You've got a Sprint Review coming up, but you're confused about what exactly is supposed to happen?
Perfect. Let's get this settled once and for all.
We'll dive into what Sprint Reviews are, how to effectively run them, how to solve common challenges, and we'll even provide you with a free agenda template to use.
What Is a Sprint Review?
A Sprint Review is a collaborative working session that marks the end of each Sprint in the Scrum framework, showcasing what has been accomplished and determining the course for future adaptations.
The main purpose of a Sprint Review is to inspect the Product Increment developed during the Sprint and gather valuable feedback from stakeholders. It's a chance for the Development team to demonstrate new functionality, ensuring that the product meets the Sprint Goal and addresses user needs.
Based on the feedback and Review, the Product Owner may update the Product Backlog and Product Forecast, shaping the direction for the next Sprint.
It's a key practice for maintaining transparency, adapting to change, and ensuring continuous improvement in the Agile development process.
Sprint Reviews bring together the full spectrum of individuals involved in the Sprint, each with a distinct role:
- Development Team: Prepares and conducts demonstrations of new features or progress, answers technical questions about the work, and participates in discussions about challenges and learnings.
- Scrum Master: Helps prepare the agenda, manages the meeting's time, ensures that all participants have a chance to contribute, and assists with addressing any obstacles during the Review.
- Product Owner: Reviews the Product Backlog before the meeting, decides on the items to be discussed and leads the conversation on the Backlog's adaptation based on feedback.
- Stakeholders (such as customers, users, or business executives):
Engage actively in the Review by asking questions, providing insights, and offering feedback based on their perspective and needs. Their attendance is essential.
How Long Is a Sprint Review Meeting?
The length of the Sprint Review meeting varies, depending on the length of the Sprint itself.
Generally, a Sprint Review should last an hour long for every week of the Sprint, but not exceeding four hours in total. For a two-week Sprint, you should plan on a Sprint Review that's about two hours.
Sprint Review vs. Sprint Retrospective
Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective are both integral components of the Scrum framework in Agile methodology, but they serve different purposes and involve different activities:
- Sprint Review: The primary purpose is to inspect the Increment of the product developed during the Sprint and to adapt the Product Backlog if necessary. It focuses on the product and its development progress.
- Sprint Retrospective: The aim is to inspect and adapt the team’s process. It focuses on the team's performance, the effectiveness of their interactions, processes, and tools, and how these can be improved.
- Sprint Review: Includes the Scrum team (Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team) and Stakeholders.
- Sprint Retrospective: Primarily involves the Scrum team. Stakeholders may be included, but it's not common.
- Sprint Review: Demonstrating the work done, discussing the Product Backlog, receiving feedback from stakeholders, and planning the next steps.
- Sprint Retrospective: Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Sprint, identify potential improvements, and make plans to implement these improvements.
- Sprint Review: Held at the end of the Sprint before the Sprint Retrospective.
- Sprint Retrospective: Occurs after the Sprint Review, at the end of the Sprint.
In summary, while the Sprint Review is product-focused and involves stakeholders to evaluate and plan the product's development, the Retro is team-focused, aiming to enhance team dynamics and efficiency.
How to Run a Sprint Review Meeting (9 Steps)
Running a successful Sprint Review requires more than just gathering your team and stakeholders in a room. It's about strategic preparation and execution.
Here's a guide to help you run an effective Sprint Review session, including key topics.
Preparation Before the Meeting
(1) Create an Agenda
- Detailing Topics: Clearly define each segment of the Sprint Review, such as introduction, demo, feedback, and planning for the next Sprint.
- Time Allocation: Assign a realistic duration to each topic to ensure the meeting flows smoothly and stays on track. This helps in maintaining focus and makes the meeting more productive.
(2) Review the Sprint's Work
- Demonstration Preparation: The Development team should prepare a concise yet comprehensive demonstration of the Sprint’s deliverables. This might include functioning features or significant advancements in the product.
- Contextual Explanation: It’s essential to not only show what was done but also explain how it contributes to the overall project goals.
(3) Gather Data
- Data Collection: Accumulate data such as the number of User Stories completed, metrics on velocity, and progress on the Product Backlog.
- Clear Presentation: Organize this data in an easily digestible format, using visuals like charts or graphs where possible, to facilitate clear and effective communication during the meeting.
During the Meeting
(4) Kick off with the Sprint Goal
- Context Setting: Begin the meeting by reviewing the specific goal and objective set for the sprint. This reminds everyone of the intended focus and direction of the work completed.
- Aligning Expectations: Highlighting the Sprint Goals at the start ensures that the subsequent discussions and demonstrations are evaluated in the context of these objectives.
(5) Showcase the Product Increment
- Detailed Demonstration: The Development team should present the new features and functionalities they’ve developed, emphasizing how these align with the Sprint Goal.
- Interactive Showcase: Encourage the team to make the demonstration interactive, allowing stakeholders to see the product in action and understand its practical applications.
(6) Gather Feedback
- Active Engagement: Invite Stakeholders to share their thoughts and reactions to the demonstrated product increment. Encourage open and constructive feedback.
- Future-Oriented Discussion: Use this feedback session to evaluate the current increment and spark discussions on potential improvements and future requirements.
(7) Adjust the Product Roadmap
- Incorporating Feedback: Discuss how feedback might influence the product's direction. This is a collaborative effort between the Product Owner, the Development Team, and the stakeholders.
- Roadmap and Backlog Updates: Based on the feedback and current product status, make necessary adjustments to the product roadmap and Backlog, planning for both immediate next steps and long-term strategy.
(8) Document Feedback and Decisions
Summarize the feedback and any decisions made regarding the Product Backlog or roadmap.
For better documentation, try to write down notes throughout your next Review. If that's too distracting, and if you want to leave no room for misunderstandings and misremembering, consider trying Wudpecker.
It's an AI tool that completely automates notetaking. After a meeting, it generates an easily digestable summary with action items, transcript and audio recording of the meeting. No more scribbling notes while simultaneously trying to focus on the meeting.
(9) Plan for the Next Sprint
Based on the Review and feedback, start preparing for the upcoming Sprint, including adjustments to the Sprint Goal and Backlog.
Remember, a Sprint Review is not just about showcasing what the team completed; it's about active collaboration and continuous improvement for future Sprints.
Sprint Review Template
An effective Sprint Review agenda ensures that the session is focused, productive, and time-efficient. Here’s a template you can adapt for your Sprint Reviews:
This template serves as a starting point, and you can tailor it to fit the specific needs of your team and project. The key is to maintain a balance between structure and flexibility, allowing for meaningful interaction and discussion.
Common Challenges and Solutions
Navigating a Sprint Review can come with its share of challenges. Here’s how to identify and tackle some of the most common ones:
Limited Stakeholder Engagement
Challenge: Stakeholders may not be actively participating, which can lead to a lack of diverse perspectives and valuable feedback.
- Proactive Communication: Reach out to stakeholders before the meeting to solicit specific feedback or questions they might have.
- Engagement Techniques: Use interactive elements like live polls or question-and-answer segments to foster participation.
- Personalized Invitations: Tailor the invitation to highlight the direct impact or relevance of the Review to each stakeholder.
Running Over Time
Challenge: Overextended meetings can lead to decreased attention and productivity, diluting the effectiveness of the Review.
- Strict Time Management: The Scrum Master ensures each agenda item stays within its allocated time.
- Prioritize Agenda Items: Focus on the most critical items first to make sure they are covered adequately.
- Post-Meeting Follow-ups: For discussions that exceed their time, schedule follow-up meetings or communications.
Lack of Clarity on Progress
Challenge: Participants may not fully grasp what was achieved, leading to misaligned expectations or confusion.
- Simplified Explanations: Avoid technical jargon and explain progress in simple, understandable terms.
- Demonstration Rehearsals: Have the team rehearse their parts of the Review to ensure clarity and conciseness.
- Use of Visual Aids: Incorporate charts, graphs, and progress boards to visually convey what was accomplished.
Challenge: Poor preparation can result in an unstructured and ineffective Review, missing key insights and discussions.
- Checklist for Preparation: Develop a checklist for the Scrum Team to ensure all necessary preparations are made.
- Pre-Review Meetings: Hold brief preparatory meetings with the Scrum Team to align on the Review's objectives and content.
- Role Clarity: Ensure that each team member knows their specific role in the Review. Clarity in roles helps streamline the Review process and ensures that all necessary aspects are adequately covered.
Feedback Not Effectively Used:
Challenge: If feedback gathered isn’t effectively utilized, it can lead to missed opportunities for improvement and stakeholder dissatisfaction.
- Feedback Documentation: Systematically document all feedback for accountability and tracking.
Use Wudpecker for automatic note-taking, ensuring no detail is lost after a long Sprint Review session.
- Feedback Review Sessions: Schedule dedicated sessions Post-Review to analyze and decide how to best integrate the feedback into the project.
- Actionable Feedback Framework: Implement a framework for feedback that categorizes it into actionable items. This could involve classifying feedback as 'for immediate action', 'for future consideration', or 'for further investigation'.
Remember that the Sprint Review is more than a mere checkpoint in the Scrum framework. It's a vital collaborative working session that empowers your team to reflect, adapt, and plan with clarity and purpose.
By embracing these principles, your Sprint Review meetings can transform into dynamic, productive sessions that drive your project forward with every Sprint.
What Should Be Included in a Sprint Review?
- Review of Sprint Goal: Recap the Sprint Goal to provide context for the discussion.
- Product Demonstration: The Development Team demonstrates the work completed, focusing on new features or significant updates.
- Progress Overview: Summarize the achievements of the Sprint, including completed and incomplete Backlog items.
- Feedback Session: Collect feedback from stakeholders on the demonstrated Product Increment.
- Backlog Discussion: Review and potentially update the Product Backlog based on the feedback and Sprint outcomes.
- Next Steps Planning: Discuss the plans and priorities for the upcoming Sprint.
What Are the Expectations of Sprint Review?
- Inspecting the Product Increment: Reviewing what has been developed during the Sprint against the set Sprint Goal.
- Gathering Feedback: Collecting input from stakeholders on the Product Increment.
- Adapting the Product Backlog: Based on the feedback and Review outcomes, updating the Backlog for future work.
- Stakeholder Engagement: Actively involving stakeholders to provide diverse insights and perspectives.
- Preparation for Upcoming Sprint: Discuss preliminary plans for the subsequent Sprint based on the Review's insights.
- Timebox Adherence: Conducting the Review within a set timeframe, typically proportionate to the length of the Sprint.
What’s the First Thing We Should See at the Sprint Review Meeting?
The first thing typically presented at a Sprint Review meeting is the Review of the Sprint Goal. This involves revisiting the objectives and targets set for the Sprint, providing a clear context for the discussions and demonstrations that follow. This initial step helps align everyone's focus on what was planned versus what was achieved during the Sprint.
Date: [Insert Date]
Time: [Insert Start Time] - [Insert End Time]
Location: [Specify if it's an in-person or virtual meeting and provide necessary details or links]
[Clearly articulate the overarching goal or objective of the meeting]
1. Welcome and Introduction (5-10 minutes):
- Greet participants and provide a brief overview of the meeting's purpose.
- Introduce the Scrum team and key stakeholders present.
2. Review of Sprint Goal and Objectives (10-15 minutes):
- The Product Owner recaps the Sprint Goal and objectives.
- Highlight key User Stories and Product Backlog items targeted in the Sprint.
3. Demonstration of Completed Work (20-30 minutes):
- The Development Team presents the work completed during the Sprint, showcasing new features and functionalities.
- Focus on how the work aligns with the Sprint Goal and addresses user needs.
4. Feedback Session (15-20 minutes):
- Stakeholders and team members provide feedback on the demonstration.
- Discuss the implications of the feedback on the Product Backlog and future Sprints.
5. Review of Product Backlog and Upcoming Sprint Planning (10-15 minutes):
- The Product Owner discusses the current state of the Product Backlog and potential items for the consequent Sprint.
- Outline any adjustments or shifts in priorities based on the Sprint Review feedback.
6. Closing Remarks and Next Steps (5-10 minutes):
- Summarize the key outcomes of the meeting and any action items.
- Take suggestions for next Backlog items that should be worked on in the upcoming Sprint.
7. Q&A Session (Optional, 10-15 minutes):
- Open the floor for any questions or additional discussions.