Chrissy and Vicky
Aug 14, 2017
4 mins reading time

Sprinting Sandcastles

A few of us Agile Coaches here at Holiday Extras thought we should enter the local sandcastle competition this year but in an Agile way - “Let’s do it in sprints… and blog about it”. And so we set up a TPM (Technical Planning Meeting) to plan this all out. One of the judges was a local artist, so the stakes were high - not just to prove that Agile could be applied to any activity, but that our artistic sandcastle-building skills were up to scratch! The theme this year was “double edged art was the key”!

Sprint Planning: We got together for an hour a few days before the event to plan the sprint. There are 8 Agile Coaches and about 5/6 of us were going to be there one way or another to help on the day. We discussed what to build, how to build it, what we would need, the rules & equipment. Everything was thought about, right down to bring a sandwich and suncream! sandcastle_tpm1.png sandcastle_tpm2.png We had 3 hours to build this prize winning castle - Team name - Let’s Banksy this!

Sprint 1: We decided to replicate our 2 local art creations by Banksy. We printed and laminated the 2 pictures and discussed the size of our pitch and how we should go about building it. We allowed 50 mins for sprint 1 to happen and then 10 mins for the retro. Basically Sprint 1 was collect as much wet sand as possible from down the beach to create the platform for our Banksy. And we nailed it! mounds_progressing.png final_mounds.png

Sprint 2: With the platform all ready we made a start on the next iteration, and made a start on both creations at the same time. We thought the Folkestone Banksy would be our trickiest. However, Chrissy smashed through creating this and she turned out brilliant! Our trickiest bit was the stars on our Dover Banksy, big unknown. It took about 15mins to get the first star right which we completely underestimated. Once we got the technique of the first star done, we were flying through the further 11 that were needed. As time went on we had members of the public coming over and even the Mayor stepped in for a chat. The team took it in turns to speak to people and the Mayor, which helped manage the distractions and keep the rest of the team focussed on the task. After our retro of this sprint we decided that we needed more hands on the Dover Banksy rather than the Folkestone Banksy. sand_lady_progressing.png sand_euro_progressing.png

Sprint 3: We planned to get the Folkestone Banksy into a good place and, once the structure was sound and we were happy, the 2 ‘artists’ of the group moved to the Dover Banksy to finish this before the 1pm deadline. We did it and they looked superb. In this retro we looked at the whole thing together and discussed what we could have done better next time. For example, even though the platform was built up, it still wasn’t really big enough for the judges to see it when it was up against some humongous creations like octopuses and dragons. Also a few people said we looked too professional (which we will take :) ) so that may have knocked us down a few points.

However, we all decided that next year we are going BIG! Go big or go home!

final_sand_lady.png banksy_lady.png

final_sand_euro.png banksy_euro.png

So what did we learn? The unknowns: As Agile Coaches, we were extremely proud of what we had achieved together as a team and what we had created too, but there were some unknowns that even we didn’t account for!
We guessed how big the plot would be as no one knew until the day, so we were reliant on Chrissy (2nd place Sandcastle competition winner 2010) to roughly guestimate Only 2 of us were there at 9:30 am to claim our pitch with 1 spade and 2 buckets between us. Thankfully Ryan arrived with his spade & muscles so we were sorted. One Agile Coach was running so late, it wasn’t even worth turning up One of the Agile Coach’s husband had such a bad hangover from the night before they had to look after him! Yes, that’s you Dan! Don’t assume using a cookie cutter will be the saviour and save you time! Sand is REALLY HEAVY when wet! Our arms ached for days!

However we did have a back up plan, just incase: banksy_was_ere.png

And you can sprint almost anything final_four.png

Tags agile, scrum, sandcastles