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Web Wednesday Recap – Agile

We held our second Web Wednesday on April 12. If you missed this recent workshop on Agile, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!  Please find the highlights below.

Sprints and Superheroes: How Agile Has Transformed the Way We Work

Mary Kathryn started things off with some background on the Web Team and what we do. We are a team of 12 made up of developers, communications specialists, and of course our manager, Mary Kathryn. We focus on two areas of work. First, we have a number of different projects on the go at any given time (e.g., managing the Carleton template, E-commerce, events calendar, training & documentation, and workshops …) And secondly, we also do a lot of client support which comes to us via service desk tickets.

We needed a way to take all of this varied work, make it manageable, and keep it forward-moving. Plus we wanted a work environment that fostered collaboration and learning.

The Plan

To kick things off we held a planning workshop. We focused on three key areas: products and services, client support, and the way we work. Within each of these areas, we identified objectives (e.g., establishing positive relationships with stakeholders, and being leaders in digital accessibility ..) Each person came up with ideas and initiatives related to the objectives. Afterward, Mary Kathryn prioritized the initiatives, wrote goals, and established deliverables. Have a look at what we came up with – our Roadmap for 2022/23 and the detailed plan.

We now had a plan but needed a way to implement it. A couple of our developers came from an environment where Agile had been used. So we decided to try it out!


Agile is a framework used mainly in IT software delivery, but we use it for all of our project work – development and communications, and client support. It is a way of working that clarifies what needs to get done, involves the whole team, and focuses on output.

The Scrum and Our Sprints

Within Agile, Scrum is a specific methodology that focuses on teamwork, accountability, incremental delivery, and continuous improvement. It defines a prescribed amount of time to get the work done – these are called sprints. Each of our sprints is made up of:

The Meetings

We run four specific kinds of meetings during our sprints. They are all working meetings and each has a specific purpose and goal.

1. Sprint Planning

This 2-hour meeting is held at the start of the Sprint.  We discuss what needs to get done, how much time it will take, and who the best lead is for each user story (or task).

2. Daily Stand-Ups

The goal of these meetings is to say hello and find out where each person is at with the sprint work. These 15-minute meetings are run by our superhero, who is also responsible for taking care of ticket work (client requests) throughout the sprint. Everyone shares what they are working on and if they have any blockers to moving forward with sprint work.

3. Demos

At the end of the sprint, we meet to show the client what we’ve been working on. This is an important meeting that is used for feedback.

4. Retrospectives

At the end of the sprint, we get together for a retrospective meeting to check in, and chat about what did not go well and what did go well. We use this to adjust and better our next sprint. We also recognize a sprint champion, someone who stood out during the sprint for their outstanding contribution!

Learning and Development Week

At the end of each sprint, we have one full week set aside for learning and development. The learning is tied directly to the work we’re doing. We also use this week to wrap up the outstanding tasks, write documentation and hold all the meetings (retrospectives, demos, sprint planning).

The Transformation

Agile has changed the way we work for the better:

We have learned that the time it takes to plan, connect, and reflect is worth it!

Your Turn

We wanted to leave you with a tangible takeaway. Something that you could try out in your own work environment. Use this workflow as a template to apply the Agile principles and create your own Sprint! We’d love to hear how it goes.

cuTheme Sneak Peek: People Cards

Near the end of the workshop, Ishdeep showed off the latest work on cuTheme. People cards were the highlight of the day and he demonstrated the various features and display options. For a sneak peek into other cuTheme work, have a look at our new video series!

If you attended the workshop, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share your feedback and ideas for future Web Wednesday topics using the form below!