blog

12021-01-17

SEAN K.H. LIAO

software development

So me, fresh out of school, interviewing for jobs, and I inevitably get asked which software development processes I've experienced / liked, and all I can do is :shrug:.

Anyway, got a job and I'm shown Jira with a whole backlog of tickets filed as: bugs, spikes, tasks, stories, and epics. Their names are sort of self evident, though noone explained what exactly they are, and suddenly my calendar gets a bunch of recurring meetings scheduled :sad noises:.

what we actually do

Oh what are all these: sprint planning, daily standups, refinement, backlog grooming, retrospectives, product owner, scrum master. Our sprints are 2 weeks, some of these ceremonies only happen every 2 sprints. We also only really plan for a half full sprint every time, with the expectation that we will have emergencies that need to be handled sooner rather than later. This does mean our "burndown" chart looks more like a sine wave, even over just 2 weeks. Our boss == product owner, though only half of the external requests come through him, and I've only seen our scrum master twice during retrospectives, maybe they're doing important behind the scenes work but I wouldn't know about it.

Jira is slow af, and our use of the different ticket types are only loosely enforced: spikes for timeboxed investigations of new tech, tasks for things that need to be maintained (updates, migrations), stories for implementing new tech, epics ... occasionally one gets created and people attach other tickets to it. Sadly, having a centralised place for tickets means tickets are disassociated with code.

Since we manage quite a few things, our sprints are never really focused, and dependencies limit the related tasks that can be done in parallel. Our work is a continuous stream of improvements that goes live as soon as we're done. Based on reading, I would think scrumban would be a slightly better description what we do.

What does this all mean to me? To be honest, I treat it as: I'm done with the previous thing, I choose the next ticket from the available pool and try not to think too much about everything else, except maybe not starting a big ticket on the last day of a sprint.