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Transitioning to One-Week Sprints

Agile / Scrum

13 May, 2020

Stefan Gruber, VP of Engineering at Bitmovin, shares his experience of transitioning from two-week to one-week sprints.

Problem

Working in an Agile environment is all about finding out what works best for you and your team and what will result in better productivity and greater impact. While two-weeks sprints are becoming the norm, everything from a week to a month-long sprint is doable as the ideal sprint length varies from team to team. We were keen to introduce one-week sprints but were not sufficiently prepared for what this transition brought.
 

Actions taken

While we were operating in two-week sprints, we were aware that many teams are trying out different sprint lengths. After thinking it through, we have decided that a shortened one-week cycle would be beneficial for our team as it would reduce the feedback time and receive faster response time from the marketplace. This was the main reason to do it at my new job as well -- to make everything faster, have more releases, have more opportunities for continuous improvement, and eventually launch the product faster.
 

We rushed to introduce one-week sprints but weren’t properly prepared for it. Initially, we were really struggling due to our lack of preparedness but over time we learned to adjust. In the end, things were really running smoothly, we benefited from this transition and everyone was glad that we did it.
 

I was not pleased with our level of preparedness as we were approaching the transition. We failed to anticipate most of the technical hurdles and potential problems and had to work them out as they come.
 

Lessons learned

  • Transitioning from two-week to one-week sprints is an important change that requires solid preparation. Preparation should include planning in advance and thinking about all the consequences this change will bring. Instead of being tempted to just try it, try it but with proper preparations. A list containing all the anticipated situations, problems, technical hurdles, difficulties on organizational and personnel level should be in place before you start your transition.
  • Preparations should include talking to the team, explaining in advance the reasons for transitioning and hearing teams’ opinions. During the process, do regular reviews and retros and try to get the team’s feedback as early as possible. The sooner you get feedback, the sooner you will be able to adjust the process. Shrinking sprints to one week will also provide you with more opportunities to discuss problems and generally improve performance.

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