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How to Run a Sprint

Software developers are always looking for ways to build software "better, faster and cheaper." Using SCRUM and running sprints is one way to do ...

How to Run a Sprint article provided by wikiHow. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Run a Sprint

Software developers are always looking for ways to build software "better, faster and cheaper." Using SCRUM and running sprints is one way to do that. (if you are looking for how to actually run faster, check out How to Sprint)

edit Steps

  1. 1
    Prepare for the Sprint Planning Meeting
    • Get participant buy-in - Participants are the software development team (Quality Assurance, Programmers and Technical Writers), and the product owner. The product owner steers the sprint and so if the product owner doesn't participate, the process is pointless.
    • Prepare the product backlog
    • Organize the meeting - the product owner should host the meeting
  2. 2
    Hold the Sprint Planning Meeting
    • Select a sprint duration, that is, how long the sprint will be. One month is the most common duration. Durations are sometimes as short as one or two weeks.
    • Identify which items from the product backlog make sense to work on first. Sometimes you want to pick the things you know involve the most technical risk, other times you may want to do the things that provide the highest business value. Some authors, like Kent Beck, suggest that you pick items for the first iteration that will allow you to build the whole system in a skeleton form. The product owner's input in this step is very important.
    • Scope out and communicate the sprint goals and commitments.
    • Having selected which items to work on, the team next breaks the items down into tasks and sizes each task.
    • Once the tasks for the sprint have been identified, the team evaluates whether they have the capacity to complete the work planned for the iteration. If there is too much work, it will be necessary to reduce the number of items from the product backlog the team will attempt to complete in the current iteration. If there are not enough tasks to keep everyone busy, the product owner may want to add another item to the sprint from the product backlog.
  3. 3
    • Work on completing each item in the sprint backlog. For an item to be complete, it must be coded, tested and documented.
    • All the development staff (coders, testers, writers) gather each day for a short (usually 15 minutes) meeting. In this meeting, sometimes called a scrum, each member of the staff answers three questions  
      1. "What did I do on the project yesterday?"
      2. "What am I going to do on the project today?"
      3. "What obstacles or impediments am I facing on the project?"
    • Track your progress. How much work is complete?How much work is left? The team may want to adjust their focus based on how the sprint is going.
    • 4
      Hold the Sprint Review
      • Participants should include the development team and the product owner at a minimum. Having customers and other people interested in the project is a plus.
      • Set the context, remind the participants of which items were selected from the product backlog, and why.
      • Demonstrate what the team has accomplished.
      • The product owner provides feedback to the team on whether the features in this sprint match the product owner's expectations.
      • Get feedback from the other participants, too. Customer feedback is especially valuable.
      • If the team failed to meet any of the sprint goals, give status on those items.
    • 5
      Repeat - You won't get better faster cheaper after one sprint. The secret is to try something and get feedback. Keep what works and scrub what doesn't. "Action reveals the next step."

edit Tips

  • Don't assign tasks during the sprint planning meeting. Although there may be some one on the team who is best suited for a particular task, if that person is busy, some one else on the team can step up, if the task is not assigned. This kind of behavior builds team work and esprit de corp.

edit Warnings

  • The process of frequent inspection and adaption will uncover all sorts of problems. Not wanting to fix deep seated problems is a significant reason that people abandon Scrum.
  • If the development team does not have any one from the customer facing part of the organization involved in the sprint, it is unlikely that the product will be successful.

edit Sources and Citations

  • Scrum et al. is a video where Ken Schwaber, a leading advocate of Scrum, describes what Scrum is, and why it's important.
  • Mountain Goat Software Mike Cohn has written several books on the topic of Agile and Scrum and provides lots of resources on his web site.
  • Control Chaos A web site specifically about Scrum, run by Advanced Development Methods, Inc.
  • Wikipedia - Scrum (development) The Wikipedia article on Scrum is another great resource.

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Last edited:
November 21, 2010 by Ottofox


Recent edits by: Tryme2, Jack Herrick, Eyerope (see all)

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