Using extremely short sprints for small teams

Today we are experimenting with 1 day sprints as an attempt to clear a large backlog of product work and client related work. During our last retrospective we noticed that there was at least one interruption each day during the sprint and while they were small, it’s still proving the point that when your development team is supporting existing clients, an interruption is only a phone call or support email away.To put a bit of history around why we’re trying this, we have a small team where I work.  We used to be split between product development and support/implementation groups and now we are one team working towards the same goals.   Even though we have been operating as one team for a few weeks now the support/implementation folks are still handling all of the support/implementation related work while the product developers focus on bugs/features/improvements.

There are a few problems with this but the main ones are:

  1. product team isn’t exposed to REAL client feedback/issues
  2. Implementation team gets bogged down with client requests
  3. less team-wide knowledge sharing (read: specialists)

We had been operating in 2 week sprints and when you are supporting existing clients you can’t really tell them it’ll take 2 – 4 weeks for any request they submit.  As a result we re-prioritze often (which is good) but it’s definitly not in the spirit of sticking to Scrum (which is bad).

So here we are at day 1 and the plan is:

  1. 15 minute planning session
  2. 1 ‘daily’ standup (5 minutes at ‘mid-sprint’)
  3. 15 minute retrospective and sprint review

This is going to be tough on everyone and there was some resistance to trying this method from the team but after a discussion they were willing to give it a shot which is great.  At first the phrase “it’s impossible to do anything in 1 day” was thrown around quite a bit but I think they will realize very quickly there isn’t much of  difference between 1 day sprints and 2 week sprints, you simply scale everything down to fit.

I expect some interesting results and would love to hear from others who have tried this method.  Leave me a comment!