Monday, May 11, 2015

Continuous review and delivery - can they go hand in hand ??

We use to be Scrum shop and then moved to Kanban a year ago. ( For good reasons :D). Our stakeholders were use to Scrum Review where they could give feedback before things move to production. We had defined cadence for review. 
Important points, I am not talking about Product Owners review or feedback. They are very closely involved in our DNA. I am talking about upstream and downstream communication to real stakeholders. In Scrum world they had chance to give their feedback during Scrum Review which become impossible for us to sustain when we switched to Kanban. Why:
1) We do deployment for each tiny chunk.  2) We could not predict when each story would be done. Getting stakeholders to review a story on-demand is close to impossible. 
For above reasons, we swapped the Review with Demo where they could get update on live stories once in month. After almost a year and lots of chances in our board, our stakeholders complained about not getting involved early and continuously enough to provide their feedback. They are missing something like scrum review process is our assumption.
We definitely had below constraints before proposing a solution:
  • We don't want a solution, which will create bottleneck in our continuous delivery flow. 
  • We don't want to increase the operational cost of our stories
  • We do want the system to be self maintainable 

We started studying our Jira produced data to understand what is the average life of stories in our system in PO Review column. For first round of experience we proposed two changes.

Experiment 1: We will run this for two weeks before introducing second experiment. This will give us sometime to collect data and fill our power grid.
  • We would modify the JIRA ticket to add stakeholder list for each MMF 
  • Once the story related to MMF would move to "Ready for PO Review " status, JIRA would generate an automatic email notifying the above list of stakeholders. Or LDAs would get notify and they will send the email. 
  • The email will have link to staging environment for feature.
  • Stakeholder would get notification and can provide their feedback to responsible PO/s, but we will not wait for their feedback. PO/s still have full authority to approve the story as before.
  • This will be seamless to current process and would generate passive information for people to react and consume. 
  • Will also tell us about our most interested stakeholders in grid. 
  • POs can also send update based on that reminder.
  • All stakeholders would be notified only interested one would get email.
  • People might not notice the information and it might just reside in their emails

Experiment 2:
  • Creating a fixed rhythm of meetings may be bi-weekly (or something else) review meetings to ensure the stakeholders are up-to date
  • We can review all the stories, which we have been moved to done.
  • Each team can nominate one person and they can present the stories to stakeholders. 
  • We would need to create a calendar for team
  • Based on stakeholders comment, POs can align their stories better in future. (Inspect and Adapt)
  • Stakeholders are involved directly 
  • Team members and POs are getting their feedback directly and doing a direct collaboration 
  • Stakeholder not coming to meeting bi-weekly (We can always adjust the frequency)
  • Might be little too overwhelming for stakeholders to see so many stories at once.

Experiment 3: We need to change lots of code to incorporate it.
  • Deploy every story with a switch in pre-production environment. (Propagate to other environments vs. Notify Developer with changes) 
  • Stakeholders can test feature with production data and can rollback || propagate changes.
  • Stakeholders have fun control over the feature. 
  • Stakeholders need to be really proactive.

I will share results of our experiment on my blog for others to learn. 



  1. Great idea to do many experiments to validate your ideas. Congratulations for taking this great initiative.

    1. Thanks for guiding me too Mario and doing the brain storming with me on this topic.