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Scrum has become an integral part of many IT and FinTech organizations. Understanding the difference between a Sprint Review vs Sprint Retrospective is essential for successful Scrum implementation.

A Sprint in Scrum is a time-boxed iteration of development in which a cross-functional team works to deliver a potentially releasable product increment. Teams work in  short Sprints. Sprints typically last between 1 and 4 weeks, and are used to organize and manage work on a software project. During a Sprint, the team will plan, design, develop, test, and potentially deploy new features or improvements to the product. At the end of each Sprint, the team will review their progress and plan for the next Sprint. This iterative, incremental approach allows the team to adapt to changing requirements and deliver a high-quality product.

A Sprint in Scrum typically includes several key meetings:

  1. Sprint Planning: This meeting is held at the beginning of each Sprint, and is used to plan the work that the team will complete during the Sprint. The team will review the product backlog, identify the highest priority items, and determine what can be completed within the Sprint time-box.
  2. Daily Scrum: Also known as the “daily stand-up,” this is a short meeting (typically 15 minutes or less) held every day during the Sprint. The team will use this time to discuss progress, identify any obstacles, and plan for the day’s work.
  3. Sprint Review: This meeting is held at the end of each Sprint, and is used to review the work that has been completed. The team will demonstrate the product increment to stakeholders and gather feedback.
  4. Sprint Retrospective: Also held at the end of the sprint, after the Review. This meeting is used for the team to reflect on the Sprint, identify what went well, what didn’t, and what can be improved.

In brief; A Sprint Review focuses on what was completed, while a Sprint Retrospective looks at ways to improve future performance.

By understanding best practices for both meetings, teams can work together efficiently and make better decisions when needed. In this blog post, we will dive into the details of each process including differences between them as well as their respective best practices that help ensure success in any organization’s agile journey.

Sprint Review – Common Questions

What is the purpose of the Sprint Review?

The purpose of the Sprint Review is to inspect the work done during the Sprint, and for stakeholders to provide feedback on the product being developed. The outcome of the Sprint Review is to determine the next steps for the product development, including what changes should be made to the product backlog.

What is the purpose of a sprint review?

The purpose of a sprint review is to assess the progress made during a sprint and ensure that all objectives have been met. It provides an opportunity for stakeholders to inspect the work completed, provide feedback, and identify any areas where further improvements can be made. The review also serves as a platform for team members to discuss successes and challenges faced during the sprint, enabling them to adjust their processes accordingly in future iterations. Ultimately, it helps teams stay on track with their goals while ensuring they are delivering quality products or services that meet customer needs.

What happens in the Sprint Review?

The Sprint Review is an inspection of the Increment created during the Sprint and the preparation of a plan for the next Sprint. During the Sprint Review, the Scrum Team and stakeholders collaborate about what was done in the Sprint, what could be done better, and what to do next. The team also discusses any issues encountered during development and makes decisions on how to address them. Finally, they discuss potential changes or improvements for upcoming sprints based on their current progress. This helps ensure that all parties are aligned with expectations and objectives throughout the project’s lifecycle.

The Sprint Review includes the demonstration of the Increment and an inspection of how the Scrum Team is working.

During the Sprint Review, the following activities also typically occur:

  1. The Product Owner reviews the Product Roadmap with the Team and Stakeholders and orients the group around progress.
  2. The Product Owner may review the Sprint Goal for the completed Sprint, outlining how it fits into the overall Product Roadmap.
  3. The Development Team demonstrates the functionality delivered in the Sprint, including the results of all the Sprint’s iterations.
  4. Stakeholders and customers provide feedback on the increment and collaborate with the Development Team on future development plans.
  5. The Scrum Team also provides an overview of the work done in the Sprint and what is planned for the next Sprint.
  6. The Sprint Review provides an opportunity for the Scrum Team to adjust its plan for the next Sprint based on what was learned during the review.
  7. The Sprint Review may result in a revised Product Backlog that defines the probable Product Backlog items for the next Sprint.

The Sprint Review is a formal opportunity to inspect the Increment and adapt the Product Backlog, as well as to align the Scrum Team, stakeholders and customers.

Who should attend the Sprint Review?

The Scrum Team, which includes the Development Team, Product Owner, and Scrum Master, should attend the Sprint Review. Additionally, stakeholders, such as end users and customers, should also be invited to attend the Sprint Review.

What should be presented during the Sprint Review?

During the Sprint Review, the Development Team should present the work they completed during the Sprint, including any functionality that was added or changed. The Product Owner should also be prepared to discuss the progress made towards the Sprint Goal and any changes to the product backlog.

How should the Sprint Review be conducted?

The Sprint Review should be conducted in a collaborative and open environment. Although there are no hard and fast rules, we have seen that the Product Owner usually leads the Sprint Review, but all attendees are expected to contribute, collaborate and have the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions.

What is the outcome of the Sprint Review?

The outcome of the Sprint Review is to determine the next steps for the products development, including what changes should be made to the Product Backlog.

How should the feedback from the Sprint Review be used?

The feedback from the Sprint Review should be used to make decisions about the product development and to prioritize items in the product backlog.

How long should the Sprint Review be?

The length of the Sprint Review should be kept as short as to be effective, typically no more than 4 hours for a one-month Sprint.

What comes first Sprint Review or Sprint Retrospective?

The Sprint Review comes first. It is an important part of the Agile process and mandatory in Scrum. The Sprtin Review provides stakeholders with an opportunity to review the progress made during the Sprint. The Retrospective follows, allowing teams to discuss what went well, what could be improved, and how processes can be adjusted for future sprints. This feedback helps ensure that teams are continuously improving their practices and delivering high-quality results.

What should be done if the Sprint Goal is not met?

If the Sprint Goal is not met, the Scrum Team should review the work done during the Sprint, identify any obstacles or issues that prevented the goal from being met, and use this information to adjust their approach for future Sprints. Additionally, the product backlog should be updated to reflect changes and priorities based on the feedback from the Sprint Review. Most importantly this learning oportunity should be discussed during the Sprint Retrospective.

Sprint Retrospective – Common Questions

  • What is the purpose of a Sprint Retrospective? The purpose of a Sprint Retrospective is to reflect on the previous Sprints performance and identify areas for improvement in the team’s process and workflow.
  • Who should attend a Sprint Retrospective? Typically, the entire Scrum team, including the Scrum Master and Product Owner, should attend the Sprint Retrospective.
  • When should the Sprint Retrospective be held? The Sprint Retrospective happens after the Sprint Review and is typically the last meeting in a Sprint.
  • How often should a Sprint Retrospective be held? A Sprint Retrospective should be held at the end of every sprint.
  • What are some common topics discussed during a Sprint Retrospective? Common topics discussed during a Sprint Retrospective include what went well during the sprint, what didn’t go well, and what can be improved in the next sprint.
  • How can a Sprint Retrospective be made more effective? A Sprint Retrospective can be made more effective by setting clear goals for the meeting, actively involving all team members, and following up on action items from previous retrospectives.
  • How long does a Sprint Retrospective typically take? A Sprint Retrospective typically takes around 1 hour.
  • How can we measure the effectiveness of the Sprint Retrospective? One approach to measure the effectiveness of the Sprint Retrospective can be to look at the number of action items identified and completed, as well as by surveying team members on their satisfaction with the process.

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Tips for Successful Implementation:

Preparing for the Meeting: It is important to ensure that all participants are aware of the purpose and objectives of both sprint review and retrospective meetings. This can be done by sending out an agenda prior to the meeting, outlining what will be discussed during each session. Additionally, it is helpful to provide any relevant documents or materials that may be needed during the meeting so that everyone has access to them beforehand.

Establishing ground rules at the beginning of both sessions helps create an environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking up and voicing their opinions without fear of judgement or criticism. Some examples include allowing only one person to speak at a time, refraining from interruptions or side conversations while someone else is talking, respecting different points of view even if they differ from your own opinion, etc. Having these ground rules in place before starting either process allows all parties involved to feel more secure in expressing themselves freely throughout the duration of both sessions.

Setting Clear Expectations: Prior to beginning a sprint review or retrospective process, it is essential to set clear expectations of what outcomes should result from the meetings. This could include setting specific goals for improvement or identifying areas where further collaboration between team members would benefit the project’s success. By establishing these expectations ahead of time, participants can come into the meeting with a better understanding of what needs to be accomplished during their discussion.

The conclusion of a Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective is an important step in a Sprint. It helps to ensure that all team members are on the same page, have a clear understanding of what needs to be done next, and can move forward with their tasks.

The goals and objectives of each process are different; while the Sprint Review focuses on reviewing progress made during the current sprint, the Retrospective looks back at the teams performance with an eye towards improving future performance. The time commitment for both meetings varies depending on team size and complexity of tasks; however, most Sprints Reviews should take no longer than one hour while Retrospectives may require up to two hours or more depending on the amount of feedback needed from team members. Finally, outcomes from these meetings include actionable items such as identifying risks or blockers which need resolution before proceeding with new tasks or making changes based on lessons learned from previous experiences within a given project timeline.

Steps to conduct a successful Sprint Review Meeting:

  1. Create an Agenda: The Product Owner should create an agenda for the meeting that covers topics such as the progress of the sprint, accomplishments, and any problems or risks encountered. This will help ensure all relevant topics are covered in a timely manner.
  2. Invite Attendees: All stakeholders involved in the project should be invited to the review meeting to provide feedback on the completion of their tasks during the sprint and what could have been done better. It is also important to invite team members who were not directly involved in completing tasks but need to know about changes or updates made during the sprint.
  3. Collect Feedback: During the meeting, stakeholders should provide feedback on the completion of their tasks during the sprint and what could have been done better from their perspective. This helps identify areas for improvement for future projects and allows everyone to learn from past mistakes.
  4. Address Challenges and Risks: Any challenges or risks encountered during the project should be discussed openly at the Sprint Review Meeting so solutions can be identified quickly before they become major problems.
  5. Set Objectives for the Next Sprint: At this point, it is important to set goals for the next sprint based on lessons learned from previous sprints and make sure everyone understands what needs to be accomplished before the next review.
  6. Document Results and Takeaways: After each Sprint Review Meeting, it is essential to document the results, takeaways, and action items to avoid confusion later on and to serve as reference material for future reviews. This makes future reviews more efficient as most things would already be documented.

Steps to conduct a succesful Sprint Retrospective meeting:

  1. Create a Collaborative and Safe Environment: Establish a safe and open environment where all team members feel comfortable to speak openly and honestly. Encourage collaboration and teamwork to build a sense of shared responsibility for the success of the sprint.
  2. Set Objectives and Invite Team Members: Set clear goals for the meeting and invite all members of the Scrum team to participate.
  3. Provide Information: Provide all necessary information to the team members to ensure they have a complete understanding of the sprint and its outcomes.
  4. Analyze Patterns and Identify Problems: Study patterns, analyze them carefully, and identify where things went wrong during the sprint.
  5. Build Consensus: Encourage team members to share their perspectives and build consensus around the identified problems and areas for improvement.
  6. Develop Solutions and Action Plans: Decide on a plan of action and develop solutions for each specific problem or pitfall.
  7. Recognize Accomplishments: Appreciate and acknowledge what went well during the entire sprint.
  8. Follow-up: Close the meeting with a follow-up, keep team members informed on the progress of the action items and solution implementation.

The duration of the Sprint Retrospective meeting can vary from one hour to three hours, depending on the duration of the sprint and the phase of the product. The main focus of this meeting is to analyze problems, identify areas for improvement, build collaboration and consensus, establish a safe environment and make corrections.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Sprint Review and the Sprint Retrospective are two key meetings that should be implemented in any Agile project and are mandatory in Scrum. The Sprint Review is a process where stakeholders evaluate the progress of a team’s work during each iteration, while the Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for teams to reflect on their performance and identify areas for improvement. While both processes have similar goals, they serve different purposes and should be used together to ensure successful project delivery. By understanding the differences between these two meetings and following best practices when conducting them, organizations can maximize their success with Agile projects. Ultimately, effective use of both Sprint Reviews and Retrospectives will help ensure that teams deliver high-quality products close to within budget and on time.

Are you looking for agile training, consulting or programme delivery solutions that will help your team improve their processes and outcomes? At Fractal Systems Ltd we provide comprehensive Agile Training and Consulting services to equip teams with the knowledge they need to succeed. Our experienced professionals can also help turn around challenging projects by providing expertise in Sprint Reviews and Retrospectives. Contact us today to learn more about how our innovative solutions can drive success for your organisation!

Further Agile Scrum Training

 Online Professional Scrum Master Training I (PSMI)

 Online Professional Scrum Master Training II (PSMII)

 Online Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO)

 Professional Scrum Product Owner Advanced (PSPO-A)

 Applying Professional Scrum (APS)