The Sprint and Its Ceremonies

Updated 1 week ago by Copado Solutions

A sprint is a Scrum iteration which usually lasts between 1 and 4 weeks (the most extended duration is 2 weeks) and allows the team to develop the product increment that will be shipped at the end of the sprint. These fix-length iterations should not change from one sprint to the next one to keep a regular cadence in the Scrum team. 

Short iterations reinforce the importance of good estimation and fast product increment shipping. The forecast of how much work can be done during one iteration is based on the development team’s historical velocity.

The product owner plays a relevant role during the sprint planning since they will set the priority of the user stories contained within the backlog and determine which ones should be accomplished first. 

The development team will set the time/effort estimation and development details of how to do it. 

Scrum calls for 4 ceremonies (meetings) that must take place during the sprint. You will find below the scope of all the meetings, the required attendees, when they take place and the maximum duration of every one of them (time box).

Sprint Planning

Attendees: Scrum team (product owner, scrum master, and development team).
When: At the beginning of every sprint.
Time box: 2 hours for every week of the sprint. 

The sprint planning meeting is a time-boxed meeting lasts 1-hour tops for every week of a Sprint where the whole scrum team agrees to complete a set of product backlog items. The Scrum Master will facilitate this meeting and the Product Owner will prioritize the user stories from the backlog, will define the acceptance criteria and will clarify any detail that is required by the development team. The whole Scrum Team, with the knowledge of the development team, will determine the effort and scope of the coming sprint accordingly with the team’s capacity and velocity. 

Daily Scrum or Daily Stand-Up

Attendees: Scrum Team (product owner, scrum master, and development team). Optional: stakeholders.
When: Once a day, usually in the morning.
Time box: 15 minutes. Stand-up meetings are recommended because they keep the meeting short. 

It is a 15-minute meeting for the software team to put in common the work they accomplished yesterday, what they plan to accomplish today and if there is any impediment that blocks or will delay the work. The Scrum Master will take care of any impediment and will facilitate this meeting to keep it short and useful. Other stakeholders such as the Product Owner can attend to this meeting to be informed of the situation. 

Sprint Review

Attendees: Scrum team (product owner, scrum master, and development team). Optional: stakeholders.
When: At the end of every sprint.
Time box: 1 hour for every week of the sprint. 

At the end of each sprint, a “demo” meeting will take place. During that meeting, the team will show what they have shipped in that sprint. Those sprint items not completed during the sprint will not be shown and will be re-planned and re-estimated in one of the following sprints depending on the priority the product owner assigns to them. 

This meeting should be very informal with no power points or any other extra work. The goal of the meeting is to show the work shipped and get the acceptance of the product owner. The whole Agile team will attend this meeting along with any other stakeholder interested in attending too, such as customers, managers, users, etc. 

Sprint Retrospective

Attendees: Scrum team (product owner, scrum master, and development team). 
When: At the end of every sprint.
Time box: No more than 1 hour.

The sprint retrospective is a meeting where the team reviews what did and did not go well to define actions to improve the process for the next sprint. It is always held in a constructive way and with the idea of trying to be more efficient, productive, communicative and agile next time. Stakeholders, customers or any other person that is not a member of the Scrum team, should not be present during this ceremony.

The sprint retrospective meeting is essential for obtaining feedback from all the members of the Scrum team and a way of installing the continuous improvement mindset within the team. It is an opportunity for inspection of everything that went well and what didn't and why. Any improvement will be shared and discussed with the team.

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