Sprint Review
Agile Project Management
September 29, 2022 - Jon A.

Agile Ceremonies: What Makes a Sprint Review Powerful?

Compared to the traditional “waterfall” model, one of the biggest advantages of Agile Scrum is that it ensures risk management, complete control, and increased visibility. The agile sprint review meeting is where all of this happens. During a sprint review meeting, the entire scrum team can sit and work together with the stakeholders to decide the best way forward. Even though the agile sprint review is an informal meeting, it is primarily conducted to inspect product increments and adapt product backlog items if required.

What Is a Sprint Review in Agile?

A sprint review meeting in agile project management can be defined as an “informal meeting” that is held at the end of each sprint, right before the retrospective. During the agile sprint review, the scrum master and the development team show what was accomplished and what was not accomplished during this period, while the stakeholders provide their feedback. This usually takes the form of a demonstration of the new product features, to generate user feedback, foster collaboration, and create transparency. Part of the conversation during this meeting should include the next steps for the product, to ensure the team and stakeholders are on the same page and to help inform the sprint planning meeting. In simpler words, an agile sprint review meeting is a collaborative working session between the development team and the stakeholders.

What Is the Purpose of the Sprint Review in Agile?

During the product development phase in Scrum, it is essential to ensure that the delivery dates are met and that the team delivers shippable product increments, as defined in the team’s “definition of done”, at the end of each sprint. The meaning of a potentially shippable product here is that the development team members have constructed a coded, tested, workable and usable slice of the software.

Therefore, the purpose of a sprint review meeting is not to make a presentation or provide a status update, but it is a demo session to discuss and show product increments, collect valuable input, and adapt the backlog going forward.

How to Run an Agile Sprint Review

An agile sprint review is a recurring meeting. Therefore, having a template is a great way to make sure that you stay on track and save time. Here is an example of how to run a sprint review meeting:

  • Step 01: The product owner must review the goal of the sprint and present a summary of the newly developed features.
  • Step 02: Demonstrate the new features implemented during the sprint. While showing the product workability, the development team should ensure that all attendees know what they have developed and how the product works.
  • Step 03: The product owner should give an update regarding any relevant changes in the target market.
  • Step 04: The product owner presents the current sprint plan and forecast delivery dates for the next sprint. While doing so, the product owner:
    • Discuss the features that weren’t accomplished.
    • Identify the risk and impediments.
    • Review product increment objectives.
  • Step 05: Once all the cards are on the table, the whole group collaborates to discuss any potential changes to the overall project plan. These include:
    • Ideas for new features:
    • Reviewing the scope of the upcoming release.
    • Changing the order in which products should be developed.
    • Collecting user feedback.
    • Discussing tasks and goals for the next sprint.

When Is an Agile Sprint Review Done?

Organized to discuss the sprint’s result, an agile sprint review meeting is usually held at the end of a module/sprint.

Another thing to remember is that while the sprint review meeting has no fixed time limit, a sprint review should be timeboxed to a maximum of 4 hours for a one-month sprint. It can be a smaller time box for shorter sprints. This is a good guide:

  • One Hour = 1 Week
  • Two Hours = 2 Weeks
  • Three Hours = 3 Weeks
  • Four Hours = 4 Weeks

To keep the meeting on track, the scrum master is responsible for organizing, defining, and limiting the time allotted to each deliverable on the meeting agenda.

Who Runs the Agile Sprint Review?

Organized just before the retrospective, the agile sprint review is an informal meeting that is conducted between the scrum master, development team members, the management, the external and internal stakeholders, and the product owner. While it is the responsibility of the scrum master to ensure that the sprint review meeting is held on time and all the attendees understand the purpose of it, the product owner is the one who runs and manages an agile sprint review meeting.

For teams who are new to agile sprint review meetings, do not overwhelm yourself by trying to bleed the sprint review into the retrospective. Instead, consider it a separate entity, an informal meeting where the group collaborates, reviews the goal of the sprint, demonstrates the working of a potentially shippable product, collects user feedback, and incorporates it going forward. Therefore, take the time to enjoy a sprint review meeting and use it as an opportunity to connect with your peers, celebrate accomplishments, motivate the team and build up their morale for upcoming projects.