Purpose of the Sprint

Last post 07:06 pm May 18, 2022
by Piotr Górajek
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06:06 pm April 22, 2021

I might be missing something here (or I'm being much too literal) but I'm studying for the PSM-I Certification and I've come across an item that might be a bit unclear (to me) yet asked on the Open Assessment and other practice sites.  

QUESTION:   The purpose of a Sprint is to produce a valuable and useful Increment of working product?  TRUE OR FALSE  (CORRECT ANSWER - TRUE)

While I accept that is a TRUE Statement - no where in the Scrum Guide does it actually state this fact in so many words.

However, I've also seen it stated on my Scrum.org Class Documents as "the purpose of the Sprint is to turn ideas into value" - which can also be considered a true statement.  And so if I chose "FALSE" to the original question because I'm following the written documents given to me by the instructor, should I really be getting the question wrong?    Or should I just conform to the "assumed" purpose EVEN IF the Scrum Guide does not explicitly define it as such?   And why doesn't the Guide Define the purpose of the Sprint? (It does define the purpose of the Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, the Sprint Retrospective) 

Thanks for the consideration and feedback. I'm curious to learn how others view this very small issue as I channel some "courage" to address this forum for the first time. 

 

 

07:36 pm April 23, 2021

The Scrum Guide says: "The entire Scrum Team is accountable for creating a valuable, useful Increment every Sprint." There's no other accountability shared by all team members which is enumerated in the Guide.

08:31 pm April 23, 2021

The current version of the Scrum Guide does define the purpose of the Sprint.

All the work necessary to achieve the Product Goal, including Sprint Planning, Daily Scrums, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective, happen within Sprints.

Sprints enable predictability by ensuring inspection and adaptation of progress toward a Product Goal at least every calendar month.

To add further clarity, every one of the Scrum Events are described as well.  If you read the guide as complete body of work instead of focussing on specific words you can see that the heart of Scrum is to produce working increments of value continuously on at least a Sprint boundary. 

The 2017 version of the Scrum Guide stated this

The heart of Scrum is a Sprint, a time-box of one month or less during which a "Done", useable, and potentially releasable product Increment is created. 

The Increment is the sum of all the Product Backlog items completed during a Sprint and the value of the increments of all previous Sprints. At the end of a Sprint, the new Increment must be "Done," which means it must be in useable condition and meet the Scrum Team’s definition of "Done"

The new revision aligns better for continuous integration/continuous delivery by stating

An Increment is a concrete stepping stone toward the Product Goal. Each Increment is additive to all prior Increments and thoroughly verified, ensuring that all Increments work together. In order to provide value, the Increment must be usable.

Multiple Increments may be created within a Sprint. The sum of the Increments is presented at the Sprint Review thus supporting empiricism. However, an Increment may be delivered to stakeholders prior to the end of the Sprint. The Sprint Review should never be considered a gate to releasing value.

Work cannot be considered part of an Increment unless it meets the Definition of Done.

What assessment did this question come from? 

QUESTION:   The purpose of a Sprint is to produce a valuable and useful Increment of working product?  TRUE OR FALSE  (CORRECT ANSWER - TRUE)

I would argue that the correct answer is FALSE and question the accuracy of the assessment.  The purpose of the Sprint is to bring consistency and predictability of the work done by the Development Team to align with the Sprint Goal and Product needs. It always has been.  The creation of a "valuable and useful Increment of working product" is a technique employed and suggested as it has proven to be effective.  

08:32 am May 13, 2022

I've just come across the same question and found this thread when wanting to confirm the answer. To answer where this question came from, it's from the Scrum.org Scrum Open Assessment, which does indeed state the answer as true, and provides the following feedback:

The heart of Scrum is a Sprint, a timebox of one month or less during which a done, useful, and valuable working product Increment is created.

07:06 pm May 18, 2022

Yep, that is a question from open assessment, and either it is not updated well enough and aligned with the current version of the Scrum Guide, as provided feedback is almost directly quoted from the previous 2017 edition.

If we compare that exact fragment of the 2017 version, with the current one, we can see that it changed from:

"The heart of Scrum is a Sprint, a time-box of one month or less during which a “Done”, useable, and potentially releasable product Increment is created."

to:

"Sprints are the heartbeat of Scrum, where ideas are turned into value."

As Daniel wrote a year ago above, I also would argue that the correct answer should be FALSE and question the accuracy of the assessment.

This question requires to fit into the question creator's point of view. And IMHO that is wrong, as for newcomers, for example, the only sentence that can be picked as the description of "The purpose of a Sprint" is that short sentence above.

I like the part of Daniel's answer "The purpose of the Sprint is to bring consistency and predictability" as it correlates with the metaphor in the quoted sentence ("Sprints are the heartbeat of Scrum (...)"), but I would argue with the rest, as does not resonate in my opinion with the other part, instead I would propose shorter explanation/variation on that topic:

The purpose of a Sprint is to bring consistency and predictability in turning ideas into value.

We can also extend that further to check an even deeper understanding of how things are connected:

The purpose of a Sprint is to bring consistency and predictability in turning ideas into value by creating at least one useful Increment within a Sprint to inspect progress toward a Product Goal.

However, I still would argue that the correct answer to the provided question: The purpose of a Sprint is to produce a valuable and useful Increment of working product?  TRUE OR FALSE is false.