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Navigating the Scrum Events - Sprint Review

November 30, 2023

What is the ‘Navigating the Scrum Events’ Series?

If you or your team are new to Scrum, you can use this as a starting point to answer, “what should we be doing and why?” for each Scrum Event. If your team is more experienced but you feel like you’re drifting away from healthy behaviors and patterns and you’re not sure how to course correct - you can use this series as a baseline to reset and start re-aligning your team. This is NOT the end-all-be-all perfect way to operate for all scenarios - but a straight-to-the-point tactical list of steps to help you get to the basic outcomes you need at the end of the event.

The Sprint Review

Sprint Review - What’s The Point?

The purpose of the Sprint Review straight from the Scrum Guide is “to inspect the outcome of the Sprint and determine future adaptations”. The key to this instance of “inspect and adapt” is that the Scrum Team is collaborating with stakeholders during the Sprint Review about the product. The stakeholders (potentially including customers) are there to provide feedback on the results of the Scrum Team’s work, to help the team adjust their Product Backlog and plans on what to do next, and surface new opportunities that the company and team should be considering in their direction. It is critical that both the Scrum Team and the stakeholders attending understand and commit to this event being a collaborative working session - not a one-directional presentation of what the team did this Sprint.


Sprint Review Tactics

** Remember - this isn’t the end-all-be-all perfect way to operate for all scenarios - but a straight-to-the-point tactical list of steps to help you get to the basic outcomes you need at the end of the event.


1. Set Context

  • Help align the context of the team’s work this Sprint by reviewing the Product Goal and then the Sprint Goal.

2. Inspect Results

  • Inspecting the results of the Sprint together could take many forms - reviewing deliverables, using new product features, reviewing analytics results or measurements, etc…  Consider brushing up on Sprint Review facilitation techniques if you aren’t sure how to engage with stakeholders for feedback!
  • Ask for input and feedback from your Stakeholders - remember this is a working session, not a one-way presentation from the team!
  • When feedback is given, try to be inquisitive and not defensive:
    • Ask follow-up questions to get more context on the perspective.
  • Have someone on the Scrum Team take notes on the conversation, feedback, ideas, and any decisions made.

3. Adapt

  • Based on the feedback - are there clear decisions to add to the Product Backlog?
    • Keep in mind - not every conversation or idea discussed during the review necessarily should be turned into a new or updated Product Backlog item. Some feedback and ideas discussed are just that - food for thought for the Scrum Team to consider in the future.
    • When there is clear alignment from Stakeholders and the Scrum Team - capture those ideas right away.
  • Based on the feedback - are there clear adjustments to the order or prioritization of items on the Product Backlog?
  • Finally, based on the collaboration while inspecting the results of the Sprint together - ask if the Product Goal should be updated? While you don’t want to be constantly changing your Product Goal, as that would diminish the team’s focus and ability to deliver value - there are times in which the team and company have learned, discovered, or uncovered things significant enough that the best way to continue pursuing delivering value includes updating the Product Goal.

4. Create Alignment and Expectations on What’s Next

  • Conclude the Sprint Review by coming to alignment with your Stakeholders on what the team’s next direction is.
  • This does not mean that the Stakeholders review and approve the next Sprint Goal - rather a conversation or working session is held to establish a clear shared understanding of what the priorities are for the Product and the Scrum Team.
    • Sometimes, this might be looking at the top of the Product Backlog to align a conversation around priorities and what the team will work on next.
    • This could take the shape of adjusting the Product Goal because of new opportunities or situations for the business as a whole.


When The Sprint Review Is Over...

When the Sprint Review is complete, the following should be true:

  • The results of the Sprint (the Increment) have been inspected together by the Scrum Team and their stakeholders.
  • The Scrum Team is equipped with feedback and updated information about market conditions and business priorities.
  • The Scrum Team and their stakeholders are aligned with a shared understanding of their next priorities.


Inspect and Adapt

Don’t stop now! Your team should be able to host Sprint Review events that foster collaboration with your stakeholders - but if you are just going through the motions - over time you might fall victim to becoming stuck in Mechanical Scrum! Use your team’s retrospectives to inspect and adapt how your team is working together and continue to strive toward living the Scrum Values and true Professional Scrum. Here are some ideas of how to start making your Sprint Review more effective.

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