Using Scrum

By Mariette

It’s almost Christmas. This means that the end of the detailed design phase is in sight. This is the phase where everybody designs their subsystem to meticulous details. I have been working on the height control as electronics engineer: this means I design and produce the electric system and write the software for the actuation of the wings. Without proper height control we would not be able to fly!

The detailed design phase is eight weeks long, which means that beforehand you have to make a planning to ensure we all make our deliverables. To help with maintaining this planning we have one person in the team who is busy fulltime ensuring that all people stick to their planning. In the case of people not sticking to their schedule, he will help them get back to it or look into the consequences and re-plan the yearly planning. We do need to have a working boat in July for Monaco, so this is an important job!

To assist the planning our team makes use of a combination of Scrum and Waterfall methodology. Scrum is used a lot in software engineering so I was already familiar with this technique. Waterfall is used a lot more in other engineering fields, because it deals with tasks having to be done sequentially rather than when you feel like it. Because we are a multidisciplinary team, it works really well to combine these techniques.

We start the week with department meetings, in which we update the engineers in our department what we did last week. Then you we ask ourselves questions like: “what do I need to do now?”, “What can I do within this week?” and “do I need to do certain tasks sequentially or on a certain date?” Then everybody makes a list of their to-do’s, and write them on a post-it with an estimation of the time it will take and a date if needed. Then we hang them on our scrumboard.

To end this phase, we also needed to make a list of deliverables: these are tasks or concrete things that need to be completed by the end of the phase. In my list you can find among others: PCB design, choosing PCB components, connecting and reading of sensors. I finished all my deliverables a week early, which means that I could start on my production and enter the christmas break without stress!

Happy holidays!