5 Characteristics of a Great Sprint Review

Currently I’m working as a Scrum Master for Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. Together with several Scrum Teams (6 teams in total, ±100 people involved as a whole) we are developing the new Schiphol.nl website for B2C (the travellers), B2B (the business partners of Schiphol) and B2E (the employees of Schiphol).

So far I’m truly impressed! There is an atmosphere and mindset of not only ‘doing Agile’ but really trying to ‘be Agile’. Today I attended the Sprint Review. It proved to be a good example of how valuable this session can be.

A Sprint Review by the Book

The purpose of the Sprint Review is to gather feedback on the delivered product and evaluate the collaboration. The Sprint Review should be used for a demonstration and inspection of the developed increment. It’s the best opportunity to adapt the product backlog if needed and release the increment to production if the Product Owner finds it useful enough.  It’s the ideal moment for a joint reflection and to decide how to proceed to optimize value.

Sprint Review - Schiphol

5 Characteristics of a Great Sprint Review

So what was it that made todays Sprint Review great? Let me give 5 examples:

  1. Invisibly Present Stakeholders. During a ‘not so good’ Sprint Review the stakeholders are easy to spot. They are the ones that get a demonstration from the Scrum Team. Left side of the room = Scrum Team. Right side of the room = stakeholders. During todays Sprint Review the stakeholders were quite difficult to recognize. For sure they were present. But they did a great job blending themselves between the Scrum Teams. It was one big collaborating group of people. Well done!
  2. Every Developer Participated. Yes! Every developer was there. Most of them holding sticky notes on which they wrote down the feedback they received on their product. They were truly inspecting the increment together with the stakeholders (yes, the developers recognized them). Nothing is more motivating for a Development Team than a stakeholder who is truly engaged with the progress of the team and is eager to see and discuss the results.
  3. Feedback. Feedback. Feedback. In short, the Sprint Review was one big feedback party. Every Scrum Team provided demonstrations on several devices. Everyone could actually use the product and share experiences and lessons learned.
  4. A Tailor Made Sprint Review. A great Sprint Review has a tailor made format. Sometimes using different market stalls for every team is the best format, sometimes a central demonstration & discussion works best. A great Scrum Team continuously searches for the ideal format to gather feedback.
  5. Beer & Bitterballen. The follow-up of the Sprint Review is of course the Retrospective. The ideal opportunity to process the Sprint Review and discuss possible improvements. Especially when todays weather conditions are taken into account (25º), it’s quite logical the Retrospective was combined with a sunny terrace, beer & bitterballen.

Luckily There’s Room for Improvement

Yes, there’s always something to improve. What I missed in todays Sprint Review is discussing the status of the Product Backlog and roadmap. What part of the Product Backlog have we delivered and how many Sprints do we think are necessary to optimize the value of the product? The individual Product Backlog Items were discussed, but the big picture wasn’t really clear to me. But this is my observation, maybe there was a speck of dust on my glasses and I just missed it 😉

Closing

In this blog post I’ve shared a “from the trenches” story that I’ve experienced as a Scrum Master. Besides being a Professional Scrum Master trainer for Scrum.org, I truly love fulfilling the role myself. Sharing my insights, mistakes and lessons learned is my gift to you 🙂

What are characteristics of great Sprint Reviews that you’ve participated?