Taulia's first, and definitely not last, Whackyathon (Part 1 of 2)

December 10, 2013 Rahul Parte

Any organization who has adopted the Agile methodology will understand what a Product backlog is. Hint: it’s the list of things that need to be improved or added on to a Product. In January 2013 the Taulia team adopted Scrum and since then we’ve been constantly improving and scaling our efforts based on this framework.

As with any successful startup, Taulia also has this ever growing backlog of awesome features that we want to focus on and deliver. Every week, if not every day, the requirements and directions change. Not only do these awesome features come from internal product exposure and expertise, our prospects and customers drive many of the changes and improvements of the Product.

We like transparency and honor everyone’s voice. One of the biggest voices is of our customers. They have realized the potential of the Product and what it has done to improve their business and internal processes. Once someone is engaged at that level, creative ideas and consequently, feature requests, start flowing. Highly experienced people and teams have epiphanies, and this feeds into the ever growing backlog.

One of the core values of a Taulian is to "Exceed customer expectations". This value means a lot to us and a few months ago when we saw the backlog of feedback and requests from our Customers, we knew it was our opportunity to bring this core value to life and show our customers how much they mean to us. In September 2013 we decided to share a set of high impact items from the backlog with a Scrum team (Developers, Quality Engineers, Scrum Master, Product Owner) and conduct an experimental exercise. The terms were that the team would go somewhere, anywhere (1 hour travel radius), to a house for three days and deliver on the chosen, committed items; a "Mini super sprint".

We all thought it would look a little something like this…

ballmer-peak

The terms, plan and vision were shared with the whole company; some people were inspired, some felt it was not going to work. It was an exciting challenge.

Find out what actually happened in part two of this series next week. Experience the whole story.

Do you have any hackathon experiences? Tell us about them in the comments below!
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