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What is a One Hour Upgrade?

One Hour Upgrade is a chance to make an improvement to which we might otherwise not get around to in the course of our normal sprints.

The only hard and fast rule is that if you start a task it must be finished within the hour.

Read the history of One Hour Upgrades on the blog.

NEW! The One Hour Upgrade Trello board

Store your ideas for One Hour Upgrades in the backlog and track progress of any started stories.

The backlog will be archived after each session. Don't get too precious with your One Hour Upgrade ideas. Ideas are like buses - there will always be another one along soon.


We hold One Hour Upgrades once a month during maintenance week.

There are two sessions for each upgrade:

  1. Planning - Decide what is going to be done
  2. Doing - Do it!

1) Planning

The planning session is a brisk 30 minutes and consists of 3 stages:

  • 10 minutes to think of tasks for the upcoming upgrade. Proposed tasks are written on the supplied post-its as user stories. These go in the 'Backlog' column on the wall.
  • 10 minutes to review the stories. Everyone gets three two '+1's to add to stories they feel are worthy or that they are interested in doing in the upgrade.
  • 10 minutes to review the highest rated stories. These are moved into the 'Doing' column.

Participants don't select a story to tackle during the initial planning session.

2) Doing

An hour and a half consisting of 3 stages:

  • 15 minutes to select a story from 'Doing' to tackle during the upgrade. Pairing on stories is encouraged. Brief team discussion around the definition of done for each story.
  • 1 hour to do the work!
  • 15 minutes to run through each story in 'Doing' and assess whether it has been completed (or not).

Stories that have made it to the 'Doing' column are added to the Trello board.

Stories that have been stopped are added to the Trello board.

After the upgrade


Bask in the glory of your successes or learn from your mistakes.

If a story is in review or needs further attention outside of One Hour Upgrade then any follow-up actions will be outlined on the Trello board.


Clean up the Trello board

  • Clear down the previous months backlog
  • Archive the 'Done (xx/xx/xx)' column and create a new one
  • Add cards to 'Action required' column where relevant
  • Write up the session as a blog post


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