What Is a Sprint? (With Definition)

Max 8min read
Sprint

What Is a Sprint?

Definition of a Sprint

“A sprint is a set of time frames planned by the scrum master. Scrum teams have to complete the assigned tasks and make them available for review during this period.”

Definition of a sprint is a short, time-bound period when a scrum team works to complete a set amount of work. Sprints define the core of the scrum and agile methodologies. An agile team can build a better product with fewer headaches and obstacles with proper sprints and the right time.

Product owners can break down an agile project into many sprints using product management tools. Teams can understand these sprints as short, repeatable phases, generally two to four weeks long. 

The team should decide on the number and time of the sprints at the beginning of the project. A team collaboratively sets their target with the product owner as the “sprint goal” and plans their work in a “sprint backlog.” 

Sprint analytics helps the scrum master and product owner get on track with the sprint’s progress at a glance.

What is sprint agile?

Whenever a development team has an agile project, they break it down into small parts. These pieces are known as iterations or sprints in technical terms.

For example, a team has a project that they need to complete in six months. In such a case, the team members in agile can get overwhelmed with tasks and feel like they aren’t progressing toward the end goal. 

But when you divide the project into sprints, the development team can better focus on small goals and witness the project progressing. Splitting in such a way will boost them to work toward the end goal without waiting for the project to be complete. 

What Are the Benefits of Sprint?

Focus Better on goals

The first of the sprint benefits is that it helps teams focus better on goals. Dividing the entire project into an array of smaller tasks ensures that the team’s entire focus is always on solving the problem presently at hand. 

A ‘definition of done’ is established beforehand. And the teams consider a scrum project sprint as complete only when the final specifications of the product follow the already established definition. 

Definition of done refers to the pending backlogs that team members should not consider. 

Since everyone knows what to work on, teams become laser-focused and spend their time on the prioritized tasks.

Greater Transparency

Another one of sprint benefits is that it promotes transparency at all levels in the workplace. 

The grouping of teams is such that they can be involved in the decision-making process. 

Therefore, they all understand the choices made regarding any project. They are also aware of the logic behind crucial decisions. 

Since everyone is on the same page, the project’s chances of getting derailed are less. Therefore, it will improve projects’ visibility and transparency.

Higher Customer Satisfaction

The customers are always a part of the project life cycle. They can share their thoughts and give their insights throughout the project. 

Involving the target customers helps design the product according to their needs and expectations. 

The customer always gets the features and functions of the product that offer value. 

By delivering the features requested by the customer, not just in the early stages of the project but continuously throughout the project, one can always keep the customer happy and satisfied. 

Following the above guideline will allow the organizations to retain those customers and increase their business.

Better Product Quality

An organization will have better product quality if it continually checks in with its customers and stakeholders for evolving requirements during sprint reviews. They will be able to determine more quickly whether the product matches their needs.

When it’s not meeting their needs, the team would have the chance to pivot and change directions much earlier and much faster. 

Since everything is reviewed almost immediately and on a microscopic level, it can be certain that the product is up to the necessary standards set forth by the PO/PM.

Reduced Risks

One of the best sprint benefits is that they reduce the risks that the teams might face. During an agile project sprint, a project team would encounter almost all kinds of potential issues that could arise in their product.

Hence, they get multiple opportunities to deal with any such situation before it becomes a big deal. 

Through regular meetings or stand-ups, a member would know any problems other members may be facing. 

Suppose they come across a similar situation in the future. In that case, team members could refer back to this time and how their colleague overcame the problem. 

Additionally, in sprint agile projects, teams have multiple feedback loops, allowing them to identify the problems and solve them quickly.

How To Plan and Execute Sprints?

The first step for any agile project sprint is the sprint planning meeting

Sprint planning is an event where the team has two fundamental questions: 

  • What work can the teams complete in this sprint?
  • How will the chosen work get completed?

The product owner, scrum master, and the development team are responsible for working together and choosing the right work items for the sprint. To work efficiently and reach the end goal, you must use the product management tools

The product owner discusses the sprint’s goals and specifies what product backlog items the team should aim to complete to achieve the sprint goal.

The team then designs a plan of action on how they would build the backlog items and get them “Done” in time before the end of the sprint. 

They choose work items and the plan of action to get them done. This panning is called the sprint backlog. 

After the sprint planning, the team is ready to start the work on the sprint backlog, marking the items from the backlog as “In-progress” and then “Done.”

During a sprint, the team discusses the daily scrum or stand-up progress. The primary objective is to avoid any obstacles and issues that could harm the team’s ability to deliver the sprint goal.

After a sprint, the team demonstrates what they have achieved during the project phase in the sprint review. 

Such demonstrations will leave the space where the team has an opportunity to showcase their work to stakeholders and teammates before it hits production.

The sprint cycle is rounded out with the final meeting, the sprint retrospective

The sprint retrospective is the team’s opportunity to identify areas of improvement for the next sprint and potential ways to increase the effectiveness of the next sprint cycle.

Key Parts of a Sprint

There are three significant roles in a sprint: scrum master, development team, and product owner.

Scrum Master

The scrum master is the head of a scrum team. They are responsible for championing a project, providing insights to the team and product owner, and ensuring all team members follow agile practices. 

The scrum master not only addresses all facets of the agile development process but also serves the business, product owner, team, and individuals. Scrum Master is also responsible for facilitating communication and collaboration between all these elements.

The responsibilities of this role include:

  • Establishing a work-friendly environment where the team can be effective
  • Clearing obstacles
  • Ensuring a good relationship among the team, product owner, and the other stakeholders outside the team
  • Addressing team dynamics
  • The scrum master must protect the team against outside interruptions and distractions.

Development Team

A development team is a group of individuals working together to develop and deliver the requested and committed product increments. 

It comprises cross-functional members who are capable of achieving the sprint goals. Such cross functional teams could include people from various domains such as software engineers, architects, programmers, analysts, system admins, QA experts, testers, UI designers, etc.

  • The development team designs the product that the product owner indicates—for example, the application or website. 
  • The development team includes all the expertise required to deliver a potentially shippable product for each sprint.
  • The development team is self-organizing, with a very high level of autonomy and accountability.
  • The development team decides how many items to build in a sprint and the best approach to accomplish that goal.

Product Owner

A scrum product owner is responsible for extracting the product’s maximum value resulting from the scrum team’s work. However, different organizations, individuals, and scrum teams may use other methods.

The product owner is also responsible for effective product backlog management, which includes:

  • Developing and communicating the product goal to the whole team;
  • Creating and communicating product backlog items;
  • Ordering of the product backlog items; and,
  • Ensuring the product backlog is visible and understood to all the members.

For any successful product owner, the entire organization must respect their decisions. 

Teams can reflect on the decisions in the content and ordering of the product backlog. It is also visible in the sprint review.

The product owner is just one person and not a committee. Hence they can use product management software such as Chisel to manage the product backlog effectively. 

The product owner may represent the needs of many stakeholders in the product backlog. The stakeholders or the customers wanting to change the product backlog can do so by trying to convince the product owner.

FAQs

Q: Is scrum master a job title or a role that someone with an existing job title fills?

A: Scrum Master is a role that someone with a job title fills. The usual practice is that the person playing the role of project manager plays the scrum master’s part as well.

Q: What is the difference between scrum and agile development?

A: Agile development is a software methodology, whereas scrum is one process framework that follows agile.

Q: What can you include in the sprint backlog question?

A: The sprint backlog comprises the product backlog items given by the development team to finish within the sprint, the plan for doing this, and at least one process improvement.

Q: What if the product owner is not available during a sprint?

A: The scrum team develops a product, and the product owner(PO) maximizes its value. The other responsibility of a PO is to make changes to the product and match it to the product’s vision. 

If the product owner is not present at the time of the sprint, teams may not be able to cover all these things. Even though there are different ways a PO can interact with the scrum team, having their presence during the sprint will help them make clear decisions.

Crafting great product requires great tools. Try Chisel today, it's free forever.