October 27, 2021

5 activities to spice up your next Scrum Sprint Review

The Sprint Review meeting is one of the Product Owner’s most important events.  As discussed in a recent article Making the Most of the Sprint Review, it’s an opportunity for the Scrum Team and stakeholders to inspect what was delivered, discuss the progress made towards the Product Goal, and adapt accordingly.

But even the most important events can become a little stale over time.  Here are five ideas to spice up your Sprint Review meeting. 

 

Audience polls

To help keep your stakeholders engaged during the Sprint review meeting, use a poll to see how you’re doing.  For example, during the demonstration portion of the Sprint Review event, vote for each feature you demoed.  The poll can ask stakeholders to give each feature a score of 1-5.  Alternatively, ask trivia questions related to your product or Market.

If you use a tool such as Zoom or Webex, these meeting platforms have built-in tools to create polls that the organizer can open and present to participants on demand.  This option is the most seamless because participants do not need to minimize the meeting screen to participate in the poll.  Alternatively, you can create an online survey using a tool such as SurveyMonkey, providing participants with a link during the event.  Finally, SMSPoll.net offers a polling tool that allows participants to text message their answers to the platform during the meeting.  The meeting organizer can then share the results live during the Sprint Review.

 

Gather sentiments

At the end of the Sprint Review meeting, ask participants to share their sentiments about the Sprint Review meeting.  They can choose a happy, neutral or sad face and then explain their selection.  If you are using Zoom, Webex or Microsoft Teams, you can execute this exercise using the platform’s whiteboard.  Alternatively, you can use a third-party shared whiteboard tool such as Mural or make it even simpler by having participants engage using a shared, easy to use platform.


 

Rotate presenters

An essential part of the Sprint Review is demonstrating the working increment that the team created during the previous Sprint.  But this presentation doesn’t have to be in the Product Owner’s hands alone.  Many Scrum Teams opt to have the Developers run the demonstration portion of the Sprint Review.  Doing so keeps the meeting feeling fresh for stakeholders and is also an opportunity for the Developers to participate in stakeholder engagement.  Individual developers might want to take turns speaking to the features created for the product during this portion of the meeting.  

 

Order the Product Backlog using audience participation

The Sprint Review meeting is an opportunity for the entire Scrum Team and its stakeholders to collaborate on what to do next.  One engaging way to do that is by conducting a facilitated discussion to gather feedback on the Product Backlog ordering.  For example, one of my favorite games to use is Buy a Feature, which you can find a description for at How to play the ‘Buy a feature’ design game - UXM (uxforthemasses.com).  

To prepare for the game, the Product Owner prepares a list of the features which he/she would like the participants to provide input on.  This list can include potential features, upgrades, technical debt, or other types of work that could contribute to the product. Each item has a dollar value assigned to it which can either be based on a rough point estimate which provides relative (but not necessarily accurate) costs, or the facilitator may decide to make all prices equal.  Remember, the goal of the game is to get information about ordering the backlog; not to get into a debate about how much each feature should cost.    

Next, participants are invited to the game, and each is given a certain amount of money with which to “buy” features.  I recommend that participants only be given enough money to purchase about half the features or 2/3s of the features, since this will encourage them to really think about their purchases.  Participants then “purchase” the features which they are most interested in.  

There are several options for conducting this activity in a remote setting.  The easiest is to ask participants to provide their feedback via a chat tool.  Alternatively, you could create a shared whiteboard in Zoom, Webex or Microsoft Teams, asking participants to place their purchase amounts beside each feature.  Another option would be to create a shared spreadsheet listing the features on rows and creating a column for each participant to divide their funds among the available features.  

 

Bring in a guest speaker

A critical part of the Sprint Review is to evaluate market changes.  Bring in a guest speaker to provide insight into key market trends and then brainstorm product features that respond to the forecasted changes.

 

Conclusion

Maintaining high levels of engagement at the Sprint Review can be challenging, especially in a remote environment. The above five activities can spice things up a bit, but the options are only limited to your creativity. Share your ideas for a more engaging Sprint Review meeting in the comments!

 

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