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Why are Micro-sprints so Important for Efficiency

Introducing: PASconcept !

Have you ever had so much to do, that as organized as you can be you just weren’t sure HOW you were possibly going to keep track of it all? Sometimes there are simply so many moving parts involved in a single plan or schedule, that it seems nearly impossible to have a clear cut formula that paves the way to your desired outcome and success. Well I’m ecstatic to tell you, there’s been software created to save your day, week, month, and even year! This organization-mastermind technology is called, PASconcept. PASconcept is an application designed to provide a comprehensive management tool that uses “Micro-Sprints” as a development strategy, guaranteeing team efficiency, and therefore work effectiveness.  In recent times, it has become more prevalent than ever just how important technology has become in order to conduct business efficiently.  Between conference meetings over platforms such as Zoom, or Microsoft Teams, etc., having the right software to perform essential business tasks has become imperative. 

What are Micro-Sprints & Why Are They So Important?

A Micro-sprint in the most basic terms, can be easily understood as a small projects within a larger project, that helps the timeline of the project run as smooth as possible. Sprints are an organized, broken down chunk of time, and part of a project to be completed, which helps with efficiency and prevents work-overload. Well-defined by Investopedia, “Efficiency signifies a peak level of performance that uses the least amount of inputs to achieve the highest amount of output.” By reducing the amount of unnecessary resources, efficiency conserves time, energy, and money by focusing on proficiently producing the desired outcome.

For work teams that undertake project management, having a methodological guide that guarantees a quality product and outcome is more than necessary. Today, many companies are likely to be working on several projects simultaneously, which makes organization and management of all the different moving parts essential for success. Due to this constant flowing nature of business, companies have refrained from using previous traditional methods that have turned out to be bureaucratic and rigid, and have turned to using Agile Methodologies. These Agile Methodologies work from web-oriented software, in which constant changes and shorter development times are required.

Scrum Methodology

An example of an Agile Methodology is Scrum Methodology, which is based on iterations or sprints. Iterations are optimized through the use of Micro-sprints, previously referred to. Micro-sprints have become faster, more effective tools to evaluate the functionality of a product, and put it on the market while making continuous improvements. In order to operate with the efficiency necessary, work teams must have a subsequent application that optimizes its processes. 

The Uses of Sprints Within Agile Methodologies

Manuel Trigas Gallego, states in his article “Scrum Methodology”, that agile development is based on iteration, communication and reduction of intermediate elements when working on a project. Iteration development is done through small portions of time or short cycles; (Sprints). These sprints then constitute a predetermined interval of time (not less than a week nor more than a month), during which a usable, potentially deliverable << Done or Finished >> product increment is created.

Sprint Phases

Just like many processes in life, Sprints go through phases. Three essential phases, in which can be called “meetings,” characterize Sprints. In Sprint 0, which can be considered “meeting 1”, the general objectives for that development cycle or iteration are decided. In this first meeting, the team members learn what part of a project they will specifically work on, receive clear expectations, and break down how they will make their desired outcome possible. From this meeting the “Sprint Backlog” is obtained, which is simply a checklist or task list. This list of tasks is imperative to the proper planning of the project, and can be considered the most important Sprint. 

This Sprint Backlog is followed up through daily meetings and evaluations. Here, tasks are assigned to each team member, along with the time in which they must be completed by. When each checklist or task list is finished, the increment it has generated is reviewed. This increase will mean more functionality in the overall product. 

In phase three, the final results are presented to the client, which helps promote feedback between both parties; the team and the customer. Functionality is also again reviewed during this third stage. 

Micro-Sprints: Faster, Safer, More Effective

If it can be said that Sprints or iterations are the basis of Agile Methodologies, then Micro-sprints have become the fastest and most effective synthesis for this type of methodology. This method has proven to be superior and successful, even in the face of vigorous, changing, and demanding work environments.

A traditional Sprint takes between two weeks to a month to take effect. Micro-Sprints result in shorter, faster systems. These are iterative elements (short development cycles) that are part of a feature and can be independently validated. Its objective is to optimize the speed of implementation of incremental improvements in productions.

How to Use Mirco-Sprints

In the article,  “How Can You Introduce Micro-printing into Your Development Process to Increase Productivity?” from the TodoTrello website, the following example is given:

If we are going to build a new version of a client’s control panel, let’s call it «Panel 2.0.0», we have two options:

Full functionality can be shipped at once, after two weeks of work, or …

Proceed to send five incremental updates to customers with 2-day micro impressions.

This is essentially the essence of Micro-Sprints; having even shorter development cycles that allow you to be able to work on product improvements on the fly.

Micro-Sprints Increasing Efficiency

Having much shorter development cycles is one of the biggest benefits of using Micro-Sprints. Having an ordered list of tasks that employees can work on that is clear and visible to everyone, including the client, is typically challenging, yet extremely necessary for further analysis. 

With Micro-impressions you can view the status of each separate task simultaneously, as the project is broken down into small units. Within this process, the product evolves constantly- even while it is already on the market! 

Micro-impressions also contribute to factors such as daily planning and consultations, reviews of progress, team’s self-management, and speed of work, along with even more elements. All of these features can be considered project improvements and assist with increasing work efficiency.

Concepts of Kanban & Micro-Impressions

In addition to scrum, there are alternative development models based on Agile Methodologies that use concepts similar to Micro-Sprints. “Kanban” for example, proposes a collaborative system that is used to control the progress of work in the context of a production line. One key concept on Kanban is that all development must be optimized, while avoiding local optimizations and striving for global ones. This Kanban model uses “Micro-Impressions”.

Another model that uses Miro-Impressions is referred to as “Open Up”. Open Up is an agile and lightweight, unified process, which applies an iterative and incremental approach within a structured life cycle. This method contains a minimum set of practices that help the team to be more effective developing software.

Hello Trello! Greater Visuals & Improved Organization Forms

Today there are several computer applications based on Agile Methodologies that can be used to optimize the use of dashboards through Micro-Sprints. During the implementation of a Sprint, it is convenient to organize a Work Board with stories ordered by their status, in their most basic form. The board has 3 columns of categorization:

1.Tasks to be done

2.Tasks in Execution

3.Completed Tasks

It is always recommended to add intermediate states as well to ensure complete and accurate evaluation, such as: analysis, coding, and testing. 

Based on the organization of tasks, and ideal for coordinating work teams, “Trello” is an application based on the Kanban Methodology, that in addition to Micro-impressions, can plan another 10 to 15 subsequent Micro-impressions. Each board in this application works as a Micro-print that the entire team has access to. Each task within the board has an appointed person in charge, yet everyone can actively see how the project is progressing or digressing for analysis and improvement. 

Overview

As you can see there are multiple options and methods in order to assist with business and project management. Agile Methodologies have become more prevalent and useful, when trying to organize a large amount of information that involves multiple moving parts and parties. PASconcept is an incredibly useful application that uses Agile Methodologies to work off concepts such as Micro-Sprints and Micro-Impressions. These Micro-sprints and Micro-impressions break down larger projects, into smaller, more manageable projects, that allow all parties access to see and keep track of the projects progress and status. Not only does having this broken down detailed information help with the projects currently at hand for a company, they can also assist in helping project more accurate future variables for projects, by mapping out a clear history of previous operations to base new information off of. 

Having these priceless tools at a company’s disposal, generate clear-cut directions for employees to be working off of across the timeline of a project, as well as creates clear visuals for all parties to see real-time status updates of a job’s work in progress as well as completion. This optimizes efficiency and conserves valuable resources such as energy, and time. And as the great Benjamin Franklin pointed out, since 1748 it has been considered that “time is money”, so we should be careful to not waste either. Thankfully today, we have PASconcept to help make this possible.

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Paula Omañas is the Marketing Communications Manager for PASconcept. She graduated from FIU with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration double majoring in Marketing and Management.