiding op het verdedigen van de wereldtitel zonneracen half oktober in AustraliÎ. ANP REMKO DE WAAL auto dafne het neemt op schippers tegen zonne ORG XMIT: 33177940

2015-06-25 AMSTERDAM – Wereldkampioen sprint Dafne Schippers poseert naast de Nuna 7S van het Nuon Solar Team. De atlete neemt het in Olympisch Stadion op tegen het Nuon Solar Team, de wereldkampioen zonneracen. Projecten zoals Nuna en Forze worden door Hardware Scrum coaches van Xebia begeleid.


In my opinion, the best indicator how “agile” teams actually are, is their sprint length.  The theory says 2-4 weeks. To be honest, as an agile coach, this doesn’t feel agile all the time.
Like I wrote in one of my previous posts, in my opinion the ultimate form of agility is nature. Nature’s sprint length seems to vary from billions of years how the universe is created to a fraction of a second how matter is formed.
Of course, it’s nonsense stating we could end up in sprints of just a few nano-seconds.  But on the other hand, we see our society is speeding up dramatically. Where a service or product could take years before it went to market a couple of years ago, now it can be a matter of days, even hours.  Think about the development of disruptive apps and technology like Uber and 3D-printing.
In these disruptive examples a sprint length of 2 weeks can be a light year.  Even in Scrum we can be trapped in our patterns here. Why don’t we experiment with shorter sprint lengths?  All agile rituals are relative in time; during build parties and hackathons I often use sprints of only 30 or 60 minutes; 5 mins for planning, 45 mins for the sprint, 5 mins for the review/demo, 5 mins for the retrospective.  Combined with a fun party atmosphere and competition, this creates a hyper-productive environment.
Try some hyper sprinting next to your regular sprints. You’ll be surprised how ultra-productive and fun they are. For example, it enables your team to build a car in just an afternoon. Enjoy!

guest
4 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Simon
Simon
6 years ago

The concept of two weeks implies amortising some fixed costs such as planning, design, implementation, integration, testing and deployment over a unit of work. Teams that vary the size of the sprint are trying to make the more efficient. What happens if you have continuous integration, automated regression testing, and continuous deployment? The back-end costs of the sprint delivery are zeroed so you can have different tickets deployed when they are ready. Then you are left with the front-end costs of design and implementation which require synchronised communication and context switching to share code and plan work. The “build for reuse” and “share everything by default” creates coupling. The drive towards microservices is to decouple activities that share as little as possible to decouple and desynchronise the start of spring activities; start when you are ready and deploy by a button when your done. Then who needs a sprint on implementation manage the bottlenecks and outiers using Kanban. Retain a sprint layout with your stakeholders if that helps keep cadence, tempo and scheduling consistent with them about turn your software factory into a work pull kanban system when work is deployed when it is done with no concept of a formal sprint window.

Andrew Phillips
Andrew Phillips
6 years ago

> Like I wrote in one of my previous posts, in my opinion the ultimate form of agility is nature.
If that is the case, would you say Agile is best suited to “local optimization” problems of the kind that nature seems to be very good at solving? If so, (how) does Agile allow for the implementation of disruptive innovation?
In nature, “step changes” in innovation generally require rather cataclysmic external events, with very few players that were dominant before the step change succeeding afterwards. I suspect that is a pattern that today’s successful enterprises would very much like to avoid..? 😉

Explore related posts