Sprint Review

Each sprint ends with a two-part sprint review meeting. It starts with a customer review and demonstration and ends with the team retrospective. Both of these components occur on the last day of the sprint. The duration of the meetings vary. For each week of sprint duration, apply one hour of meeting time for the customer review. For the retrospective, apply .75 hours (45 minutes) for each week of Sprint duration. For example, a 30 day Sprint would result in a four hour review and a three hour retrospective. A two weeks Sprint would result in a two hour review and a one-and-a-half hour retrospective. Additionally, the team should spend no more than one hour preparing for the review.

Customer Review (or Demo)

The customer review meeting occurs on the last day of the sprint. The purpose of the meeting is for the team to show the customers and stakeholders the work they have accomplished over the sprint. The meeting is facilitated by the product owner but it is not uncommon to have the team members run the meeting. In this meeting, the customers should be reviewing the following data:

  • The work the team committed to delivering
  • The work they completed
  • Key decisions that were made during the iteration/sprint (this may include technical, market-driven, requirements, etc, and can be decisions made by the team, the product owner, the customers, or anyone else)
  • Project metrics (code coverage, etc)
  • Demo of the work itself
  • Priority review (for the next iteration/sprint)

Most agile teams will ask customers to accept the work right then and there; after all, it meets the definition of done and should be potentially shippable at this point. Some customers, however, want time to use the application before pushing it out, so some teams opt to give their customers up to a week to formally accept the work. It is very important to get acceptance – don’t skimp on this.

The duration of the customer review meeting varies depending on sprint length. For a one-week sprint, the meeting should last about one hour; for a two-week sprint, two hours. Teams running four-week (30 day) sprints should allow four hours for this meeting.

Team Retrospective

The team retrospective also occurs on the last day of the sprint, typically after the customer review meeting. The purpose of the team retrospective is to identify the things that the team is doing well that they should keep doing; things they should start doing in order to improve; and things that are keeping them from performing at their best that they should stop doing. The meeting is facilitated by the ScrumMaster and the product owner is typically not in the room.

This is a very important meeting. Just as a car needs to get its oil changed every 3,000 miles, the team needs its oil changed regularly too. The retrospective provides just that, an oil change – drain out the goop and bring in some good stuff – or at least develop a plan on how to start removing the metaphorical sludge from the team’s system. After all, the bad habits we have developed over the years are not going to disappear with the wave of a magical wand. Teams have to continually work to reinforce good patterns of behavior and eliminate bad patterns. Skimping on this meeting will cause the team to, at best, perform at sub-optimum levels and, at worst, bring the whole process to a grinding halt.

Like the other meetings, how much time to budget for a team retrospective meeting depends on sprint length. For a one-week sprint, the meeting should last around forty-five minutes, for a two-week sprint, about ninety minutes, and for a four-week sprint, as many as three hours.

For more on running effective team retrospectives, please read Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews by Norm Kerth and Agile Retrospectives by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen.