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Friday wins (vs sprint reviews) and a case of ritual design

Company-wide sprint reviews

This post lists the key insights from this article, from Kellan Elliott-McCrea, previously SVP Engineering at Blink Health and CTO at Etsy.


Culture is what you celebrate. Rituals are the tools you use to shape culture. Yet very few of us think much about ritual design.

The author mentions “Friday wins”, but you could be calling them sprint demos or reviews at your current company. When he is designing this ritual, here are the handful of values he is thinking about in my ritual design:

Learning oriented

Rather than saving reflection for when something has gone wrong, make the cadence of a weekly Commit-Reflect cycle the heart of your software process, and make reflection a thing to look forward to.

That’s why you should call it “Friday Wins” vs “Sprint Review”.

Organizational awareness

Don’t silo wins by team. Invite the largest number of people who can reasonable attend. Invest in making attendance easy (support for remotes, no meeting policies, etc).

Shipping

Shorter cycle times have been shown to lead to both higher productivity and higher happiness. Value and learning are both primarily captured only after a project is finished. Confidence is gained most quickly in production. etc etc. If shipping is one of your values, center it in in your rituals.

Modern software is cross functional

Graphs count as wins, UIs count as wins, analysis of customer request behavior counts as win, a new training module rolled out to the company counts as win.

How software is made is important

Include people who aren’t on the software engineering team. Make sure high prestige individuals outside of engineering demonstrate that they care not only about results but about the process. Invite the CEO to Friday wins.

Inclusive and high energy

This is a weekly celebration. We have rules (time limits, only things in production, etc) but it should be something people look forward to. Be prepared to draw folks out who don’t recognize their own wins, and occasionally be prepared to put the win in the larger context of the goals.

2 min​ read

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