There’s a TLDR on the bottom of my post, but if you’re interested in reading more about what problem exactly I’m trying to fix and how I’d solve it, then the full post is for you!
Hi everyone 👋
I’ve been leading the sprint planning for the team at work for the past few months and while there are a huge amount & great tools out there to follow-up on the stories & bugs during the sprint, when it comes to the planning every two weeks it feels like a hassle. We’re using spreadsheets to calculate metrics like the working capacity for each team member, more easily matching our stories with this capacity, having an easier overview of the different projects,
Well the thing is having these metrics is quite useful for the planning but this way of working consumes more planning time than it should in an agile environment because the spreadsheet requires manual updates before every sprint, the data from our HR & scrum tools is not easily refreshed, it still leaves a lot of room for human error and in general it’s already an overly complex spreadsheet and we’re still missing some valuable metrics like our sprint velocity & a bang-for-the-buck overview.
Now, we could just do away with the spreadsheets to spend less time on planning and simply talk about it, but the time saved would then open the door for more human error, forgetfulness, wildly inaccurate estimates, etc.. Perhaps I could convince my fellow developers, but that would be a hard no-go for management & clients.
It feels like we can’t live with it but also can’t live without it, so where do we go from here?
Since I was frustrated I started brainstorming on how we could improve our sprint planning, so I came up with https://startblock.io/ and wrote down my ideas there, long story short, it would make it easy to link up with your HR & scrum tools to easily get the working capacity for the next sprint(s), calculate the metrics you need with the least overhead possible & provide features to more easily involve the team to create better estimates & an achievable sprint plan.
TLDR; frustrated with the way we do sprint planning at work, using complex, time consuming & error prone spreadsheets to calculate the metrics we need to do a proper planning. Yet, we also can’t scrap the spreadsheets because it would open the doors for more human error, wildly inaccurate estimates & consistently under- or overplanning the team.
So I came up with https://startblock.io/ that would easily connect with your HR & scrum tools to import your data, calculate the metrics you need with the least overhead possible (e.g. working capacity of your team members, sprint velocity with projections, bang-for-buck overview) & provide features for improving team collaboration for more accurate estimates and creating an achievable sprint plan.
If you’ve got any feedback, no matter how harsh, I’d love to hear it! If you’ve had similar frustrations and you can see how this tool could solve them, then of course I’d love to hear that even more!