Collaboration at its peak – 1% Day

This started from a brown bag session by a Carsales member about how they have had success with 1% days in their team.

What a 1% day is all about. Every team usually have some cards which are quick wins but they never see the light of day. These cards in the backlog are the ones which never get into the prioritised list because of other important fixes or the new features to focus on.

So the idea here is to pick those items out of the backlog which can be fixed in 1 day, the only criterion being you need to pick only those cards which you can fix, test and move it to DONE in the same day. There should be no need to come back to the card later.

So the AccountRight Live (ARL) development team at MYOB decided to try this idea. The preparations started, and yes, the preparations were required to create the excitement among the team. It was required to have a list of items to be picked so that on the day the backlog was defined and ready for people to pick something to fix.

BAs/Product Owners and Dev Leads in the team started identifying candidates for the day and BAs then worked on grooming those stories. There were emails sent to book everyone’s calendar in the team.

A communication channel in Slack was created where anyone could ask questions or share updates. Excitement flew all over the team. It was like an event happening within the team. There were rules set for the day primarily around producing production-quality code and how to keep the environment stable. Everyone in the team was fully charged for the day. Posters were created and put on the walls. There were physical and JIRA walls created with a dashboard to track things. There was support provided from Tech Support so they could test the issues as required. Then the Tech Comms team came forward with their support for faster decision making. Last but not the least, management sponsored lunch and evening drinks to keep the rhythm going.

Then the day arrived and it started with all the fun and passion to complete as many cards as possible. The teams were pampered by the leadership in a good way with morning coffee to boost our output. We all gathered around the physical wall for the kick off. Developers started picking up cards and doing kick-offs with QAs and BAs, and then progressing it to Done with a shoulder tap from QAs. QAs ensured that we had all the testing covered for the card before it was checked in. Anyone from QA or Tech Support then just grabbed the builds as soon as they came and tested fixes that made it to the build. Simultaneously, there was a control kept on the tests being run on the pipelines to ensure nothing was broken.

The day ended with a round of beer and almost 40 cards moved to DONE which was remarkable!

The day was a success in the first attempt and I think the reason behind it was the collaboration between the team members was at its peak. People were involved and motivated to get things Done and Done for good. I reckon we will have many more 1% days coming soon because it's the small things that make the BIG difference.

Cover photo by Marina del Castell under the Creative Commons license.