What is a sprint in the Scrum method?

2023-09-08T10:41:30+02:00Agile methodology, Framework Scrum|

A sprint is one of the main components of the Scrum framework. It is one of the Scrum events that takes place in a period of time not exceeding one month, between one and four weeks, and aims to achieve an increase in value in the final product or service, that objective, called Sprint Goal, is set at the beginning of the sprint. During this time, the multidisciplinary Scrum team works on a specific set of backlog items, the PBI or Product backlog Items.

Which roles are involved during the sprint

The entire Scrum team is involved in defining the sprint:

  • Product Owner: Responsible for identifying the priority functionalities to be developed during the sprint, i.e., identifies which PBIs are to be developed in that period of time.
  • Development Team or Scrum Team: Responsible for carrying out the work necessary to complete the PBIs or, in other words, the functionalities and features that provide value in that sprint.
  • Scrum Master: Responsible for ensuring that the Scrum Team follows the practices established in the Scrum methodology, while removing impediments that may affect the team.

The development team or Scrum team works together throughout the sprint to ensure that the sprint objectives or Sprint Goal are achieved. During the sprint, the Scrum team has daily meetings, the daily Scrum, in which each team member asks 3 questions:

  1. What did I do yesterday to achieve the Sprint Goal?
  2. What am I going to do today to help the team achieve the Sprint Goal?
  3. Have I located any impediments that are preventing me or my team from achieving the Sprint Goal?

What is the relationship between the sprint and the backlog?

As we have already said, a sprint in Scrum is a fixed period of time, between one and four weeks, during which a set of features that add value to the product are developed and delivered.

The backlog, on the other hand, is a prioritized list of features or requirements needed to achieve the product value defined in that sprint, grouped in PBIs. The backlog is updated regularly to reflect changes in the project and is used to guide the team’s work during the sprint.

The backlog is arguably the primary source of work for the Scrum team during the sprint. Before each sprint begins, the team, led by the Product Owner, reviews the backlog and selects the refined PBIs, i.e., with the tasks assigned and the people responsible for each task defined, that will be addressed during the sprint and is known as the Sprint Backlog: these are the PBIs from the Product Backlog that have been selected for a sprint. The Sprint Backlog cannot exist without the prior existence of prioritized Product Backlog.

The goal is to complete as many PBIs as possible during the sprint, which helps the team to advance the project and deliver value incrementally and regularly.

“The backlog is the roadmap for the sprint and is crucial to the success of the product and service development process in Scrum.”

The Scrum boards

Once the Product Owner has defined the Sprint Backlog and set the Sprint Goal, the PBIs or User Stories are displayed on a Scrum board.

DoneTonic Scrum boards display:

  • Columns: Correspond to the sprint statuses, they can be the ones created by the system or created by the user.
  • Rows: Correspond to the PBI or User Stories, i.e., each row will be a PBI where the tasks that have been defined during the Sprint Backlog will be broken down.

The entire Scrum team must have access to this board, since it will be here where each change in the tasks will be indicated.

“The goal is to move the tasks through the board until they reach the final Done state, which indicates that the task is complete.”

In DoneTonic’s Scrum boards, every time the tasks in a PBI or User Story are moved to the Done state, the PBI or User Story is closed.

When a sprint in Scrum is finished?

Once all the tasks of the PBI or User Stories have been moved to Done, we can say that the sprint is finished, and it is then when the sprint review is performed, the penultimate of the 5 events in a Scrum.

The sprint review is a meeting that takes place at the end of the sprint whose objective is to evaluate the results of the Scrum team at the end of the sprint. It involves the Product Owner, the Scrum Team, the Scrum Master and the Stakeholders.

During the sprint review it is shown:

  • A balance sheet in which the PBIs that have been developed are shown where it is shown what has worked, what has not worked and solutions are proposed and if the Sprint Goal has been reached or not.
  • A demonstration of the value generated that was to be achieved at the beginning of the sprint.
  • The performance of the team, customer satisfaction and other points necessary to improve in the next sprints are measured.

“The feedback provided by everyone will allow new requirements and corrections to be added to the Product Backlog.”

After the sprint review, the Scrum team meets for the sprint retrospective. In the retrospective, the Scrum Team reflects on the sprint and discusses what worked well and what did not work well during the sprint.

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