An ABC of R2: I is for iterations

…which lasted two weeks and culminated in a full new release of our software. I’ve written elsewhere about what happened in one week of a particular iteration in June 2008.

However, our R2 iterations didn’t just involve implementing software. At the same time each team was also working with a business analyst and end-users to plan and clarify the work for the next iteration, and sometimes getting the last iteration’s work through its systems tests prior to release. As one of the team leads said to me, “we work in three timezones”.

At the end of an iteration the release went out. But our releases didn’t always reveal much that was different — either because we were waiting to reveal it as part of a forthcoming launch, or because it was part of our internally-facing systems. That can be an odd feeling for the development teams. In previous lives I’ve worked on projects where the launch has the whole team working right up to the last moment and so also signals the time when you can collapse with exhaustion. But our interleaving of “timezones”, and releases well ahead of launches, changed that. The launch of, say, the Sports section was a big moment for so many in the company, but most of the people on the development team had finished the work some time before and were spending more time thinking about the launch that followed.