The Sprint is the heart of Scrum. It is a short, consistent cycle no longer than four weeks. The goal is to have an iteration short enough to keep the team focused but long enough to deliver a meaningful increment of work.
The Sprint contains all the elements of Scrum. It is a contiguous process with one iteration immediately following the next without pause. While the first Scrum team used a month long Sprint, most teams now work in one or two-week cycles.
The sprint begins with Planning and ends with Review & Retrospective. Each day of the Sprint is marked by a brief meeting called the Daily Scrum or simply, Stand-up, as everyone should stand to keep the meeting short.
This regular cycle:
- Delivers on the Sprint Goal. A potentially shippable increment of software, a useable iteration of a hardware product, or any delivery that directly produces visible customer value.
- Gives the Team regular, high quality feedback on delivered value. The Team can then inspect and adapt both their process and their product based on real and actionable customer input.
- Measures Team output over a consistent and recurring period of time. This is called the Team’s velocity. The Team can use this metric to assess the impact of process experiments.
Sprints begin and end on fixed dates. There are no extensions. No changes can be made to the Sprint Backlog that would endanger the Sprint Goal. No additional work should be brought into the Sprint unless the Sprint Goal has been reached or a feature emerges of such high value it must be brought into Sprint. In this instance, the Team should execute the Interrupt Pattern.
In large projects with multiple Teams, dependencies must be carefully managed across teams. Often this means Sprints should begin and end on the same dates and have the same length. (See Scrum at Scale.)
The Scrum Pattern Language of Programming codifies well known Agile practices that have been successfully implemented many times.
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