That all sounds nice, you might be thinking, but when do we get to the part where we actually get stuff done? That’s where the Sprint comes in. A Sprint is a short development cycle – it might be as short as a week or two on a very small project and even on the largest, most complex project, probably won’t be longer than a couple of months. A small project may have as little as just one Sprint, although most projects will have at least a few and bigger projects could have lots.
At the beginning of a new Sprint, you’ll work with your consultant to decide which User Stories from the Backlog to address during the Sprint. You are in the driver’s seat and get to pick the things that are most important to you. Usually your consultant will give you some guidance about how many items you can choose. They’ll set a target number of points per Sprint, then tell you how many points each Story in you Backlog is worth. You get to pick Stories until your allotment of points for the Sprint is used up. While it should ultimately be your decision which Stories are addressed in each Sprint (up to however many the Sprint can accommodate), you should expect to get plenty of input from your consultants to help you make choices that not only address your business priorities, but also make efficient use of your project budget.
Example: Suppose that when you receive a donation that is to be divided among several different uses, you enter it as multiple smaller donations (e.g. a $1500 donation might be entered as three donations of $500, one for the scholarship fund, one for the capital campaign, and one for the general fund). We’ll create two User Stories to reflect these steps.
In this example, you’ll want a list of new donations over $1000 and another that would simplify your data entry so earmarks can be specified from within a single donation entry.
If the User Story to simplify data entry has not yet been addressed and you ask to include the list of large donations, your consultant should suggest to you that it will be simpler (and therefore less expensive for you) to address the simplification User Story first.
If you address the large donation list first, the system would need to look not only at large donations, but also to check smaller donations and try to figure out if there are any groups of smaller donations that really represent a single larger donation that reaches the $1000 threshold. This is harder and will take your consultant more time to accomplish (time that you’ll be billed for), than the simpler task of just finding all large donations as would be sufficient if you simplify data entry first.
The important thing to remember is that you are always in the driver’s seat.
Just because the User Stories would be easier (and cheaper) to address in a different order, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the order you have to choose. If you have an urgent business need which means you’d rather spend a little more to complete the more complex version of the large donation list first, that’s certainly an option. However, if you’d rather save your budget for something else, our consultants can help you figure out which modifications can wait a little longer.
Once you’ve finalized the list of User Stories for the Sprint, your consultants will get to the development work. They’ll likely be in frequent communication and, as they complete each story, will ask you to take some time to test the new functionality to verify that it meets your goal. Once all the User Stories in the Sprint are done and you’ve verified them, your consultant will make them active in your real system.