We are proud to say that we have finally cracked the “web support”. After couple years in this business we have tried pretty much everything there is to try and now we believe we have found the silver bullet. The answer is very simple – agile scrum.
Agile Scrum provides a framework for iterative development which we found to be a perfect fit for the majority of web support needs. I will not talk what agile scrum is, rather I will explain how we use it and what you need to know before working with us.
So cutting to the chase, here goes the steps that you will normally encounter if you will hire us to do your web support.
1. First backlog planning meeting
This is the initial discussion between you and our support manager, this is where you will provide initial information required for the work to commence and possibly as much of the tasks that you can think of.
2. Sprint planning meeting
This meeting takes place every week, normally at the beginning of the week, this is where we will decide what items from the backlog should be done the upcoming week (sprint).
3. During the sprint
During the sprint our support team will take items from the sprint list and move them to the in progress list, they will move them one by one in the order that they will be working on them. This is where they will ask you more questions about the items and probably ask to clarify or test some things before declaring them as completed.
Once the developer will complete the task he or she will drag the task item over to “Done” list.
4. Sprint review meeting
This review meeting normally happens the same day the sprint planning meeting does – usually during the same call, but this goes first before the sprint planning.
During this meeting/call/chat our support manager will go through the items in the “Done” list and will ask you to either confirm that they are really done or to provide feedback if there is something that you think is not done yet and will move that item back to the backlog with your feedback attached.
Furthermore, support admin will send you a timesheet with the list of tasks and time spent on each of them for the sprint, so you could track your expenses.
After having the review of the tasks done the previous week (sprint) normally during the same call we will plan the tasks for the next week, again will take tasks from the back log and move to the sprint to do list. Which will put in motion our development team and the rest of the cycle. You are welcome to update the backlog and add/remove/edit the items there at your convenience or at any of the meetings.
6. Best practices
While using this method for several clients, we have encountered few best practises that we would like to share.
1. Set the budget that you are willing to spend – having a ballpark figure that you are able to spend on web support will allow you to better track/prioritise items once you will get a hang of the process and also it allows us to provide better advice on some features or functionality, even though everything is possible, sometimes knowing the budget helps us to help you to trim down the functionality to achieve same effect and save you some money in the process.
2. Do meetings at the beginning of the week – while we are available all the time, we found that it works best when we have sprint review and planning meetings at the beginning of the week, as it helps to keep the sprints in nice weekly increments.
3. Keep the meetings short – the average meeting is about 20 minutes long and even though it seems strange at first, the clients that we work with for 15-20 sprints in a row actually prefer that. During the week we will ask all the questions that we need so spending a lot of time for one meeting and trying to talk through every single issue has proven to be inefficient.
7. How this looks in action
Here is a screenshot from an active engagement. We manage the process in basecamp and this screenshot will allow you to see the template that we have grown to love.
8. More information on scrum
To learn more about scrum feel free to contact us or read up on it here