How the foundations were laid by two weeks of creative Liberty for your workflow

Whether you’re a long-standing customer to our products or simply shopping around, 1 thing you can expect from Foundry is continuous product innovation. With incumbent features aimed at making your life easier–from artists, to studios, to entire industries– supporting the intersection of imagination and company has, and always is, a fundamental part of Foundry’s DNA, fuelling our efforts to assist our clients work through initiatives like Sprint 100.

If you’ve used one of those products whilst you may not have heard in Foundry about Sprint 100, you have felt its consequences. This is a period in which programmers across Foundry are given free reign to channel two decades of technical depth industry comprehension and experience –all of which power our products, and enable the artists.

The Katana group was the latest of Foundry’s ability programmers to undertake their Sprint 100. Below, we’ll dive into the what, how and why of Sprint 100–and how it impacts you.

Not your Typical sprint

Foundry’s involves dev teams, plus QA engineers and product designers and Sprint 100 stretches over a couple of weeks. It serves as a means of encouraging everyone to work on something they are passionate about–whether that’s exploring a potential feature outside of urgent product demands, or repairing a bug that’s annoying–whilst supplying a change of pace from continuing release cycles which, at any time, necessarily take precedence.

Sprint 100 was created from the idea of ‘4 percent time’ rolled out in Foundry in 2017 with the intention of enabling our technology teams to research and innovate outside of their particular backlogs. Unfortunately, participation was limited due to logistical challenges–synchronising the timing of these involved for things like code reviews proved challenging, as jobs were worked on at various times.

Enter Sprint 100: a period of time in which this 4 percent of period takes place, by syncing participation, mitigating the challenges above throughout the board. At the conclusion of this period of time, the programmers present theories, their ideas and creations to Foundry’s merchandise groups, who ask questions with a view to getting it and in front of our clients. Gary Jones, Katana Associate Production Managerasks: &ldquo? ’’

The Sprint 100 took place in October 2019, and has been such a success the Katana team followed suit in December.

Zoom UI grab of Sprint 100 in action

Katana’s Sprint 100 was chosen as the Sprint of the year in the lead up to Christmas which makes this the perfect time for the group to embark on some merchandise exploration.

The 2 months produced a myriad of answers some programmers wanted to resolve bugs, renaming their Sprint 100 the ‘Bug Fixing Extravaganza’, into scoping possible features for Katana, although others dove wholeheartedly. A total of 33 ideas were identified and went for an estimate of the effect, a procedure that involved two sessions and nine videos through the product group.

One of the critical developments that came out of rsquo & Katana;s Sprint 100 was of a OpWrite Node that is brand new, enabling pipeline programmers and C++ informed TDs to build custom “op” tools from within Katana. This tool eliminates the loop of programming in a IDE, configuring that op to load in Katana compiling, testing, and repeating this cycle.  Now Katana programmers at client and Foundry side may conduct those tasks all from within Katana. Discerning readers will notice that this feature made it into Katana’s latest 3.6 release, providing a perfect example of where the benefits of Sprint 100 come to fruition, and a blue-sky notion gets productized and made a fact.

Katana 3.6 OpWrite node

Other theories to get traction in Sprint 100 involved enhancing Katana’s Hydra viewer functionality and capacities, an upgrade that users can likely expect in Katana’s upcoming 3.7 release. More on that later this season.

Obviously, rsquo & Katana;s Sprint 100 proved a success–not only judging by monitoring and comments gathered, but also the product developments which have caused it. The plan would be to repeat Sprint 100 with the capacity for a cadence inline with calls for it to become a normal item.

And why don’t you? After all, as we mentioned earlier, it’s part of our DNA. Foundry’s filled with technology, passion and individuals which takes you places. We love to go above and beyond to give our clients something they can get behind.

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