What is a Scrum Sprint and How to Run It?
Author: Carina Czisch· 3 mins read
In agile project management you often hear about Scrum Sprints. Scrum is a framework for developing complex products. The smallest controlling unit for project progress is a sprint. It consists of time-limited periods where key parts of the project are completed. The aim is to achieve the product goal at the end.
The Scrum Guide calls sprints „the heartbeat of Scrum where ideas are turned into value“. It is a foundational part of Scrum. During a sprint, the team plans to complete a certain amount of work in regular intervals. These intervals are sprints. They have fixed lengths that typically last no longer than 4 weeks.
6 Stages of a Sprint
Each sprint may be considered a short project. Right after a previous sprint, a new one starts immediately. This iterative process repeats multiple times until reaching a final solution. A sprint itself consists of different stages.
Before the sprint can start, make sure to do your homework. Create your product backlog with all the tasks the project contains. Furthermore, establish the product roadmap, create a product vision and develop epics.
2. Sprint Planning
The team plans and defines what needs to be completed. This typically happens by moving most important backlog items to the sprint backlog. The team has to estimate tasks and create user stories. This stage also involves identifying the sprint goal.
3. Daily Scrum
It is a daily stand-up meeting to stay on track. The team members share what they have worked on and if there were obstacles that hindered their work. It ensures that everyone is aware of the current tasks and aligned on the sprint goal.
This phase is about the execution of the tickets in the sprint board. The team works on the planned tasks and tries to complete the work.
5. Sprint Review
Once the sprint is finished, the team reviews the work. They evaluate what went well and what could be improved. Product owner and stakeholder(s) have the opportunity to provide feedback.
6. Sprint Retrospective
The team looks back at the sprint and identifies improvements for the next sprint. The aim is always to improve the team’s performance. The reflection is part of every sprint. In this way the team learns lessons during the project and is able to improve their collaboration.
At the end of the current sprint, you should invest time in maintaining your backlog. In the refinement meetings the team is able to prioritize and prepare backlog items that are important for upcoming sprints.
4 Useful Tips for Scrum Teams
A well-groomed backlog:
- If you spend time to organize your backlog well, it helps the team to get a better overview of the planned tasks. Always make sure that the sprint backlog is workable and refined early to prepare the team for the upcoming sprint.
A clear sprint goal:
- The goal of the sprint must be understandable to everyone in the team and should reflect the focus of the scrum sprint. This will help to ensure that everyone is working towards the same aim.
A well-managed daily:
- The daily stand-up should be held at the same time and place every day. It helps the whole team to stay updated and improve their communication. In this way, obstacles that might endanger the sprint goal, can get solved.
A commitment from everyone:
- The team members are learning from every sprint and should be open to this. This process helps to ensure that each sprint is more successful than the last. It also means that no actions are made that would endanger the sprint goal.
Working in agile sprints may come with a lot of advantages. Not only for the product owner or stakeholder. Also the team benefits and can improve communication and collaboration. But at the end, the used method should always fit to the project requirements. If you want to find out which project management method is the right one for your project, just do our test here.