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To understand a Sprint, what it is, and how it works, it’s important first of all to understand the concept of Agile and Scrum. At its simplest, Agile is a set of values and principles designed to make software development projects more efficient – What is Agile?
Scrum is an Agile project management framework that organizes projects in iterations called Sprints. This iterative approach allows Scrum to produce work and test it quickly – What is Scrum?
This article aims to offer an Agile Sprint definition, an exploration of Agile Sprint processes, and a look at how it works.
A Sprint is an iteration of an Agile project. In other words, it is common for project teams to break Agile projects into short, repeatable phases. These phases typically last between one and four weeks. Each Sprint has a specific, measurable outcome. They should produce a draft, prototype, or workable version of the final deliverable.
Project teams plan one sprint at a time. They then adapt future Sprints based on the outcome of the previous one. Teams should plan the number and length of Sprints in a given project at the beginning of that project. The number and length of sprints in your project should be determined at the beginning.
Scrum Sprints are associated with Agile so often that many people think they’re the same thing, thus calling them Agile Sprints. In fact, Agile itself defines no Sprints, as it is only a set of values for the team to follow.
The term Sprint comes from the Scrum application of Agile values. Here, they are used to plan and complete iterations of work. So, to continue, we will drop the term Agile Sprints and simply call them Sprints.
To plan an upcoming Sprint, you start with a Sprint planning meeting. This is a collaborative meeting where team members should work together. The outcome of a planning meeting is to answer two key questions:
Choosing what to work on is the responsibility of the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and development team. The Product Owner discusses the desired Sprint objective and which backlog items need to be done to achieve that objective. The team then creates a plan for how they will build those backlog items.
During the Sprint, the team has daily Scrum meetings called standups. These are daily check-ins during which the team discusses their progress. These standups are there to uncover challenges or obstacles that threaten the team’s ability to deliver the Spring objective.
When the Sprint is done and the team has hopefully achieved their objective, they should demonstrate what they have done. They do this with a Sprint review. The review is when your team presents the Sprint outcome to various internal stakeholders.
After this, the team does a Sprint retrospective. This is where the team identifies areas for improvement during the next Sprint. The retrospective completes what’s known as the Sprint cycle, and the team is now ready to start their next cycle.
There are several best practices and things best avoided if you want your Agile Sprints to work effectively, including:
Here are the key don’ts that you need to avoid during a Sprint:
Once you know and fully understand how Sprints work, you can use a tool like Teamhood to automate the process. Here are examples of the most common ways you can do that:
We hope you found this introduction to Sprint helpful. If you want to find out more about the topic, check out our Agile Resources library.
Alternatively, create a free Scrum board in Teamhood and start tracking your progress in under 5 minutes: