What are Scrum sprints?
While developing a product, a “sprint” is a predetermined period of time in which specific work needs to be completed and presented for verification or review purposes. Scrum sprints form the “base” of all development related activities i.e. the entire product is developed through consistent and sustained sprints.
Specifics of an Agile Scrum sprint
In Scrum, a product is developed, or “work” is carried out through sustained production cycles (work cycles). These cycles are known as sprints. Traditionally, an Agile Scrum sprint lasted between two weeks to one month. The sprint duration used to be decided, and it still is, while the project is initially planned. The duration is thoughtfully worked out during the project release by the product owner, experienced Agile team members, and the stakeholders. Once the sprint duration is “fixed”, it cannot be changed. Agile principles strongly recommend that the duration of a sprint in Scrum should not be changed under any circumstances after it is decided. In course of time, sprints have evolved to last for approximately one week to ten days. The sprint duration has significantly decreased owing to stiff market competition and the need to develop products even quicker.
Objectives of a sprint in Scrum
The main purpose of “designing” a sprint in Scrum is to create shippable product features through the product incremental cycles. Even when the product to be developed has few features and can be easily developed in a traditional way, if Scrum is implemented while developing the product, sprints have to be planned to carry out the development activity. Sprint planning is an inherent part of Scrum framework, and product development is only possible through it. The main reason why Scrum advocates development through sprints is because each sprint is “time bound” and the development team is forced to complete a certain “portion” of the product features (user stories in the sprint backlog) within the stipulated period. This leads to timely development of the features, which can be later incorporated to “form” the complete product at the far end of the project. Scrum supports development in small chunks of development activity through the sprints. The “chunks” lead to the formation of the actual product.
Event supporting Agile sprint Scrum
Scrum supports a special event called sprint planning meeting in which the sprint product incremental cycle is designed by the product owner and the team members. Traditionally, the product owner played a dominant role while planning the sprints, but Scrum has now evolved to enhance the interaction of team members in the product planning activities. During the meeting, important user stories or product features are taken up for development purposes from the product backlog. Typically, these stories have high business values and contribute towards the product’s “worth” in the market after they are developed and integrated. While the PO can decide which of the stories should be taken up for development, the development team members have the “power” to accept or reject them after providing valid and acceptable reasons. Once the sprint is decided, the PO cannot add on additional product features for development, halt the sprint midway, or micromanage the development activity.