Agile/UX Safari at Caplin Systems

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A few weeks ago Caplin Systems hosted an “agile/ux safari”, which is basically the equivalent in the software development industry of a factory-floor tour. As Caplin take UX  very seriously there was a lot of focus on this side of things, with design walls, empathyimage maps and persona development all very prominent in their office space in Houndsditch, London. However I was more interested in the plain old development side of things and here were my key takeaways of the night, alongside why I was particularly interested in them:

  1. Caplin deliver in 2-week sprints, with a customer demo after every 10 work days; In iTropics we want to go from 4 weeks to 2 weeks as soon as we can.
  2. They don’t do planning poker, as they ‘have a rough idea’ of how much work they can do in a fortnight and find the time planning to be wasteful; This is a trade-off I believe in, as the time won back from these sometimes long meetings is very probably worth any slight loss in estimation accuracy at the size of feature story that we work with.
  3. They have a sprint board, that tracks work across a day-to-day value stream, as well as higher-level ‘phase’ board, that tracks major deliverables at a project level across sprints; We’ve started experimenting with this in iTropics as the project-level roadmap is being lost and along with it the vision for the team and suite of products.
  4. Finally, they have loads of UX/UCD work happening before features are given to the development teams to build; This is something we are working towards (albeit in very small increments!) at the moment.

Thanks to Caplin Systems for opening their doors to us and showing their working methods, and thanks to Johanna Kollman and the Agile UX Meetup group for organising!

Some photos of the evening:



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