We recently changed our sprint cadence with the rest of the organization, creating turbulence for in-flight projects, but aligning the engineering  planets. Let’s explore …

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In ALM Rangers dogfooding journal of the Team Foundation Service we introduced our monthly cadence in July 2012. Used by all Ranger project teams it created a predictable rhythm for the community and our engineering process. It allowed all Ranger teams to discuss past, current and future sprints and milestones with a common language. For example “we will shipping FY15/Sprint 25” was meaningful information … for the ALM Rangers community. Cadence + Synchronization = Predictability

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We managed to create a controlled environment, cadence, synchronization and control unpredictable events. Our less-than-perfect software engineering planet, populated by geographically distributed teams, made up of part-time volunteers, was predictable. However, we were not aligned with the broader engineering cadence of 3-weeks, as shown in the hypothetical example below. !(Cadence + Synchronization) = Unpredictable => Misaligned Planetsimage   

Regular, stakeholder-wide integration and synchronization were challenging and often confusing. Stakeholders using the 3-week cadence and associated milestones were understandably confused with the language “Project X will ship during sprint 30, which is either the end of sprint 76 or start of sprint 77”. Huh?

firefly_021(artwork loaned from   with permission from BBD)

So, on August 25th, after a very brief deliberation amongst scrum/ruck masters, we changed our future iterations from monthly, to 3-weeks. We are now aligned with all the other software engineering processes in terms of the rhythm, synchronization and resultant predictability. Cadence + Synchronization = Predictability

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Regular, stakeholder-wide integration and synchronization should now see clouds of confusion, replaced with smiles of predictability. I cannot wait to report “Project X will ship during sprint 77” at our next synchronization event. Simple!

Cadence + Synchronization = Predictability => Aligned Planets!

firefly_022(artwork loaned from  with permission from BBD)

BUT …

  • We will keep our monthly show and/or discuss events within the Rangers community for the time being, as they are easier to plan in a distributed and part-time community.
  • We will encounter and endure turbulence in projects, especially in times of sprint planning, mentorship and guidance … but these will fade as teams adapt.
  • We will have to accept the mismatch with our dogfooding an our process guidance, blog posts and checklists. The update of these is “on our backlog” Smile

… call to action!

? Thoughts? Candid feedback?
! We need your feedback and questions to fuel these discussions and help us improve our dogfooding program.

special thanks

Special thanks to the scrum/ruck masters and project leads of in-flight projects who support these responsive dogfooding innovations!