Open assessment: Length of a Sprint

Last post 10:12 pm July 15, 2019
by Beatrice Jade Louissaint
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12:46 am June 14, 2019

Hello, 

I'm getting ready to take the PSM exam but have this nagging question. I hope someone can help me understand please. 

The question: The length of a Sprint should be... 

(choose the best answer)

A) Short enough to keep the business risk acceptable to the Product Owner.
B) Short enough to be able to synchronize the development work with other business events.
C) No more than one month.
D) All of these answers are correct.

My answer: C- No more than one month. It was wrong! 

According to the Scrum Guide: 

The heart of Scrum is a Sprint, a time-box of one month or less during which a "Done...

Each Sprint may be considered a project with no more than a one-month horizon...

Sprints are limited to one calendar month...

Sprints are limited to one calendar month.

Sprint Goal at least every calendar month. Sprints also limit risk to one calendar month of cost.

Why is "C" it wrong? 

If we are to go according to the Guide why this deviation? 

Thanks 

06:34 am June 14, 2019

Why would any risks and events presented by business not be considered as well? If a team fails to take these matters into consideration when determining Sprint length, what might the consequences be?

06:43 am June 14, 2019

The correct answer is D, all of the above... So C is partially correct

A) Short enough to keep the business risk acceptable to the Product Owner.
This is true, if you are in a rapidly highly dynamic environment, a month could even be too long. You want your sprint length to bring you value as soon as possible. Values also comes from reducing risk. Risk for instance, that the competition delivers some key feature before you do. But also risk to miss valuble customer feedback, if your feedback loops are not short enough. So this answer is correct.

B) Short enough to be able to synchronize the development work with other business events.
Sure, if there is no cadence or alignment with (external) events, you could be in trouble. Just as an example, lets say Nexus business stakeholders have a Podium event every 3 weeks, where the fully integrated new increment is presented and reviewed. If you go for a 4 week sprint, you would not be in line with this, and it will be hard to review your increment. So from a business and practical point of view, this is true

C) No more than one month.
As you already deducted, this answer is true as well

04:59 pm June 14, 2019

Some more from the Scrum Guide in the section that describes the Sprint (any emphasis is added by me):

Sprints are limited to one calendar month. When a Sprint’s horizon is too long the definition of what is being built may change, complexity may rise, and risk may increase. Sprints enable predictability by ensuring inspection and adaptation of progress toward a Sprint Goal at least every calendar month. Sprints also limit risk to one calendar month of cost.

There is more than one element to determining the length of the sprint.  Answers A) and B) speak to the part I highlighted above. @Ian's questions and @Xander's elaboration are excellent insights. 

There are a lot nuances to the Scrum Guide. I reread it frequently, sometimes as often as weekly, and every time I pick up something that I missed before. 

08:50 pm June 14, 2019

Great! 

Thank you ALL for your guidance. It does make sense now. I have to read the Scrum Guide with new eyes. 

Thanks again, 

 

08:09 am June 17, 2019

I have to read the Scrum Guide with new eyes. 

I still do that from time to time, it is part of the continuous improvement cycle ;)

10:12 pm July 15, 2019

@Xander Ladage I did and it worked!! 

Now time to learn more!! 

Thanks