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The Sprint Review is an important part of any agile development process and is a mandatory item within the Scrum Framework. This meeting ensures that Teams can review the outcome of the Sprint and the overall progress of the project, subsequently making changes to the Product Backlog and focusing on the increments that can deliver the most value.

Whilst a Sprint Review can be led by the Scrum Master, Product Owners play an important role in the review. As such, we’ve explored the roles and responsibilities of a Product Owner during a Sprint Review, how to best prepare and execute a successful Sprint review (including a checklist), as well as outlining some common mistakes to avoid.

Table of Contents:

 

Overview of the Sprint Review Process

During a Sprint Review meeting, all stakeholders involved in the project come together with the Team to provide status updates on the delivery of Increments for that Sprint Cycle. It provides a way for stakeholders to review and assess progress on a project, discover challenges and potentially collaborate on determining the next most valuable increment to build. This includes reviewing user stories completed or partially completed during this period. It also involves discussing any issues or blockers encountered while working on these stories. The status of these influences any amendments to the Product Backlog and allow changes to be made to the scope for the following sprint in order to focus on maximising value.

What Does a Product Owner Do During the Sprint Review?

The Product Owner plays an integral role in the Sprint Review, as they are responsible for facilitating the meeting, setting expectations and goals, gathering feedback from stakeholders, and ensuring that action items are completed after the meeting.

As part of the Scrum Team, the Product Owner is equally responsible for the project’s success. Therefore, whilst there are clear responsibilities for a Product Owner during a Sprint Review, they should be actively involved throughout the Sprint. For example, they define the product requirements and collaborate with teams to facilitate communication, answer queries and ensure successful delivery.

As a more specific example of responsibilities within a Sprint Review, the Product Owner manages the Product Backlog. This may involve defining what has been completed or ‘done’, revising the Product Backlog, and prioritising based on business requirements or performance.

Ultimately, the Product Owner is the primary point of contact for all stakeholders within the project and is responsible for assessing the outcome of the Sprint and prioritisation of items for the upcoming Sprint.

Does the Product Owner have to attend the Sprint Review?

Yes, the Product Owner should attend the Sprint Review as they are one of the main facilitators. This is an integral part of the Agile process and provides a valuable opportunity for them to provide feedback on progress and ensure that the Product Vision is being met. The Sprint Review also allows stakeholders to see how work is progressing. It gives everyone involved in the project a chance to collaborate on any issues or changes that may be needed. By attending, the Product Owner can help ensure that projects are running smoothly and is delivering on overarching goals.

 

Product Owner’s Checklist for Sprint Review

Having someone who understands both business needs and technical requirements present at every Sprint Review helps keep everyone focused on delivering value quickly and efficiently. This is because all ideas are considered when making decisions about scope changes or other topics related to progress on individual tasks within a given iteration period. Additionally, having someone there who can answer product questions regarding specific tasks reduces confusion among team members, leading to better outcomes overall since there is less room for misinterpretation when discussing details around tasks during meetings like these.

  1. Prior to the Sprint Review, prepare a list of the User Stories that have been completed during the Sprint.
  2. Identify any issues or impediments encountered during the Sprint and provide solutions to them if possible.
  3. Starting with the Product Roadmap, brief the audience on where the Team is on the product journey.
  4. Provide an overview of what has been accomplished since the last Sprint Review meeting, including new features, bug fixes, etc.
  5. Present a demo of each user story that was completed in order to show progress made on the product roadmap and demonstrate value delivered to stakeholdersuserscustomers (if applicable).
  6. Review metrics such as velocity, burndown charts, defect rate, etc., in order to measure team performance against expectations set at previous reviews and identify areas for improvement going forward (if applicable).
  7. Invite feedback from stakeholders/users/customers about newly implemented features or changes (if applicable).
  8. Discuss any risks identified during the sprint which may affect future development efforts or timelines (if applicable).
  9. Facilitate conversations between members of different teams who are working together on related projects in order to ensure alignment across all initiatives (if applicable).
  10. Encourage open dialogue among team members.
Key Takeaway: The product owner plays a vital role in the Sprint Review process by setting expectations and goals for the meeting, gathering feedback from stakeholders, facilitating discussions between team members, and ensuring that the Product Backlog is updated and prioritised.

 

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid During a Sprint Review

    A Product Owner’s role is multi-faceted and involves cross-team communication. Couple this with an integral role during the Sprint Review and there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of. We’ve compiled a short list of key mistakes to avoid:

  1. Not preparing properly for the meeting is one of the most common mistakes during a Sprint Review. Without proper preparation, essential details may be overlooked, and stakeholders may not have enough time to provide meaningful feedback. To ensure that all parties are prepared, it is important to create an agenda before the meeting and share it with everyone who will be attending. This should include topics such as what was accomplished in the previous sprint, any issues or blockers encountered, and goals for the upcoming sprints.
  2. Not involving all stakeholders in discussions can also lead to problems during a Sprint Review. All key stakeholders must be involved in the Sprint Review and can contribute. Invite representatives from each team or department who are involved in the outcome of the project. Sprint Reviews should include a discussion of items, so the Product Owner should invite collaboration where applicable.
  3. Not raising the challenges or risks encountered or discovered during the Sprint. Presenting or summarising the issues encountered enables stakeholders to discuss potential ways to resolve future or recurring issues, further supporting the team.
  4. Not starting with the Product Roadmap. All too often, teams just dive right into demonstrating the functionality that was delivered this Sprint. Stakeholders or audience members who are less actively involved in the project may lack context. It’s always best to start with the overall Product Roadmap to describe the main goals and where the team is on the Product Journey. Then, with this context, the Team can present and demo individual Increments.
  5. Finally, not setting clear expectations and goals for the meeting can confuse participants. Before starting a Sprint Review session, it is important to identify specific objectives for the meeting. This may include agreeing on action items, or prioritising future tasks related to the upcoming sprint. Additionally, the Product Owner should set realistic timelines so that all stakeholders are clear on the roadmap for the upcoming sprint.
Key Takeaway: Key takeaway: Ensure proper preparation, involve all stakeholders, and set clear expectations for Sprint Reviews to ensure successful outcomes. During the Sprint Review, encourage collaboration, provide context with regards to the product roadmap and clarify timeframes for items in the upcoming Sprint’s delivery.

 

Top 5 Recommendations for a Great Sprint Review

  1. In line with the mistakes to avoid above, in order to have a successful Sprint Review it is imperative that you prepare. Not only is the Product Owner an integral stakeholder for communication throughout the whole project team, their role also encompasses the organisation of Sprint Reviews. Before the meeting begins, establish clear objectives and agendas that all stakeholders can agree on. This will ensure that everyone involved in the review has a shared understanding of what needs to be accomplished during the meeting. It also helps set expectations for how long the review should take and what topics need to be discussed.
  2. Team collaboration is essential for a successful Sprint Review. It is an opportunity for all team members to provide input and align goals. The Product Owner should provide opportunities to all team members to provide their input and feedback on any issues or challenges they may have encountered during development. This allows everyone to stay informed about progress and provides valuable insight into potential areas of improvement for future sprints.
  3. Sprint Reviews are also an opportunity for clarification, whether that be any changes to the goals or on bottlenecks experienced during the project delivery. The Product Owner should work with team members to clarify information, including providing demos to stakeholders or prioritisation of the Product Backlog and roadmap. Doing so ensures that everyone understands exactly what needs to be done before moving forward with development efforts in subsequent sprints.
  4. Documenting decisions made during the meeting is another important step towards ensuring success in future Sprint Reviews as well as other project-related activities down the line. All key items should be documented and circulated to stakeholders following the meeting to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clear. It also creates a framework upon which any changes or delivery of items can be reviewed.
  5. A clear action plan and roadmap following a Sprint Review ensures that items are completed without unnecessary delays due to a lack of communication. Clarifying the roadmap and deliverables for the next sprint is an essential component of the Product Owner’s role within a Sprint Review.
Key Takeaway: A successful sprint review requires clear objectives, input from all stakeholders, questions to clarify requirements and assumptions, documentation of decisions made, and follow up.

 

What does a Product Owner do in the phase between the current Sprint Review meeting and the next Sprint’s Sprint Planning?

A product owner typically works to ensure that the Product Backlog is up-to-date and accurately reflects the current state of the project. This includes reviewing user stories, updating acceptance criteria, and refining tasks as needed. Additionally, they will work with stakeholders to prioritise features and ensure that any new requirements are appropriately documented in the backlog. Finally, they may need to review analytics data to gain insights into how their product or service is being utilised in real life so that future sprints can be optimised accordingly.

 

FAQs in Relation to What Does a Product Owner Do During the Sprint Review

 

Does the Product Owner have to attend the Sprint Review?

Yes, the Product Owner should attend the Sprint Review and should facilitate the Sprint Review. This is an important part of the Agile process and provides a valuable opportunity for them to provide feedback on progress and ensure that their vision is being met. The sprint review also allows stakeholders to see how work is progressing and gives everyone involved in the project a chance to collaborate on any issues or changes that may be needed. By attending, product owners can help ensure that projects are running smoothly and efficiently while staying true to their original goals.

What does a Product Owner do in the phase between the current Sprint Review meeting and the next Sprint’s sprint planning?

A product owner typically works to ensure that the backlog is up-to-date and accurately reflects the current state of the project. This includes reviewing user stories, updating acceptance criteria, and refining tasks as needed. Additionally, they will work with stakeholders to prioritize features and ensure that any new requirements are properly documented in the backlog. Finally, they will review analytics data to gain insights into how users interact with their product or service so that future sprints can be optimized accordingly.

Conclusion

The Sprint Review is a critical part of the Agile process, and a Product Owner plays a key role in ensuring its success. It is essential to understand their responsibilities during this review and be aware of the common mistakes that can occur.

The Product Owner’s role and responsibilities within a Sprint Review are critical, from planning to communication and ultimately adjusting the review outputs to meet requirements for the next sprint. This type of role requires the facilitation of inter and intra-team communication, leadership and ensuring that the project deliverables align with the Product Goals. As such, we hope that the information provided above, including the overview of the Product Owner’s responsibilities, mistakes to avoid as well as tips to ensure a successful Sprint Review are helpful.

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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)