Creating a Status Tool in One Sprint

illustration of a large computer monitor with smaller illustrations of people working on the computer

Government websites are seeing increased traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, as citizens look to the federal government for resources and support.

One of the Fearless teams working with a government client added a new offering to the client’s website to better support users: a status page. The status page displays the current operating status of the client's digital services. Project lead and Fearless Scrum Master Jenny Walter said the product owner had been wanting to add the tool to the website.

“COVID-19 did push us closer to doing it because if systems are down now there is a greater sense of urgency and need to communicate that information,” Walter said. “The previous way information was shared was very manual and not user-friendly, it was also difficult to see updates in real-time.”

As Walter and the government product owner began planning upcoming sprints, the status page was made a higher priority. Three Fearless DevOps Engineers took the directive to work on the status page and completed the project in one sprint, a two-week period.

“Delivering a fully functional tool in a 2-week sprint was a lofty goal, but we said we’d try,” Walter said. “Not only did the team deliver, but they went above and beyond to integrate statistics behind the scenes”

In addition to giving real-time insight into all of the digital service offerings the agency has, the status page also uses Google Lighthouse to develop metrics for administrators around site users. As part of Fearless’ commitment to encouraging transparency in government projects, the project is open-source.

Through the status page, the system is continually being scanned for down tools. Downtime is then recorded and marked when it is resolved. A record of “outages” is kept for internal users to see previous information. Previously, downtime and other issue reports were distributed through pdfs within the agency.

But the status page extends beyond helping those who work at the government agency.

“This status tool also gives support to people who are going to the website for help and want to know why something isn’t available.”

Developing and finishing the status page in one sprint not only helps site users but Walter said the project was a good change of pace for the Fearless team. Walter said seeing the team succeed and achieve a win in one sprint reenergized everyone on the project.

“This achievement shows the maturity of this team,” she said. “They can be given a problem to solve and rally to deliver, not all teams can do this.”

Moving forward, the Fearless team is focusing on operational tasks right now but are hoping to do more one-sprint development pushes to add new offerings to the client’s website.

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