Archive for category lonelyplanet.com

Card Equaliser


Team says: “A cool way to visualise the output of each iteration.”

What to do with cards after an iteration is finished?
Tear them up? Spike them? Leave them on the bus?
How about turning them into a ‘card equaliser’?

The idea behind this hack is to give a visual representation of the cards signed off in each sprint.
The card colours represent bugs, features, BAU support and tech stories.  By arranging them on a spare wall according to colour groupings it’s easy to see how many cards and of what type have been signed off each sprint.  For example, feature cards, defects, and tech cards. And you can see how this changes over time.

It’s also immediately apparent whether the main activity has been skewed towards one area.  It takes it’s name from it’s similarity to the display of a graphic equaliser.

Like this:

Just by walking past, it’s easy to learn a lot about this team’s work:

So.. what this board is telling me is …

… this team pumped out a lot of features in a short time then faced down some serious technical debt and some outstanding defects.

Here’s another card equaliser, this time from the Lonely Planet web site team.

Spotted: lonelyplanet.com website and mobile development teams.

 

Here’s another variant, from a different source. Might be useful if you don’t have a lot of space:

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A card spike


Katie's unicorn spike.

Katie says: “There’s something really satisfying about spiking the completed cards at the end of each iteration”.

Here’s another take on what to do with the cards once the iteration is complete – stick them on a custom-made giant spike and top it off with a unicorn!

It’s important for a team to recognise the progress that they’ve made over a series of iterations.  Watching the cards rise higher and higher up the spike is satisfying and a visual indicator of how much work the team has done.

Spotted: lonelyplanet.com website development team

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Release Readiness Traffic Lights


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Nick says: “The first time we did this, it helped us to get our release success rate up. It was a long road, but this was one thing which helped.”

We were working on a sprawling web site made up of 22 separate applications which may or may not need to change for a particular release. The release would bring work by 2 to 4 teams to production. As we moved to biweekly releases, we needed a way to see exactly how our preparations for release were going. Is regression testing complete? Did we pass load testing?

So we decided on what our criteria were for a release to be good-to-go, and made each criterion a traffic light which could be red or green. This included a “stop the line” light which developers could turn to red at any time if they felt the release was too risky.

Each day, from three days out til release, we would stand around the release readiness traffic lights after morning standups were over and discuss the status of each light (“is that really green?”), and agree on actions to get to green.

Spotted: lonelyplanet.com website development team

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If it’s a Release Bus, where does it stop?


The LP website team's release bus map.

Team Says: “We were sick of the confusion about which apps to deploy each release.  Our release manager knew the site backwards but as soon as he wasn’t around it all fell apart”.

The website is a large, complicated beast with many apps to be deployed behind the scenes to provide a single experience for the user.  A few times we forgot to release an app with the result that we broke something on the site. Also we needed everyone on the team to be aware of which parts of the system were going to change with each release.

The fix?  Since we already had a release bus, we made a bus route map.  Every app which runs the site is listed there, and a sticker gets placed over each app that the ‘bus’ needs to stop at during the release.  It’s a great visual that provides a checklist to use during the release, and also helps non-technical types understand how complex our website is.

Spotted: lonelyplanet.com website development team

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