This past week, my development team in my Software Development capstone completed our third and final Scrum sprint for the Spring 2022 semester. We completed our final Sprint Review on April 28th and have officially stopped working on the project. This was my first experience working in an Agile environment, along with my first time working on a Humanitarian Free & Open-Source Software Project.
There were several areas in which our team excelled. The team did an excellent job of labor division, as through the entire semester, all team members were contributing equally to the advancement of the project. We also worked well together as a group; we were able to concurrently work on code very effectively, combining the knowledge of everyone to solve problems we couldn’t as individuals. Throughout the semester, we improved our workflow, increased efficiency of standup meetings, and improved the organization of our source control and merge processes.
There were some areas to improve for our team. We struggled to create appropriate issues in Gitlab to work on – we often found that we were creating issues that were too vague, too large, or duplicates of another issue. We also could have done a better job of maintaining the Epics board in Gitlab; we focused primarily on the issues and not on the Epics they were attached to.
As an individual, I worked well throughout the semester. I was the Scrum master for my team, a position I had never held and was not confident in. I challenged myself to help the team stay organized and balanced in our Scrum meetings and saw improvement throughout the semester. During the first sprint, we would often get sidetracked during standup meetings talking about problems team members were running into and were using more time than necessary. I was able to help the team keep our focus on the current meeting and save other discussions for after, increasing the efficiency of our utilization of class time.
I believe the semester went well both for the team and for my individual work, but there are areas in which I can improve. First, I found myself feeling disorganized occasionally throughout the semester from making too many changes at once – I would like to get better at treating issues as small, independent tasks that are fixed alone on a branch and then merged, instead of completing several small changes in the same issue and branch. This will make it easier to stay organized with what I am working on and will make the source control system more effective at tracking the work I did on each issue.
I would consider the sprint and the semester successful overall. Essentially, we have a working and validated API, most backend code, and have linked the two together. The next steps for next semester’s group will be to continue to develop testing, along with incorporating Identity and Access Management and deploy the server on Amazon Web Services. I feel much more comfortable working in an Agile environment and working on smaller pieces of large HFOSS codebases, and I feel far more capable of working as a developer professionally in the coming year.