The product development life cycle took a U-turcrns two decades back. There was a change in the way in which people looked at the way in which SDLC was implemented. It is no longer the older method where one person will dictate terms and the remaining will execute. There is no need to wait for the end result to find out if there is any flaw in the execution at any stage. Not just the developers have to take the blame for any errors.
Yes, most of the successful organizations have moved away from the old method and embraced the agile methodology. Here, the entire team is responsible for everything from scratch namely the requirement gathering. Every process is timed and is checked before moving to the next level. This will prevent carrying forward any bug from one stage to another. Plan, execute, check, correct and proceed is the mantra of this method.
Figure 1 – Basic Model
Is this method successful? Yes, it is and there are various factors that make it successful. Among them, the chief contributor is the SPRINT. Let us understand what is it, how to decide on the timelines, who will decide, and a detailed overview of sprint in agile this blog.
The very word sprint is derived from the running race where athletes run for a fixed short distance. Scrum is another word very popular in rugby sport which indicates teamwork. Therefore scrum sprint is a combination of these two terms which is defined as the time allotted to the team and by the team to complete a particular task. The task is nothing but the product backlogs.
The next thing you must understand is why we need a sprint. What is so popular about this method? When there is a project, it is important to complete the project on time. At the same time, it is equally important to identify bugs and correct them for a perfect outcome as expected by the end-user. Both these goals can be accomplished by using sprint. Yes, divide work into smaller chunks, define time to complete each task and review them to know if they are in line with the end result.
The division into stages will enhance the team performance and hence the timely completion becomes natural. Also, checking for mistakes after each sprint will correct errors if any then and there to produce the desired outcome at the end.
Okay, so far we told about fixed time duration. What is that time and how do we fix that. The time length in general fixed for every sprint is not more than 4-weeks. In particular, we consider 2-weeks as ideal when compared to 1-week or 3-weeks. You can understand this by looking at “What is the best sprint length” article.
2-weeks is good to go as it provides sufficient time to plan and execute.
Who is the decision-maker?
Unlike the traditional method in an agile way, there is no project manager. The product owner (PO), scrum master (SM) and the team are empowered equally to make decisions. However, they have well-defined roles. The PO will submit all the product backlog items to the team and explain the details. The SM will bring all stakeholders in one place for initiating the discussion. The entire team will decide on the sprint duration and the backlogs to be completed.
So far we have seen about the basics of sprint made in simple words allowing every reader to understand. Now, we would want to get into some technicalities to explain the working mechanism in length.
For the easy execution, we have divided sprint into four stages namely
Figure 2 – Stages
Planning is a must for carrying out any activity and there is no exception here as well. As already mentioned the PO will discuss with the user to understand the work and come to the meeting with product backlogs. The sizes may vary, complexity might differ, etc. However, the team must mutually agree to complete the backlogs in a stipulated time.
Based on their past experience, complexity, the team will accept to deliver completed stories within a particular time.
The entire team will start working on their respective task as committed. The work will include designing, coding, testing, etc as depicted in the image given below. The daily meeting will enable the team to understand their work in comparison to others. This will motivate them to stand up and complete the task and stay synchronized with the team
Figure 3 – Execution
After the iteration time is over, the team will get together to evaluate their performance and to check if they have completed the work assigned. If they have challenges they can discuss. In case, they have completed the backlogs and the product increment is ready to be shipped, they can proceed. They can also find out if there are any rooms for improvement.
The review will let know the team whether they have succeeded or not. Irrespective of that result, the team will retrospect to know the challenges. This will help for better planning for the upcoming sprints.
In a nutshell
Just like an athlete who holds the breath to complete 100 m sprint in one go and then rest, the entire scrum team run towards achieving the sprint goal with the same potential for the entire sprint length.
The organization stops worrying about task completion as they can see deliverables at every stage.
The very purpose of scrum sprint is to complete small tasks in a defined time, create priorities, check the process and work towards improvement.
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