Summer Scrum

It’s here; summer! Which means for many of us that we’re starting the countdown to summer holidays. While summer might be good for our vitamin D intake it usually puts a lot of strain on our planning skills. Which is funny because summer holidays are not an unexpected event. You can easily plan for it. And please do so as early on as possible.

Plan ahead!

In any project or organization, planning is probably the hardest part. Start sketching your yearly overview as early on as fall. In that overview you plan for bank holidays, special occasions and of course summer holiday. If you plan it early enough chances are pretty good that July and August will actually be relaxing months. You can avoid having to deliver critical features during this period and plan for the happiness of everyone involved.

Scrum or not, in any team, as a manager you are trying to get grip of your request for time off. Who is leaving when for how long? Sometimes it is an obvious choice to accept that most people will leave for some time during July or August and adjust your expectations about what is being delivered. Sometimes external customer deadlines are set in stone and the business needs to continue full speed even during summer. How do you handle?

Agile summer tips

Scrum or not, in any workplace, as on employee taking weeks off is something you look forward to and fear at the same time. Deadlines and work tend to pile up in those weeks/ days just before you leave. And perhaps you are even experiencing some guilt towards your colleagues that you might be leaving them a handsome workload. And the added stress of having to make those last minute arrangements for your trips never does anyone any good. How do you handle?

In terms of Scrum I have a few pointers:

  • If attendance is generally low over a few consecutive weeks in a team you can make all sorts of adjustments. Insert a deployment freeze, temporarily replace Scrum with Kanban, focus efforts on refactoring, or temporarily extend Sprints.
  • I would not necessarily advise any of these measure. If believe in sticking to your schedule, keeping your events all in place, and always having a healthy balance between innovation and maintenance.
  • So keep things as are, even if you are going from a team of 8 to a team of 2. Just plan for it. Plan ahead, plan smart and plan light.
  • What I do advice is to organize some sort of start of summer and end of summer events. Before the slow period you can address how you as a time will handle this period and how you will act. Perhaps transfer knowledge or diversify roles nd responsibilities. Make sure it is clear and visible when people are or are not in. And lastly have a beer together en smile a little. The sun is shining after all. After, when summer has ended. Make a point of it to look back and celebrate work that was finished. And you should probably have a beer together again.

On a more personal level I’ll advise you to let it go. Whether you’ve planed for it or not, it’s here now. So go with the flow and enjoy the sunshine while it’s here.