Time boxes are another fundamental aspect of Agile Scrum. They help mark the beginning and end of daily scrums, sprints and releases. They are meant to be constants, making it possible to measure velocity – a product of efficiency over time.
Some teams unknowingly alter the time box at the entry (Ready- planning and start of development) or at the exit (Done – testing and retrospective), or at both ends.
Defining What Ready Means
One of the main reasons why the design team should be operating at least one sprint ahead of the development team is to allow sufficient time for the every so important conversation. These conversations (among developers, testers, designers and product owners) serve as a clarification of requirements outline in the user stories.
When design is happening at the same time or just ahead of the sprint, these conversations can’t or won’t happen. There’s not enough time, developers are eager to knock out story points. As a compromise, developers make assumptions about designs, or the less reckless, will cycle through several longer Q&A sessions within the sprint – burning both development time for that sprint, as well as design time for future sprints. I’m not suggesting that conversations should not happen, but comprehension of the spec should have been done going into the sprint with occasional clarifications within.
Bottom line, invest in the conversation at the beginning of the sprint. Be ready. It’s a sprint, not a jog. Give the developers what they need early. This will save everyone time.
Defining What Done Means
Understanding the agreed meaning of Done has been sited and written up in many Agile Scrum references. This is important for developers to unit test their code before unleashing it to QA. It’s even more important for you as the designer to contribute your time in testing and validating their designs.
Bottom line. The sooner discrepancies are found and addressed, the cleaner the build, the less technical debt, the happier the client. Do the work at the end and help ensure done is indeed done.