BIT Gits Going

Photo of the team outside Massey Building
Sprint 0 had been short, having only moved into our Massey space on Tuesday, May 5. First priorities were a quick Scrum immersion, settling on some core team tools (like Trello, our virtual Kanban board), and drafting team norms (such as donut preferences – these Brazilians LOVE chocolate glaze). Because our project will only run for four months, the team committed to one-week sprints and the delivery of something usable every Friday. Sprint planning is 10 am every Monday, we hold daily 10 am fifteen-minute scrums, and each Friday ends with a sprint review and retrospective. It was also important during this first week to lay out our broad development objectives and a general technology framework. Essentially, we intend to build a server-based delivery system for gamified 360-degree panoramas. It will support delivery to a desktop via a custom WordPress theme and accompanying plugins, or to mobile devices in the form of apps.  

Screen capture of Trello Sprint #1

Screen capture of Trello Sprint #1

Screen capture of Current Sprint list in TrelloTrello has been great for task planning and managing. The students have taken to it quickly and we have been adapting it to our workflow with almost daily adjustments. Our two-hour Monday sprint planning meetings pull in high-priority deliverables that are then dissected to produce a prioritized checklist of sprint backlog tasks and a clear overarching goal for the week. From that point on any team member can assume responsibility for a task by right-clicking on it and converting it to a separate card (with his/her photo) in the current sprint task list. This allows the team to be self-organizing, without the need for an identified project manager. Completed cards are archived and dropped from the list, and the Sprint Backlog is then revisited to convert another open task to a card. Team members can both quickly see who is doing what and easily view outstanding backlog items and their priority. Our daily scrums are done using Trello and a SmartBoard.

Dan Blair walks the development team through our GitLab protocol for source control.

Dan Blair walks the development team through our GitLab protocol for source control.

Which brings us to Sprint # 1 and the start of actual coding. WordPress is our primary delivery platform, making PHP and JavaScript our core languages, and required delivery to iPad minis means we must build for both Web and mobile. Coding is done in PhpStorm, an integrated development environment (IDE), with each of our developers working in a separate cloned virtual machine using VagrantBox. With eight developers working on common code, we also needed solid source control. Enter GitLab, an open source git (the most popular distributed version control system) repository management application. GitLab allows the team to collaborate, keep track of source changes, and maintain a clean code repository.

And so ended sprint # 1. With GitLab humming and our team having committing its first code, our Friday retrospective was nothing but high-fives and kudos all around. Then, what better way to end the week than with a trip round the corner to the King’s Head Pub for a well-earned celebration.