Even though I expected it, I was stunned when I turned the corner and saw it. Along one wall of the 20-foot-long corridor we’d just entered, there were rows and rows of crudely attached screenshots.
Each screenshot was a screen from the project’s large enterprise application. Each row was a sequence of screens the user would experience.
Screens were taped on top of other screens. Every time a screen was updated, the developer would tape it on top of the previous version. Some screens had been updated 10 or 20 times, and the paper stack fluttered as people walked by.
The corridor was visually stunning. It was a living description of what it was like to use the large, complex application.
The daily design review meeting.
The screenshot corridor was a by-product of a daily design review meeting. One-by-one, as the meeting convened, the project’s front-end developers would approach the wall. They’d scan it to find the pile of older versions of the screen they’d been working on.
Once they find it, they’d tape up today’s version right on top. Then they’d look around to review what the other front-end developers had just added to the wall.
There were a hundred developers on this project, spread across ten scrum teams. Six of those teams were working on user-facing code. It was the front-end developers from those teams that came to this voluntary meeting each day.
Running the meeting was the only designer assigned to the project. “Ok, who wants to start?” the designer said.
One of the developers said, “I’ll go,” and walked over to describe their screen. Taking turns, the developers would stand by their new screens, describing the work they’d done since the last meeting.
They’d describe the interactions they added, and how those served the user stories they’d been working on. They’d describe the challenges they’d encountered and would ask the assembled group for advice on particular questions that had come up.