Scrummaker: The project kick-off

By Nathan Donaldson

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On Thursday and Friday October 4 and 5, Boost closed its doors for an all-hands two-day product development workshop, to build a new tool to support teams running Agile retrospectives, which we call Scrummaker. This series of blog posts records the two days: what we made, and how we did in.

A little context: Boost is a team of designers, developers and Scrum Masters, who have been working with Agile for the past six years or so. As well as building websites and custom software, and offering Scrum services and coaching from our Wellington office, we’ve recently opened an office in Shanghai offering Scrum training and coaching. Nathan Donaldson is Boost’s managing director and the Product Owner for Scrummaker.

As part of the whole Scrum ethos, I’m timeboxing the writing of each of these posts to 20 minutes, so if the brevity leaves you curious, feel free to get in touch for more detail.

The project kick-off

We kicked off our two days of development with a full team meeting starting at 9am sharp – all under the keen gaze of our documentary team.


Nathan outlined his vision to build a tool that would support Scrum teams, both co-located and distributed. By the end of the two days, Nathan told us, he wanted to have something ready to take out and show to people as the next step in validating this potential product.

Nathan then introduced the product backlog and read out the first three user stories and their acceptance criteria.

Team charter

Next, Paul, our Scrum Master for the project, lead us to create a team charter – an agreement on how we wanted to work together as a team for the two days.

Team charter for the development of Scrummaker
Team charter for the development of Scrummaker


  • Half-day sprints
  • Retro at lunch time
  • Retro at end of day


  • Three teams (there’s 17 of us)


  • If you have a problem – put your hand up
  • Be respectful of each other
  • Everything done face to face
  • Pro-active communication between teams.

Definition of done:

For the purposes of the two days, our definition of ‘done’ was:

  • Cross-browser tested (IE8 and above)
  • Technical debt reduced
  • Merged to master
  • Passing tests (full coverage)
  • Internationalised
  • Deployed
  • Metrics in place

Split into teams

We shuffled ourselves into three teams, dividing up devs, designers and UX/content people. Nathan then handed out a story to each team, and we reshuffled a little to suit them, allocating more devs to the first (and largest) story. Once we had our teams we moved into three different parts of the office, tasked up our stories and started our story boards. At about 10am, we all kicked off our first sprints.

The next two posts will cover what we learned from our two-day experiment, and Nathan’s over all thoughts.

More on the Scrummaker project

  1. Scrummaker — the introduction
  2. Customer validation for Scrummaker
  3. Experience mapping workshop
  4. Technical discussion

Further reading

Learn about The Agile Project Kick-off Kit.

Watch The Board episode on Project Kick-offs.

Learn how to run an exercise to come up with your own definition of done.

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