Alternative Neos sprint formats

As just discussed in the weekly Neos Team Hangout, I’d like to propose a new, additional sprint format. In-person meetings, like the one we are going to have in Frankfurt end of this month, are great for socializing, usually quite productive and, in my opinion, can’t be replaced completely by virtual meetings. However, especially without additional funds, it is difficult for people to attend a one-week event and pay for travel and lodging themselves.

In the line of our effort to lower barriers for new contributors, we should also less rely on in-person meetings or conferences and make virtual participation possible.

So, I propose that we start looking into virtual sprints. These would be announced ahead of time, but could also be more spontaneous than in-person meetings. The catch is that you must dedicate your full time to that sprint if you choose to participate – for example two full days for a two-day virtual sprint. You must keep any distraction your co-workers or clients to a minimum so you can truly focus on the sprint’s goal together with the other volunteers.

These kinds of sprints could have more narrow goals, like “JavaScript refactoring of the UI” or “set up marketing campaign for the next release” etc. We need to experiment a bit with the tools (screen sharing etc.) but on the other hand we already have quite some experience with remote working as a team.

In-person meetings should still happen, for example twice a year. We need them to socialize, to get to know new contributors and to have a great time together while working on a bigger effort. We should pay attention to organizing a great location for these in-person meetings (like the castle in Denmark), as we can draw from these experiences for quite some time.

We might also introduce a third, hybrid kind of sprint, which would be only a couple of people meeting for a shorter time (2-3 days) for a specific topic. But well, let’s see.

What do you think? Comments, ideas?


Full support from my side, will make it possible for me to attend these while traveling. Also makes it possible for many more people to attend, which is great. Although timezones can still be an issue :smile:

Regarding smaller in-person focused sprints, that should be fine if the group working on the subject thinks it makes sense. Also something we should consider funding as a project.

Also think it’s very important to then put a lot of effort into the few actual sprints then, since it makes for a much better and more productive event.

We do however have to keep in mind that many sprint attendees in the past have only joined the sprints, but haven’t contributed much outside of these sprints. This is both good and bad, and it would be shame to loose those contributors. However our goal should be go aim for long term contributors regardless of sprints. Focussing on making on-boarding easy virtually, should eliminate the need for having to join a sprint to get started. Hopefully those contributors will still be interested in virtual sprints as well.


I’m in favor of short virtual sprint, can work nicely.

About doing thing, what about more “pair” programming ? Working alone is not always fun, and have a second person that kick your ass to do thing, it’s always a bad thing. What about small team (2), focus on 1 thing, responsible to deliver 1 think in a respectable timeframe.

The “pair” programming can also be used to welcome new comer, like some kind of mentor ship. Maybe we can discuss this more in details at Frankfurt


As an “outsider” my view on this is this. And keep in mind, that is my very own personal opinion. Basically, I think this can work very well for people who are already in the team.

For people, who want to get into the project, it might be a little to distracting. At least for me, it would be very hard to just sit on the computer and have only a video of the other persons. To get into something, I think you need some more social interaction. To really get to know, how the team works. How you talk to the people, and even more important, how you don’t.

From a technical point, I think it could be a challenge to have several people in a video chat. Maybe even working on different topics. So I second what Dominique said.

Now, that I think about it a little more. What about smaller sprints? Just a few people working on a very specific topic. I think that is way easier to organise, and could be more frequent. Maybe, even have a “suggestion box” for sprints. And if there is a topic, a few people are interested in, this could be arranged.

In my case, I have a few things I’d like to work on. But there is no way I would even start that alone, with any advise from the team. I wouldn’t even know where to start. :wink:

Especially for first contributions, it’s very important to have a very good feedback. “Good” in the sense of quick answers, advise and help.

TBH, I don’t know if that is even doable in practise. Maybe this is wishful thinking, because I’d like to get in but need some handholding. Probably most other people are not like that. :wink:

So, maybe you can take this as input in your discussion in Frankfurt.

P.S.: Unfortunately I can’t come to the Frankfurt codesprint due to many vacations in the office.

I like the idea of the virtual sprints very much, but I also agree with Thomas here. Even within the team it has proven to be hard to join remotely on sprints for example. And the big downside of working remotely is the fact that you’re easily disconnected. Because one thing is really hard via hangouts: making sure everybody really feels at ease and feels like he’s listened to. And that will be extremely important for everybody, but even more for new contributors.

So I see a big risk there, but it should be doable and could fix a lot of funding issues. But it requires a good workflow during that sprint. So that would mean daily standups, sprint planning and so on…

Hey ho, the virtual sprints are a great addition to real sprints, but not a replacement of course.
As for the real sprints, I’d rather have 4 big sprints a year than 8 smaller ones, as for me it takes quite some effort to get outside of Russia, so I’d rather be joining something similar to our Denmark sprint, than to Rosenheim sprint (longer, more participants etc).
Also it would be great if we could find funding for the sprints. The value of participation is times more than the expenses, so I think a lot of agencies would love to participate in funding. It’s tiresome to beg for money on Twitter on my own each time :blush:

PS: I’d love to have JS refactoring remote sprint some time in October, I’ve learned a ton of stuff about JS lately, but Neos is too much of a beast to get started with it on my own.

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