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Agile Development at Zomato: Features and Sprint Planning

In today’s day and age of dynamism across aspects of education, finance, politics, economy, environment but not limited to technology, we are constantly in the process of finding the most efficient approaches to solve problems quicker and faster. We are looking at ways where life never stops but evolves as time passes by. This is what entails the values of Build-Learn-Iterate which can be identified as the core of Agile Methodology in the world of software development. It is the agility with which improvement in products could be observed faster through this approach as changes are made incrementally and iterated over a period of time leads us to explore and implement this methodology at Zomato.

Zomato is a restaurant finder and food delivery startup which offers its services through an app in India. It is driven with the idea to provide quality food-based solutions to the users in the most efficient, quick, and appropriate manner. To define what entails quality food for its users as well as provide options to the users to order food online, at Zomato, key features were identified which were critical to improve the user experience as well as provide a wholesome experience to the user, making the app a one-stop solution to the potential customer.

As a product manager at Zomato, to ensure timely delivery of features as well as gauge the success of the features, the agile methodology is considered to be the most appropriate to achieve the given objectives.

  1. Product Backlog

  2. Sprint Planning

  3. Daily Stand Up

  4. Sprint Review

Each of the above would be detailed further. It is important to note that the above-mentioned domains are planned and each sprint cycle undergoes the life-cycle of feature development from ideation, designing, development, testing, and deployment.

1. Product Backlog- The backlog is created which lists down the proposed user stories of the features planned for future releases together in the order of priority from highest to lowest with a roadmap. The product backlog could be the following-

  • As a user, I want to add reviews and ratings on the restaurants I have been to so that I can give feedback to the restaurant. (Feature of providing reviews and ratings)

  • As a user, I want to use filters like popularity, cuisine, ratings so that I can narrow down to the restaurant of my choice easily. (Feature of filter for search)

  • As a user, I want to place food orders by clicking on the restaurant so that I do not have to call or visit the restaurant physically to get food. (Online ordering feature)

2. Sprint Planning- A sprint planning meeting is conducted with the entire team of developers to understand the duration of sprints, the expected feature release per sprint cycle, the amount of effort that each of the tasks would take to finish as well as clearly lay down the expected feature per release based on the sprint backlog created based on the product backlog. The duration of each sprint cycle may vary between 2–3 weeks depending on the development velocity of the team, thereby implying that each of the features is built, tested, and released within that duration. In this case, from the product backlog, for the first sprint cycle, the sprint backlog consisting of the top most user stories is selected, in this case, the first user story of providing reviews and ratings is picked for release for the first sprint cycle. And so on, so forth.

3. Daily Stand Up- To ensure that the sprint releases are on schedule and any gap is immediately reported so that quick action can be taken for resolution, a 15 minutes stand up meeting in the form of a huddle is conducted every morning. This meeting covers topics of each team member concerning what they did yesterday, what will they do today and any roadblocks they might be facing in development. This doesn’t only help bring clarity to the individual members but also increases collaboration between the members. Especially relevant in cross-functional spaces as at Zomato, these stand-ups will have members from the engineering team, the marketing team as well as the content team.

4. Sprint Review- With the release of the feature at the end of every sprint cycle, it is critical to gather inputs on what went well and what could be improved in the next iteration. Thus, allowing for the learning of all the teams in the process along with improvement in the product. With the first feature release of user reviews and ratings, in case the results and feedback highlighted the inability to gather inputs from other users on whether they found the review helpful or not, the functional changes such as a thumbs up button can be provided and released as a part of the subsequent sprint cycle.

Thus, we can conclude that the agile method is the most appropriate approach when the experience of the end-user is the most crucial part in defining the success of the product. More importantly, it is a great tool to collaborate better and make improvements in products within a short span of time.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This article was written and published as part of an assignment to fulfill the requirements of certification at UpGrad. The author is not associated with Zomato in any way.


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