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Batch Development Process

Compendium / Development Process

Optimize for Batch Success

An effective batch development process optimizes for a team’s batches of
work to have the best chance at successful delivery.

Characteristics of A Batch Development Process

  • Higher degree of variation in size of work items
  • Variation in workflow for work items

Batch Development Processes

  • Scrum
  • Extreme Programming (XP)

Development Cycle

Cycle Length

A two-week cycle is generally a good starting place for teams, and ends
up suiting most contexts. One-week and three-week cycles are also viable for some situations. One-week cycles are more suited to batch work with few to no dependencies and size ranges that skew smaller. Three-week cycles can be effective for batch work that involves longer-than-average review steps for compliance, legal, or similar domain concerns, but also where units of work skew toward a larger size.


Diagram of the Events of a Batch Development Cycle

Cycle Planning

Location in Cycle: Morning of first day of cycle

Maximum Duration: 2.5 hours

Outcome: Cross-functional team begins the development cycle confident in a jointly-developed plan

Daily Standup

Location in Cycle: Morning of all but the first and last days

Maximum Duration: 10 minutes

Outcome: Team and other attendees have a good understanding of who will be working on which things for the day

Backlog Grooming

Location in Cycle: 2nd or 3rd day before end of cycle

Maximum Duration: 1 hour

Outcome: Team has confirmed that the top items in their backlog equivalent to one and a half times their Throughput are in priority order, with well-formed stories, estimates, and conditions of success, so that the upcoming Cycle Planning has the best chance of producing a well-informed plan for the Cycle backed by the confidence of all the Cross-Functional Team Members. Should the team find that the top of the backlog is not in good shape for planning, there are still a few days to pursue the information needed for an effective Cycle Planning.

Backlog Maintenance

Location in Cycle: 1-3 occurrences spread through the cycle

Maximum Duration: 1 hour

Outcome: The team has reviewed backlog items further down the backlog, generally 3 sprints or more away. The goal is to gain a better shared understanding of work that is further out, to both provide better high-level projections and determine whether to invest in design sessions for items with significant architectural implications that require thought and iteration.

Cycle Review

Location in Cycle: Morning of last day right before Cycle Retrospective

Maximum Duration: 30 minutes

Outcome: Stakeholders, dependent teams, and other interested parties receive a concise recap of the outcome of the scheduled work, the non-backlog work encountered during the cycle

Cycle Retrospective

Location in Cycle: Morning of last day right after Cycle Review

Maximum Duration: 1 hour

Outcome: Team has discussed how they feel they did in working together as a team, with reflection upon what worked, what could improve, and experiments they can try to improve their effectiveness, all of which has been documented in the Development Log.