Stumbled my way through leading a Sprint review for our Intranet Portal project. I felt a bit unprepared as I hadn’t even bothered to make nice slides of the 14 product backlog items we completed. (I just read off the 3×5 index cards I pulled off our Sprint board that morning) To top it off I hadn’t checked the site the day before and it turns out the search feature still wasn’t working as we hadn’t set the indexing spider off crawling the site. Whoops, that was part of our Sprint goal.
Still the review went remarkably well for one primary reason. We finally had the product owner, an editor in our Communications department, drive the actual review. The buy-in you get when your customer actually drives the demonstration is priceless. I hadn’t experienced this on one of our projects, because I’ve never gotten to run a Scrum project officially. The business owners have continued to largely follow our broken waterfall methodology and we’ve just run the project as a Scrum project sans a participating project owner.
To top it off the product owner had only worked with Websphere’s Content Management system for a few days and suffice it to say it is quirky and a poor example of software usability. The fact that he did a fine job of adapting to it gives us more faith that we’ll have some luck rolling it out to 30 or so content authors across the company, given a healthy dose of training and support.
The other nice side effect is the team is gelling a lot better now than when we started two months ago. An earlier attempt at getting the intranet relaunch ended with the customers and the developers at almost polar opposites and truly distrusting each others motives. In two short months we’ve been able to repair things and we’re collaborating again, not fighting pitched battles over how many colors to use on each page.