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On what day should your iteration start and end?

Surely start on a Monday and end on a Friday. Nope, unfortunately it is not as easy as that!
Never end on a Friday is a good maxim, well not unless it takes all weekend to deploy. Why not end on a Friday then it give us the entire weekend as a safety net if things go wrong?

  • To be blunt you should not need the safety net, not of you are doing things right in the first place. Take a careful look at what you are doing and how you are doing it. Something is drastically wrong!
  • People are winding down for the weekend (well at least here in the UK anyway).For all the trust you put in the team and their superbly responsible attitude, their minds will simply not be 100% on the job
  • Friday is a popular day for leaving early. this means you run the risk of the right people not being present at your iteration review and retrospective. these are pretty much useless meeting without the team there

But surely it is a good thing to start on a Monday though, it is the start of the week and everybody is nice and fresh, this means that we must end on a Friday. Well starting on a Monday is not a good thing either, for a few reasons.

  • all those conversations that were held last week have been diluted by all the fun the team has had over the weekend.
  • as much as you may disagree, all that fun will be discussed first thing on Monday leaving little time to get back up to speed with things before you need to jump straight into planning
  • in the UK at least Monday is the day that almost all Bank Holidays fall on this means that the planning sessions will be continually re-scheduled, this disruption is not good. (How much fun can you have in a 3 day weekend? loads I bet)

So where does that leave us, ending an iteration on a Monday would be madness, too much is lost over the weekend and it would be risky. it also suffers from the same bank holiday problems as starting on a Monday. Ending on a Tuesday would probably be ok with the only disruption from bank holidays eating up a Monday. (Tell you what lets just ban bank holidays.) This leaves Wednesday as the best candidate for ending an iteration, and Thursday for starting back up again.

So now we throw things back into disarray again! there are times when Monday and Friday do make sense. Where you have short iterations of a week, the disruption caused by a weekend in the middle of the iteration is likely to be expensive. Here is would be better to have the disruption between iterations and end your iterations on the Friday, with a floating start on Monday of Tuesday.