Today my next two weeks of vacation started. It's on Tuesday from now on because I aligned my vacation schedule with my companies sprints. That's better now because I'm not absent any more on the Sprint demo and retrospective of the sprint I've been present and also do not have to spend a day with demo and retro of a sprint where I haven't been present at all.
On this first vacation day I've been helping with the vintage of some relatives almost all day. Luckilly for us the weather today and in the last few days has been very good so that today we did not have to work in mud and dirt but instead had to put off our jackets because the temperatures were that high. And with vintage comes every time free catering :)
This Sprint was an unusual one for our team. Firstly most of our team is on vacation and furthermore we're dealing with a project in an area where we have never worked before. Luckilly the project manager for this new project is very helpful and gave us enough assistance that we could handle the planned parts for the project better than we thought.
As of now there should only be minor work left for tomorrow and we expect to be finished with it by tomorrow afternoon which is much better than all our expectations. So today we began with estimation meetings to add some additional work to the current sprint. This is not exactly following Scrum but fits our business needs, boosts our sprint productivity and just does make sense.
I do not know where this excellent productivity originates. One possibility could be that we just overestimated the upcoming work at Sprint-start because we never did something in that direction. Or it could be because the project manager prepared and helped us much more than any other in the past. Admittedly he's much more into the technical stuff then our other project managers. Or it could just be coincidence.
Nevertheless. In my opinion in this sprint I've been much more productive compared to many of the past sprints, except the ones where I've been assigned to another team. I personally think that the reason for my improved performance is that I and a colleague did quite strong and effective Pair Programming. We did that at my computers where my setup allowed us to work on a single screen and computer using two keyboards and mouses. It enabled us to instantly switch the active/passive roles if needed every few seconds. I haven't been that concentrated for quite some time. Also I think if you work together it's the same thing as in sports where you motivate each other.
What I also changed this sprint is that I tried to manage the tasks I take over with Eclise Mylyn. When I started with it it was not very comfortable but after some time, I think one or two days, I got used to it and development became more fluent and I was able to better focus to the task at hand. What helped me with the start was reading some introductory literature like the Mylyn 2.0 Tutorial (still highly relevant even if Mylyn is already at version 3.2) and watching the Mylyn 3.0 video presentation by Mik Kersten. My experiences with Mylyn will be content of another posting some time in the future. Just two things I think which are very important: Create mylyn tasks for issues or other workable topics as soon as they cross your mind and try to keep them focussed and small, maybe so that they can be done in not more than two to three hours. You can group them to larger tasks later.
I'm very curious how the feedback after this sprint from the project managers and development leaders will be and also from the other members of my team. I also hope, that we can maintain a bit of the effectivity from this sprint in the future.