How to have engaging agile reviews: follow up

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How to have engaging agile reviews: follow up

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by Tristan Bagnall

Following up on my recent post How to have engaging agile reviews[1] I wanted to share the experience of one team here at Alfresco.

I would like to call out a few of the aims from the review:

    • Find out how easy it was to consume the information we presented
    • Get people to play with the changes we had made
    • Start an engaging conversation with the consumers
    • Encourage people to part with their time
    • Listen to the stakeholder feedback, and use it to help us pivot

How did it go? What sort of thing are we developing?

The first piece of information that would be consumed by the stakeholders was the title of the invite, so this was carefully worded as a call to action

'Do you want to guide us on how we are doing with the new REST API?'

Next was the content of the review.

    • We put ourselves in the audience's shoes -
      • we were careful to ensure we had thought through and planned what were were going to show
      • what we were going to ask
    • Our audience was going to be as wide as possible - a few senior managers, plenty of people who would use that part of the product, we socialised the review and got referrals that increased the list.
    • We provided some snack food and booked a big meeting room.
    • In the invite we tried to spark interest, by saying it would be interactive and included instructions on how to get set up for the interactive part of the review.

Thinking about our audience, we wanted to

    • show them how our APIs  could be used - we settled on a 5 minute demonstration of a UI application currently in development that uses the new API.
    • highlight those APIs that had changed (added, updated, removed),
    • show them how to simulate the usage of the API - we chose to show some scenarios using Postman, but we could have used SOAP UI, SmartBear API tester
    • show them our new API Explorer, based on Swagger UI.
    • let them play in their own isolated environment, and get updates as we supply them - we decided to use a docker image / container
    • provide a Q&A, and gather feedback - we decided to use Skype group chat.

Overall the review went well. Once the play with our APIs started we got some very valuable feedback over Skype.

A few areas we would look to improve on were:

Sections of the review:

  1. We had a lot to show in the Postman scripts, going through them took a while. Although the questions that were asked during that part showed it was valuable.
  2. People loved being able to play - there and afterwards. This lead to deeper, useful and specific feedback.


  1. Webex - we had difficulty getting it to work on Linux, to the extent that those with Linux were unable to present.
  2. Skype is not a suitable feedback tool, especially at scale as multiple cross conversation are forced into one thread.

Next steps... can we do this with the Alfresco Developer Community?