My very first (and last?) successful sprint

August 26, 2022
We didn't call it that then, but looking back, it certainly looked like one.

Long, long ago, in a land far far away… (I think it was 2010, in Kansas)

I experienced my first successful “sprint”. We didn’t call it that then, but looking back, it certainly looked like one.

At the time, I was on a team with two other software developers, building some spam filtering software. Our customers had been clamoring for a new feature: an email quarantine box. The three of us on the team had been asking for the “privilege” of working from home one day per week.

We struck a compromise with management:

We could all work from home for three weeks, as an experiment, if we could deliver the quarantine feature in that time frame–our “Sprint goal”. During the three-week sprint, we were in daily communication with each other (via our company IRC channel!)

So how did it go?

Pretty well, actually. We worked some pretty long days, in true sprinting fashion. But we also successfully delivered a working version of the feature within the time alloted.

I look back fondly at those three weeks. Although it was fairly intense, it also was a great time of camaraderie. And while it was worth it, it was absolutely not sustainable.

The sad part? Since then, I’ve never seen another sprint go so well, even on teams doing them intentionally.

Share this

Related Content

No running!

By calling iterations "Sprints", Scrum implies a need for constant running. Don't be fooled.

"Agile" isn't about delivering every sprint

Frequently delivering software, but not considering feedback on how to improve, isn't agile.

Reader question: Alternatives to Story Points for Sprint planning

My opinion is that days are usually better than story points, for the simple reason that they're less confusing.