Sterner Stuff Development Sprints
A Sterner Stuff Product Guide
Spreading your time and money across an entire month can lead to lack of focus, extra planning overhead, and a perception that progress has stalled. By hyper-focusing your time into an uninterrupted chunk of days, we can fix those problems and burn through new requirements.
What is a development sprint?
A development sprint is an uninterrupted chunk of days that you and Sterner Stuff are dedicating to work on your project. Your Sterner Stuff developer is working on your project and your project alone each work day. No other clients, no internal work. Just you.
Spreading your time and money across an entire month can lead to lack of focus, extra planning overhead, and a perception that progress has stalled. It leads to people saying things like this:
- “I know we were working on X, but our priorities changed and we need to work on Y even though X isn’t finished.”
- It feels like nothing ever gets done. Priorities change and things are left half-finished.
- “Oh, I think I remember this task from last month. Where did we leave off again?”
- Planning takes extra time because it’s been weeks since we last talked about this task.
- This is when we email you or you email us for feedback, with a question, etc., and one or the other can’t respond in a timely manner because other projects are the current focus
By hyper-focusing your time into an uninterrupted chunk of days, we can accomplish many tasks in a short period of time. Priorities are less likely to shift in this period, and if they do, we can immediately hop into a call to review and set a new course. Tasks get tackled as soon as they’re assigned, so no need to review the requirements every two weeks. And as soon as something is ready for review, everyone can bring it up, look it over, and iterate before pushing features and fixes live.
We’ll be way more productive and you’ll see results in real time.
Additionally, if you’re trying to plan the problems you want solved during our next sprint, the clock isn’t running on a retainer if you send an email or give us a call to ask for a little clarification or guidance.
Is a sprint right for me?
We really like sprints as an alternative to monthly retainers designed to cover an ongoing laundry list of small-to-medium tasks. If you have a vision of incremental changes you want made to your website or web app, this is probably a good fit for you.
While sprints can also be used for hammering out larger features or projects, we prefer to price those sorts of things out with a fixed fee. That way we don’t get to the end of the sprint with nothing to show for it.
At least one tangible task should be accomplishable during your sprint. We’ll work with you to ensure our sprint’s duration is appropriate for your task(s).
A typical sprint
- The development sprint kicks off with a call the first morning at 9am Pacific. For maximum efficiency, you should come prepared with any needs you have in order of importance. We’ll review everything that needs done, identify solutions to open-ended problems, etc. We’ll try to give you a rough idea of what you can expect to be finished by the end of our sprint. We like to keep this call to a half hour at most.
- The sprint begins! Sterner Stuff will start work on the tasks you’ve laid out according to your priorities.
- If we have questions, need clarification, or have something ready for review, we’ll connect with you in real time, via Slack, a call, etc. We’ll be able to screen share with you or allow you to view what we’re working on in real-time in your browser, if need be.
- As tasks are completed, reviewed, and approved, we’ll launch them to your website. This is the magic of sprints - wins in real-time.
- At the end of each day, we’ll send along an email to let you know how far we got. If our plan for the sprint includes lots of little tasks, you can expect some tangible wins. Otherwise, we’ll give a status update on larger tasks.
- At 4pm Pacific on the last day of the sprint, everyone will hop in a final call to review the progress that was made and plan for the next sprint.
How to prepare for a sprint
- The dates of the sprint will be planned ahead of time. Make sure you or another decision maker have maximum availability during these days. If our progress is blocked because we’re waiting on feedback, our hands are tied.
- This means having a computer handy! We will almost certainly need to screen share a time or two (or ten).
- Get input from all stakeholders on your side ahead of time to create your to-do list for the sprint.
- Plan 30 days in advance if possible. Sprints are generally limited to once a month, so look ahead to consider any upcoming marketing efforts, product launches, etc.
Sprints are available from one day to one (business) week. Typical sprints stick to the base costs outlined below, but may be impacted by a variety of factors including current demand, complexity of requirements, or other factors.
How much are you actually working?
Your dedicated engineer will be around from about 9am to 5pm Pacific most days during your sprint unless otherwise noted. We do have weekly obligations like standing meetings, and you’ll get full disclosure on anything like that ahead of time. At the end of the sprint, you won’t get a summary of hours worked. You’ll get a report on what we accomplished.
What about vacations, holidays, or illness, or emergencies?
Fortunately, holidays don’t get sprung on us. We know when they are ahead of time and can plan accordingly. For example, we wouldn’t schedule a week-long sprint the week of Thanksgiving.
Vacations are also usually planned around here, so we’ll work around those as well.
In the case of illness, client emergency, or personal emergency, you’ll be reasonably compensated depending on the impact, either with extra time on your sprint or a credit on your next one. This is at our discretion. Fortunately we’re pretty responsible around here, which minimizes actual programming-related emergencies.
Can I schedule several sprints in quick succession?
Sprints are generally limited to one per month. This ensures that our time is available to the many folks who need it, provided everyone is planning ahead.
Am I committed to recurring sprints each month?
Nope! Sprints are a one-time commitment, though many clients with ongoing needs do stick to a monthly sprint schedule.
Contact Sterner Stuff for any additional clarification! Contact [email protected].