What is Zero Sprint in Agile? Everything You Should Know

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by StarAgile

December 01, 2021
Category Agile and Scrum


With software development raging in the IT industry, methodologies like Agile have become a global norm. Many businesses consider it the ideal project management and software development process. One of the several reasons behind Agile's worldwide adoption is its meticulous approach.

The methodology divides the development cycle into separate specific bits, called Sprints. While this division is mainstream, many project managers have some misconceptions regarding Zero Sprint. But what is Zero Sprint in Agile?

Sprint 0 can be defined as the period when the Agile team assesses the amount of work needed. Given its similarity to Scrum, some use the terms synonymously and interchangeably. However, doing so is highly incorrect, and this blog will explain why.

On that note, here are everything businesses should know about Scrum Sprint 0 in Scrum and Agile.

Sprint Zero: The Fundamentals

Also known as Inception Sprint or Iteration Zero, Sprint Zero is used to describe pre-sprint operations. It does not require any content or guidance, nor are there any guidelines to conduct it properly.

However, it has commonly defined goals, such as:

  • Preparing a list of prioritized stories and features with estimates.
  • Formulating a release plan, aligning the features and stories to a Sprint.
  • Curating an application architecture, explaining how the team will implement the changes.

Usually, a Scrum Sprint 0 spans two to four weeks, depending on the project needs and scale. But is the process really necessary? The question sparks different opinions with a vastly differentiating point of view.

However, you can assess whether or not your business should adopt it via the below-mentioned explanation.

Why Should Businesses Integrate Zero Sprint in Agile Model?

Despite the drastically-different opinions, the fact remains that Zero Sprint aims at delivering value in prompt iteration cycles. Therefore, depending on the project's needs, it can simplify a major portion of the process.

The process bodes well in complex working environments packing experienced personnel. Although Agile and Scrum divide the development process into smaller bits, there is always a starting point. It requires setting up expectations, objectives, resource planning, and more.

Scrum Sprint 0 can deliver such answers with additional perks. The most notable con associated with Sprint Zero is that it requires specialists, which consumes hefty resources and time. However, if you calculate the value ratio delivered to resources invested, Sprint Zero will easily outweigh the costs.

Advantages of Zero Sprint in Agile

Adopting Design-Centric Practices

Sprint Zero provides ample time to designers, allowing them to brainstorm different ideas and practices. As a result, it facilitates better outcomes, creativity, and individual growth as designers are not exposed to any burden. On the other hand, the development team can use this period to sort the technical requirements.

Discovering and Testing Assumptions

No project is devoid of mistakes, but they can be mitigated. Scrum Sprint 0 is the chance for the Scrum team to curate test plans and assess their viability. It also allows them to slice the project and prepare a workflow to prioritize MVP resources.

Ideal Onboarding Period

In case your enterprise has hired new team members, Sprint 0 is the best time to get them on board. You can even assess their thinking capabilities and intuitiveness during the period.

Delivery Planning

As already mentioned, although Sprints are minor iterative cycles, the team still needs to plan them. Zero Sprint in Agile allows project owners to decide the duration of the upcoming Sprints. Moreover, they can access queries like: will the project require a release plan, how will the Sprints align with the road map? Should the business test a feature release or a series of multiple scheduled releases?

Steps to Use Sprint Zero in Scrum 

Now that you have an idea about Sprint Zero's benefits, let us understand how it can be implemented:

Step 1

The first step for Sprint 0 takes place even before forming a team. It involves finalizing items like:

  • Programming language.
  • Design outline.
  • Framework.
  • Database.
  • Needed skills.
  • Resources.
  • Product objective.

After noting the items, the Scrum team can easily identify the best resources, tools, and workforce for the job. Moreover, it allows them to align the planning, designing, and development procedures.

Step 2

In the second part, Scrum Sprint 0 addresses the given points:

  • How long will the Sprints be?
  • What is the definition of finished?
  • What does the project consider as value?
  • What is the working agreement?
  • Does the first step require any adjustments?

It is natural to make mistakes during the initial period, so the second step reassesses earlier decisions. Moreover, it sets the tone for the upcoming tasks, keeping everyone on the same page.

Step 3

As the Sprint nears its end, it asks several crucial questions. Two of them are:

  • Does the team require Scrum training?
  • Is there any need for technical training?

The product manager and the administration must be transparent during the process. They must decide whether the team requires any additional training to ensure the project's success.

Step 4

The fourth and the final step of the Zero Sprint in Agile addresses factors like:

  • The metrics used to assess progress and success.
  • Assessment of the current standings.
  • Creating an initial Product Backlog draft.

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Tips for Conducting a Successful Sprint Zero

After understanding how to implement Sprint, it is time to comprehend some simple tips for its success.

  • Try to keep the Sprint under a week.
  • Avoid big designing principles.
  • Do not overcompensate for the upcoming Sprints.
  • Facilitate a collaborative and team-building culture.

In Conclusion

Sprint 0 in Agile is a popular yet somewhat controversial aspect. It primarily refers to the pre-Sprint periods where the Scrum team makes the initial plans. However, depending on the business needs and objectives, it can render esteemed results.

That is why many consider it an essential part of any software development process. However, Scrum Sprint 0 is different from Sprint 1 on multiple levels as it lays the structure and roadmap to conduct future sprints. Certified scrum master certification clears you to understand the scrum sprints.

The blog has specified vital information regarding the concept and how it can be implemented. Follow the tips and experience seamless Sprints during your next product development.


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