Big Orange Square Build Party – Retrospective
Modules & Stand-Ups
Working for a full day with an international team on a real product generates unique insights. Scrum contributes to product development, and to teamwork. Here are a few first remarks from attendees. After the first CSM for Hardware class the whole team participated in an extra day with a Big Orange Square Build Party. About 20 people, mostly in product development, and the youngest only 14 years old, worked on a real car. This fun Saturday brought the theory and exercises from the class to the real world of building a real car. You can find the ideas and structure here on the website.
Organizing the the product in segments (modules) and creating teams around each module is experienced as a big plus. It brings focus for the team and with that focus quick delivery of results is visible and measurable. Pairing happens almost automatically.
And: teams need more Scrums and Scrum of Scrums to coordinate the work on the different modules. The ideal time according to this group: every 1-2 hours! The teams need these breaks not only from a self-organizing perspective, but also as a plain physical rest, self-organization drives up their motivation and with that their pace.
The team called this “inter-team swarming” and they found it necessary to explore issues and solutions on the interfaces between modules. For example: one team is going to mount suspension modules on the frame and needs to drill holes. Another team mounts the steering mechanism on the same frame, also drilling holes. They can block each other (there is only so much space) and they found out that one team had specs for metric bolts, the other team for inch sized bolts. The two-hourly Scrum and Scrum of Scrums found these issues and solved them. And it resulted in a standardization for the product: “Go Metric”
My observation and lesson learned: I went into this Big Orange Square build day with the idea that a one-day Sprint would be short, and that we would produce inspect-able results. It turns out that results are ready for inspecting in a matter of hours, and that in-team and inter-team coordination needs to be much more frequent than once a day. Although the car components were prepared, there were so many problems to be solved, and frequent and formal communication proved necessary. This reminds me of the Toyota Way where a similar practice is embedded – the manufacturing area has a space where people can gather at any time to discuss an issue. And it shows that two-week Sprints in a hardware space is more a maximum length to get real product out than an obstacle to implement Big Orange Square!
Scrum on, more retrospective topics to come!