Lesson 04: Sprints
Let’s have a quick review of the way a Scrum project works.
- 00:05 – Alright. So, you’re going to start a new project, you’re the Product Owner, and the first thing that you did was? To think about the reason why you’re doing the project.
- 00:16 – And where did you document it? In the Product Vision.
- 00:20 – What did you do next? You created a very simple version of the Product Backlog, which is an ordered list of the features that you’re going to have in the project, and you only spend a few days, create a few items. You don’t try to create a complete Product Backlog.
- 00:38 – When you do that, then we are ready to start the project.
- 00:42 – And this is how Scrum works. We have a number of Sprints.
- 00:48 – Each Sprint is a timeboxed partition where we develop, and by that it means that it has a fixed duration. For example, it’s two weeks or three weeks or one month.
- 01:02 – You set the duration in the beginning of the project and you don’t change it all the time.
- 01:07 – Maybe every once in a while based on what you learn from the project, and it doesn’t … and it shouldn’t be longer than one month. So, let’s say every two weeks, for example.
- 01:19 – So, every two weeks, you start with the Product Backlog, you take a look at the Product Backlog, you bring items from the top of the Product Backlog, create something that we call the Sprint Backlog because that makes it much simpler.
- 01:34 – Instead of going and checking out the Product Backlog, you go and check something much smaller, the Sprint Backlog, which is your plan for the Sprint.
- 01:45 – So, in the beginning of the Sprint, we create a Sprint Backlog and then our goal is to develop those items, those features, and at the end, we create one increment of the product, one new version of the product.
- 01:59 – And the important thing is that those pieces of software have to be really ready, they have to be releasable, or as the Scrum Guide says, potentially releasable, just to emphasize probably, and that is so because when they are usable like that, then it’s easier to generate feedback and talk to the customer and understand each other. So, that’s the big picture here, and if we zoom in into one of the Sprints, that’s what we will see.
- 02:37 – Inside each Sprint, we have a number of events.
- 02:41 – The first thing is the Sprint Planning and that’s what we’re going to talk about in this lesson.
- 02:47 – For the rest, we’ll talk about them in the next lessons.
- 02:51 – So, in the Sprint Planning, we go and check the Product Backlog and we create two things, the Sprint Backlog and the Sprint Goal.
- 03:01 – The Sprint Goal is something like the Product Vision, but instead of the whole product, it is about this Sprint and the increment that we’re going to create at the end of this Sprint.
- 03:13 – And for the Sprint Backlog, that’s what happens. We have the Product Backlog.
- 03:20 – You have prepared the Product Backlog as the Product Owner, which means that we have enough items there and they are ordered in a way that the more valuable items are on the top, the more valuable items are on the top of the Product Backlog.
- 03:39 – Then, the Developers come, they take a look at the Product Backlog and they …
- 03:44 – this is important they decide how many items they want to pick.
- 03:50 – You don’t tell them because they are self-organized, you remember, they can make a lot of decisions, and who knows best how many items they can develop.
- 04:00 – They are the people who are going to do that.
- 04:03 – So, you don’t expect someone else such as the Product Owner or the Scrum Master to tell them what to do.
- 04:10 – The only thing that they are forced to do is to pick the items from the top of the Product Backlog.
- 04:17 – And so they put it in their Sprint Backlog, which may look something like this.
- 04:23 – It can be a board. Everything that we have here in Scrum are usually and preferably on boards.
- 04:30 – They can be white boards or some other type of boards, and the items here are usually sticky notes or index cards. Okay?
- 04:39 – So, we put the items there in the Sprint Backlog, and then one other thing that we have to do is to break down those items into the Tasks that we need to do as Developers to create that item. Those are the white things there.
- 04:55 – So, we have two types of entities in the Sprint Backlog, the items that we pick from the Product Backlog and the Tasks or Activities that we create by decomposing those items.
- 05:09 – There’s one important thing here.
- 05:12 – As you have seen, we don’t do upfront planning in Agile.
- 05:18 – We don’t have detailed upfront planning in Agile. So, that is also the case here.
- 05:26 – If you try to create those tasks for all items, that’s a form of detailed upfront planning, which we don’t do.
- 05:35 – What we would do instead of that is to create the items for …
- 05:39 – create the tasks for a few items on the top of the Sprint Backlog, and those are the things that you’re going to work on first.
- 05:47 – So, in the Sprint Planning, you only create a few of them and later on, during the Sprint, you will add more and more tasks to your Sprint Backlog.
- 06:00 – Alright. That was it about Sprint Planning.
- 06:04 – It’s a short Sprint, a short event and, for example, if your Sprint is one month long, it’s timeboxed for eight hours. It’s also timeboxed.
- 06:14 – You spend about eight hours trying to understand what’s the best thing to do in the upcoming Sprint and then you’ll focus on that. In the next lesson, we will talk about the next events.
You’ve seen that these lessons talk about the Sprint Goal and Sprint Backlog as two different things that are created in Sprint Planning. In the new version of the Scrum Guide, the Sprint Goal is part of the Sprint Backlog, which makes it more organized and cleaner, in my opinion. As you remember, there’s also a Product Goal in the new version, which is part of the Product Backlog.
- When can we start the first Sprint?
- What’s an “Increment”? What’s the important characteristic of Increments?
- What are the two outputs of Sprint Planning?
- Who decides about the number of items for the Sprint Backlog? Why?
- What are the two types of elements in a Sprint Backlog? When are they defined?
- What’s the timeboxed duration of Sprint Planning in a one-month Sprint?
Optional Extra Activities
- Traditionally, Sprint Planning is divided into two parts. See what those two are, and then think about this question: what are the reasons for the Product Owner to participate in each of those two sections.
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