One of the challenging things about entering the world of development was that I felt like I came from a completely different universe. I got a degree in political science and near east studies, always thought I was destined for a job in a government agency and then almost accidentally fell into the Jewish nonprofit world and loved it. For years, my job was about created experiences, building community, taking people to coffee… very different than the day-to-day of development. I saw a little bit more of a developer’s day-to-day in the startup world, but most of the people I work around are the only tech person on their team. One person responsible for all tech is different than how teams function and what a company culture looks like for startups that are just a tad bit larger.
I had the opportunity this past Monday to shadow the dev team at Treater for the day and it was great (Thanks JD for giving me the opportunity!). Treater seems like a great place to work and I learned a TON in just the day I was there (including my first look at someone using vim to code instead of sublime text and finally seeing what hipchat is all about). One thing I wanted to highlight was the idea of a scrum meeting to do sprint planning.
I had heard of scrum meetings and sprints/sprint planning before but had never had the opportunity to see first-hand what happens at these meetings, how development pieces are discussed and how the next few weeks are planned out. Additionally, I’ve run a lot of meetings in my life and have always been a part of a hierarchical structure but have always been curious about larger startups with flatter structures.
The scrum meeting starts with the scrum master (all this, by the way makes me think of rugby which is really not anything like one of these meetings). This meeting had three parts: review the last sprint, retrospective, and go through the next sprint, all utilizing the company’s Trello board. Each part is important and I was impressed by the fact that everything everyone said was acknowledged and considered. The review of the last sprint helped to set additional goals for the current sprint (sprints are two weeks long). After reviewing the last sprint, priorities, deployment dates, and phases were discussed. The retrospective was the most interesting I think. It gave each team member a chance to think about where they were at after the last sprint and address what they themselves or as a team could do better in the upcoming sprint. Finally, the next sprint was reviewed, discussed, and assigned to different people. It was really interesting during the future sprint discussion to see how each part of the team interacted (ie- front-end, back-end, testing, business, etc.). Being a part of the scrum meeting also gave me a really good understanding of what was going on so I could just jump into the code more effectively in the second half of the day.
So, if you’ve never been to a scrum meeting or done sprint planning, that’s what they’re all about (or at least based on my sample size of 1 company). Hopefully I’ll be shadowing at more companies in the future (if your company is metro accessible and willing to let me shadow for the day, please let me know!).
I just want to close by thanking the whole Treater team for being so welcoming and answering all of my questions. I really had a great time and learned a ton!