Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Power of the Retrospective

After over a year developing a number of EPiServer projects we finally managed to get everyone in one room and do the retrospective. It was great to realize that actually EPiServer team is not so small anymore and that the people did lots of cool stuff over a last few months.

But first things first ... what is a retrospective? It's a special meeting which is held to discus the previous iterations and during which people should try to find ways to improve process in future. Retrospective meetings are actually quite fundamental part of agile software development process which should evolve and improve with each iteration.

We did quite high level review of all our EPiServer projects and it was very positive that people didn't complain much about EPiServer itself. Of course, we had to deal with a number of issues (like performance) but in the end we managed to overcome all the problems. Not surprisingly the most difficult part was communication between clients and developers. Usually when people say something like this, they think about communicating requirements to the developers ... and they are right, but ... in many cases problems were also on our side. We haven't done the best job in terms of showing the client how to use our page types, custom properties and so on. That's something which we definitely need to improve. It's a challenge to document the page types in a way which is friendly to the end user. (How do you deal with this problem in your projects?)

Thanks to this meeting we were able to identify top priority problems which need to be solved but also it was a great opportunity to share knowledge. It's literally impossible to be up-to-date with all the ongoing projects within the Cognifide therefore it's quite often the case that some really cool stuff implemented in one project can be used in another one but people simply don't know about it. Retrospective meetings are the key to raise people awareness about 'already solved problems' and warm up internal communication.

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