Agile: Developer attendance at showcases
On the majority of the projects that I’ve worked on at ThoughtWorks we’ve held a showcase at the end of each iteration to show our client what we’ve been working on and finished over the previous one or two weeks.
The format of these showcases has been fairly similar each time but the people who attended has tended to vary depending on the situation.
As part of the project being worked on at ThoughtWorks University we’ve run a showcase at the end of each week which the whole team have been attending.
Toby pointed out that having everyone there didn’t seem to be the best use of people’s time since the majority of the developers in the room didn’t actually have any input during the showcase.
I’ve often felt the same in that situation although we used a similar approach on a project I worked on last year and it seemed to be quite useful for addressing the human aspect of the project.
The client was able to meet all the people on the team and equally the developers were able to gain some insight into the types of conversations that the analysts were having with the client.
In that particular example we had around 10-15 developers so there was quite a big gathering but on the other projects where we’ve had the whole team at the showcase there’s only been 3 or 4 of us.
On the last project I worked on we took it in turns to go to the showcase. I think it’s quite useful to have at least one technical person in a showcase as they’re able to give instant feedback on implementation details such as how difficult it will be to change the way a certain piece of functionality works.
A lot of the time we didn’t have any input but it was interesting that quite often we’d come out of those showcases with more understanding of what the client was trying to achieve with a specific feature.
If we don’t have all the developers in every showcase we do tend to have them all there for the first showcase at least as that tends to be the one where the most stakeholders will be present.
Overall though it’s a call to make depending on the situation and the difficulty in judging the value of attending the showcase seems to come about because a lot of the benefits of attending are indirect whereas staying at our desk and coding has a direct benefit to the project.