How To: Sprint Review

Simple, but Complex

The Sprint Review is another one of those Simple and Complex things in Scrum. It’s basically a Show-and-Tell for adults, where the audience asks really important questions, and gives key information, to the Scrum Team, about what they want to see in the future.

Who to Invite
Everyone! “Invite the world!” is what we used to say. Anyone who would have the slightest interest in seeing what your team has completed this Sprint should be invited. Go ahead, invite the CEO! Make sure, though, that what you are showing is actually interesting. More than likely, the CEO isn’t going to be cheering on a team the only created a Login button for an entire sprint. In general, bring the entire Scrum Team, invite the customers, users, stakeholders, and teams that are impacted by your team’s product.

What to Do / What to Show
Showing only work that is completely Done (it met the team’s Definition of Done, and you never expect to work on this stuff again), is commonly accepted practice. Showing partially Done work only leads to more difficult questions, and could possibly set expectations in the wrong direction.

If your team is new to Sprint Reviews, maybe setup a 15 minute prep session to make sure all of the team members are on the same sheet of music. Talk about who is going to show what, how they’re going to go about doing that, what they will/should say, and how to answer certain unavoidable questions. If you need to switch from one computer, laptop, thin client, etc. to another, practice doing it quickly and with as little disruption as possible. Practice switching the control of the presentation between team members. Audiences quickly grow complacent when they have to wait for these things to happen.

Be confident, professional, look your best, talk your best, and treat your audience with the respect that they deserve. Never underestimate who might be in the audience. I’ve seen executives slip in behind a crowd of people before, so be prepared.

You should expect that your audience give you feedback during and after the presentation(s). This is the whole reason you are doing a Sprint Review – to get feedback on what’s been completed. Chet Hendrickson once said something like “There’s no faster way to get new requirements, than to show someone Done work.” And, he is right. When people see what is complete, and possible, they start thinking about how that can be expanded, changed, built upon, etc. This is what keeps your Product Backlog filled. By the way, the Product Owner should be taking notes like crazy when getting feedback.