Content sprinting – part three

Fees and funding web content - show and tell
The show and tell for our latest sprint was held virtually, via Skype.

The third part of digital officer Charlotte Brewer’s series on content sprinting.

This post was actually written a while ago. We planned to release it as part of our series on ‘Content Sprinting’. Thelockdown started. Hitting the publish button fell down the list of priorities. 

Despite lockdown, and despite everyone working from home and all the challenges that has broughtwe’re actually still working in exactly the same way. We’re still sprinting. We’re still doing everything we did before. Everything in this blog post remains accurate. The only difference is that all our meetings and our conversations are via Skype.  

On to the blog post! 

Previously on Content Sprinting series… Part one defined the concept of sprints and how we plan. Part two captures the day-to-day life on a sprint. This post looks at getting to the finishing line of the sprint… 

Completing the work 

At the end of the sprint we have a sprint review (or show and tell) and a sprint retro. This happens whether we have completed the tasks or not.   

Sprint review

The sprint review (or show and tell) involves presenting our work to the sponsor, subject matter experts, stakeholders and wider team members. Depending on the nature of the sprint, we report back key findings or show off the work we have done. In a previous sprint, this included a visualisation of just how large and unwieldy our website is.   

The sponsor can then take our work away, look through it and decide what they want to do next. This could be to ask the project board for another sprint. It could be they conduct user testing that we have set up. It could be to draw up a strategy or roadmap for their particular workstream.   

Sprint retrospective

After the sprint review comes the sprint retrospective. This is where we talk about: 

  • things that we should continue 
  • things that we should stop  
  • things that we should start doing 

I’ve worked in other sprint teams at other organisations before and this part has often felt a little bit of a waste of time. It felt like we were saying the same things. Every. Single. Time.  

In this team, however, it feels much more useful. At every retro we say how we all like working in this way. However, we also come up with things we want to change. And we actually make those changes!   

We highlighted the fact that sprint planning meetings had felt unproductive. We identified things that might make them more productive. We then put these suggestions into practice and the planning sessions have now felt much more productive.  

These retros are designed to be open, a place where we can honestly speak. Another thing raised as a thing to stop doing was ‘to stop talking over each other’. Being able to raise this potentially controversial issue helped us recognise this problem. It has helped us be more aware when we are contributing our own ideas and thoughts. This has allowed us to share and hear a range of suggestions, which can only benefit our work.   

We had another retrospective last weekAgain we came away really positive about how we were now working. But why is this way of working so darn good? Read my next sprint blog post to find out… coming soon. 

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