As Agile industries are evolving in the present market, it becomes inevitable for the professional working in the information technology industry or non-IT industries to be updated with all the facts and skills about Agile. Scrum, being one of the most implemented frameworks of Agile has been an interest to the individuals as it attracts many organizations and higher-paying salary packages. Knowing more about Scrum and all the artifacts, job opportunities, Scrum Events, and many more would help the professionals in the long run as they are working for the organization. Keeping this in mind, let us get to know about one of the most important Scrum Events that any person associated with the Scrum Team has to know about, i.e. The Sprint Review. But before knowing more about the Sprint Review, we shall briefly understand the basics of Scrum, the roles in a Scrum Team, and the type of Scrum Events that occur in the Scrum process.
A Scrum is an iterative approach for developing complex software products that use the creativity and productivity of the entire Scrum Team during the process of product development and delivery. It should be thought of as a subset of the Agile Methodology where there are many techniques and tools used by the Developers to create the product. Hence, Scrum is a framework where many roles, artifacts, and events are involved during any product development. The three main roles in Scrum are the ScrumMaster, the Product Owner, and the Development Team. Each one of the members of the team has equal responsibility and ownership of the product as Scrum Teams are self-organizing teams. For the Scrum Team to function smoothly there are a set of Scrum Events that are facilitated by the ScrumMaster that helps with the communication between the team members. As we know that the Scrum Framework functions by delivering the Product Increments in time-boxed periods called Sprints, it becomes an integral part of the product development process to organize meetings for discussing the various features and ideas for the Sprints. Out of the four main Scrum Events, which are the Daily Scrum Meeting, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective, three of them concern Sprint. In this article, we understand more about the what, why, how of the Sprint Review meetings, and understand in detail what includes in these meetings.
What is a Sprint Review?
As we have understood, Sprint is a time-boxed period where the developers decide the Product Increments that are highly prioritized and work on it for a maximum period of 30 days. Here, the Sprint Review meetings refer to a meeting which is conducted on the last day of the Sprint. The Scrum Team evaluates the features developed in the Sprint and updates the Product Backlog if necessary. It could be thought of as a meeting that reviews the work done during the Sprint and examines whether the Sprint Goal that was initially set is completed.
During this meeting, the Stakeholders, the Scrum Team, and other members associated with the product development process collaborate and discuss the work which is completed in the Sprint. During this period, the Product Backlog is updated, and the members discuss whether there are further items that may be added such that the value of the product is optimized. It should be understood by professionals that the Sprint Review meeting is an informal meeting and not a Status meeting, and the increments that are presented during the session is to gather feedback and foster collaboration.
What happens in a Sprint Review Meeting?
The Sprint Review meeting is at most a four-hour meeting for a Sprint whose duration is about one month. The Sprint Review is shorter when the Sprint is shorter than one month. The purpose of the event is elaborated to the members and attendees of the Sprint meetings so that they understand how important this event is. The facilitation of the event is taken care of by the ScrumMaster, who also takes care that the Sprint Review meeting is time-boxed and everyone involved understands this and sticks to the scheduled time.
The following are the elements that are included in a Sprint Review meeting:
- The ScrumMaster, the Product Owner, the Development Team, and other Stakeholders are the key attendees of this meeting.
- The status of the Product Backlog is discussed by the Product Owner as the PO explains what features that have been completed and what is not.
- The developers of the Scrum Team explains the process they went through the Sprint by highlighting the great things that they went through during the Sprint, and also by discussing the problems they encountered during the Sprint and how they fixed the problem.
- The Developers then proceed with the work that has been labeled “done”, and clarify any queries about the features they created during the Sprint.
- The PO makes the Product Backlog evident as it is. They may likely project the delivery and target dates which is based on the progress that occurred till the day. (this occurs only when the team needs it).
- The whole group starts to discuss the next items that have to be worked on such that this meeting acts as a starting point for the next Sprint Planning.
- The discussion of the next Product Increment is based on the marketplace and the potential capabilities of the project. Hence, keeping all the factors in mind, the team members discuss various aspects of the features of the product that has to be developed next.
- The group also reviews the budget, the potential capabilities, marketplace, and the timelines for the next iterations in the future.
The Sprint Review meeting usually ends in the revision of the Product Backlog which further defines the next items to be added in the Sprint. The Product Owner and other members may also adjust the Product Backlog items to meet the new opportunities.
How to run an effective Sprint Review Meeting?
As we have understood what a Sprint Review meeting is, and what is the purpose of the meeting, we have to also gain knowledge about the various tips to conduct an effective Sprint Review meeting. When professionals ask the question of how to run a Sprint Meeting, the answer is always in three steps that if followed by the ScrumMaster, would make the Sprint Review meetings as effective as possible. Here are the three steps that need to be completed before a Sprint Review meeting.
Step 1: Defining “the Done”
Moving an item from code review to done is a satisfying action as it certifies that the task is completed by the member. The Development Team has to finish the Product Increment by making a good plan to create a proper definition of done so that the execution of the product is smooth.The Sprint Review meeting takes more than planning. A clarity of the culture of the delivery of the work has to be devised so that the Sprint Review meeting is on an effective track.
To bring about an effective delivery culture, the process and development of the work must be clear. The following questions could help the Scrum Team to assess the process and ensure that everything is working optimally.
- Whether the stories developed by the Designer, Engineering team, and Product Owner is well-defined?
- Whether the engineering culture and values of the team are understood by everyone and lived to the maximum?
- Does the code review have clear requirements and definitions, continuous integration automated testing, and so that the Agile development is sustainable?
- Once the team finishes a story, whether there are many bugs on the surface? In simpler terms, whether the done is a “done”.
When a team’s culture around the completion and quality of the product rises better than every successive User Story they develop, the total value of the product significantly increases and the Sprint Review meetings also prove to be effective. This delivery culture should be a reflection of the team approaching the process and delivering the software.
How to define the ‘done’ on every work item?
A proper definition of done helps the teams to concentrate on the goal that is set up for each item. The Product Owner’s key responsibility is creating the Acceptance Criteria for any work that they add to the team’s backlog. They have to explain to the team what they think it means when they say that the User Story is complete. Giving a brief recollection, the Acceptance Criteria are metrics that the PO employs to ensure the story is implemented and they are satisfied with it. Hence, by defining the done, and making sure that everyone understands what the “done” means, the first step of the Sprint Review meeting is all set.
Step 2: Team Celebration
The team working together has always been a great way to motivate the team to work and produce effective results. Sprint Reviews are a wonderful time to celebrate and acknowledge each person’s accomplishment during the iteration. A particular time can be selected such as Friday afternoons where everyone is ready for the weekend or any other time as desired. A Sprint Review should not be mistaken with the Sprint Retrospective, hence the Sprint Review meeting should be scheduled between the iteration and the Sprint Retrospective. The duration of the Sprint Review meeting may be half an hour to 1 hour for every iteration.
A Sprint Review meeting should always protect the morale and health of the team. It should encourage team building and should not be treated as an exam. It should just be seen as an event that the team performs by collaborating with one another. where people demonstrate their task, field questions, etc, and get their feedback. If Sprint Review does not become prove to become an activity that creates positivity within the team, it may indicate that:
- Excess work is taken by the team and not completed during the iteration.
- The Scrum Team has technical debt and is struggling with it.
- The features that ensure introduction of new bugs is avoided into the code-based are not sustainably developed.
- The tuning of the development is not proper.
- The priorities are being constantly changed by the PO during and iteration.
One important point to note is that each team has a hard iteration often. It should be important to understand the reason for the change in iteration in the Sprint Retrospective meeting. With this information, a plan has to be created to address the issue in the next Sprint.
Step 3: Reaching beyond time-zones
Companies that have teams that are distributed across the globe have many challenges while implementing or conducting the Sprint Review meetings . Even though the Scrum Team is scattered across the globe, Sprint Reviews should be an integral part of the team culture. The team members can make informal videos on a confluence page where everyone could see. These videos would keep everyone updated about the development process despite the differences in the time zones. Whenever a feature is shown as a demo by the developer first hand, the team gets stronger in two ways:
- Understanding the product: The rationale, intention, and implementation of the product increment is made clear to the entire team by the developer which broadens the understanding of the whole product.
- Team strengthening: Making informal videos creates a sense of personal touch and connection within the team as each person gets the opportunity to see who is working on each aspect of product development. This makes the team stronger and tighter and effective Scrum Team despite the geographies.
The Sprint Review meeting is one of the four important Scrum Events that have to be conducted for the Scrum Team to function smoothly and effectively. During this meeting, the developer can present the work that they have done during the Sprint. The meeting is more of an informal way of presenting the iterations and should be a positive experience for the Scrum Team Developers and other Stakeholders. By understanding clearly what the definition of done is the developer can be sure that their work is completed. This meeting should allow everyone to make their work better by collecting feedback from other Stakeholders and improving themselves in the next Sprint. Also, ScrumMasters should celebrate each person’s accomplishment in the team and make them feel an important person in the team as this boosts the morale and health of the Scrum Team. And taking the final tip from above, informal video of the Developers displaying the iteration of their Product Increment or feature could be made to bridge the gap of different time zones. Hence, the Sprint Review meeting could be executed as effectively as possible by going through all these steps and also by understanding the what, why, and how of the Sprint Review meetings.