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February 17, 2023

Sprint Review under the microscope

Hybrid Management Project Management
Aleksandra Szmit Content Writer

Before we dive into a description of a Sprint Review, we should recap. In previous articles, we have gone over the basics of Scrum Events. We have explored the planning phase, that is the Sprint Planning session and learnt more about a Daily Scrum meeting.

So, to quickly summarize, the Scrum Events – according to the Scrum Guide – are frameworks serving a specific purpose that is essential to the overall value and results realized with Scrum. Each stage is essential for the Sprint to be going smoothly and effectively. If you missed out on the previous articles, take a look at them before going into detail about the Sprint Review, which we will discuss today for you to understand more extensively.

What is the Sprint Review?

After you’ve planned out your Sprint, it was time to get started, that’s where Daily Scrum meetings have come in. It allowed you to stay on top of the progress you’ve made. However, once the Sprint is coming to an end, it is time to inspect the process and outcome of it and determine future adaptations. This is what the Sprint Review is for.

During a Sprint Review, the whole Scrum Team, as well as the stakeholders, come together to examine the progress of the Sprint. It’s a chance to discuss what has happened throughout the event and evaluate the achievements of the Sprint. Although the Sprint Review also usually focuses on the presentation on new features in the form of a demo, it shouldn’t be just about that. Sprint Review should also go towards tracking progress against the Product Goal.

It is worth remembering that the Sprint Review is a collaborative working session and not a one-sided presentation.

Who takes part in the Sprint Review?

As mentioned above, due to the fact that the meeting is a review of the whole progress of the Sprint, you should invovle everyone who was on the Scrum Team. That means the Product Owner (who usually runs the meeting), the Scrum Master, the Developers and any other person who participated. This includes all programmers, testers, designers etc.

However, it isn’t only the Scrum Team who participates. In the Sprint Review you might also include the Stakeholders, as they are the employees of the company who are interested in the sprint deliverable. This could mean program managers and/or people from the marketing, sales, IT support or business development teams.

How long should the Sprint Review meeting take?

As you know from our previous articles, Sprints usually last 2 weeks. However, they are maximally up to 4 weeks long. And in accordance with the length of the Sprint, the Sprint Review might take up to 4 hours. The general rule is that the Sprint Review should not take more than an hour for every sprint week.

Chart presenting how the duration of the sprint effects the length of a sprint review meeting: 1 week - 1 hour, 2 weeks - 2 hours, 3 weeks - 3 hours, 4 weeks - 4 hours

The person responsible for keeping the meeting in the appropriate time-frames in the Scrum Master.

Why is the Sprint Review important?

You might wonder why the Sprint Review is an important part of the Sprint. After all, you have almost successfully finished the Sprint, so why should you review it right before the end?

Well, the idea behind the Sprint Review is to inspect the outcome of the Sprint and determine future adaptations. This means that the Scrum Team discusses the findings of the Sprint. Without it, the Scrum Team would miss an opportunity to evaluate the final output and make necessary adjustments. It is also a chance for the Product Owner to remind the participants of the vision and the Product Goal at the Sprint Review.

This way everyone can work together to decide what to do next. For example, establish if the product backlog needs to be adjusted to better reflect priorities.

It also presents an opportunity to:

  • Let your users and other stakeholders experience the product.
  • Help understand the accomplishments of the Sprint.
  • Collect feedback.
  • Show progress.
  • Encourage positive interactions between the Scrum Team and the clients.
  • Examine and go over the next steps.
  • Consider how to modify the Product Goal and Product Backlog.

If you’re still wondering why a Sprint Review takes place right before the end, it is because there is also the last Scrum event – a Sprint Retrospective – which is the one conducted after the end of the sprint.

What should you know about conducting a Sprint Review?

Any meeting (no matter if a Scrum, Agile, or one not based on a particular methodology) requires us to prepare in one way or another. It could be by highlighting key points and making a detailed agenda. It could be by creating a presentation, spreadsheet, or by simply making a list of things to go over. However, how should you prepare for a Sprint Review meeting?

You should know that a Sprint Review meeting is rather informal. It doesn’t require much preparation or has any rules to obey. However, before conducting a meeting, make sure you have all the essential information. This includes preparing all necessary data and insights by all members of the Scrum team beforehand. This way, everyone is well prepared for the meeting.

Let’s remember that the goal of a Sprint Review meeting. That is to assess if the final work meets the needs and expectations of the stakeholders’ needs.

Holding the meeting: Agenda and details

Once the Sprint Review takes place, make sure you kick off with welcome and short check-in on how everyone is doing. You can then proceed with an overview and go over the tasks that your team achieved so far during the sprint. Also, make sure all participants are present.

During the meeting, there are many vital key points that you should discuss. Starting with the presentation of the meeting agenda and analysis of what worked, what didn’t, and how you altered the project, as well as the problems the team has encountered.

A person next to a board with post-it notes, with people in speech bubbles. A representation of a meeting agenda and holding a meeting.

The development team should also demonstrate the done project that they have completed and answer any questions regarding it. This is also the time for any feedback from the Stakeholders.

Afterwards, you should focus on the backlog. The Product Owner should discuss the next elements that are planned for the next Sprint from the Product Backlog and report any backlog items and where it stands. Based on how the Sprint session was going, you should set the anticipated completion dates. This is also a good opportunity for you and your Team to assess any new information that could indicate a change in priority for those topics and to gather input on them from the stakeholders.

Finally, it is time for thinking of the future. This means evaluating the market changes and the value of the project. But also a time for examining any issues with the capacity, timetable, budget, market, or any potential obstacles. Then, you can proceed to the planning part of the next Sprint and its objectives.

So, by the end of the meeting, you should have an updated Product Backlog, a clear understanding of the progress of the Sprint and an idea of the future objectives.Two people looking ahead at mountains with flags. A representation of aiming achieving an updated Product Backlog, Future Objectives and Sprint Retrospective

What to avoid during a Sprint Review meeting?

Since you now know how to be an expert at holding a successful and effective Scrum Sprint Review, you should know what to be aware of and what not to do. Here are some things to remember:

  • Firstly and most importantly – Don’t miss out on the Sprint Review. If you’re a Scrum Team and have been working in the Scrum methodology, had a Sprint Planning session and held Daily meetings, then you should try to continue to work in this way and hold a Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective to find out what values it can bring to your Team. It is good practice to continue the full Scrum Event agenda.
  • Remember, that it’s working session, a presentation or a meeting with only one speaker.
  • It’s also not a Demo or a Sprint Retrospective.
  • Do not build authority. A Sprint is a collaborative and shared effort of the whole team. If you’re the Product Owner, don’t talk about “your” achievements.
  • Not celebrating – Building a functional solution in just a few weeks is an accomplishment to be proud of.

Since we’re on the topic of what to do or not to do, we’d also like to refer you to our article on some must-use tips.

Post-meeting

Now, when your Sprint is almost at its end, and you have reviewed your work and progress during the Sprint Review meeting, what might you do next?

Well, firstly, you can take care of the post-meeting necessities, which could include things such as: Sending out post-meeting notes. These ensure that everyone is on the same page. This will make any conclusions or actions from the session more understandable. You might also consider that it is worth staying in touch with your stakeholders and collecting their opinions. Lastly, remember that the ending of a Sprint is a great time for a celebration of how much you have accomplished. It also motivates the Team for future Sprints, if they know that their work will be recognised.

To sum up

A Sprint Review is an event which occurs right before the end of the sprint to review the work which was done in the duration of the Sprint. The length of a Sprint Review is determined by the length of a Sprint. The people involved in the Sprint Review meeting are the ones who participated in the Sprint. The idea behind the Sprint Review meeting is to analyze the results of the sprint and consider how you can improve or modify the Sprint in the future. The meeting also allows everyone to get a clear view of the Sprint and its progress and to think about how the product goal and product backlog may be changed.