In scrum, during each sprint, the scrum team strives to create a potentially shippable product increment. At the end of every sprint, there will be a sprint review. The sprint review is an informal meeting which the development team, the scrum master, the product owner and the stakeholders will attend. The team gives a demo of the product and will determine what is finished and what’s not finished. The point of this meeting is to receive a lot of valuable feedback, by presenting working and tested software to stakeholders. It is the most important moment in the scrum framework to receive feedback from stakeholders. This feedback is used to update the product backlog. Result: an updated product backlog that will define the product backlog of the next sprint. The sprint review may last up to 4 hours in 4-week-sprints.

Having a great sprint review could help you a lot during your next sprint. However, we’ve discovered some worst practices that could happen during sprint reviews, that could have negative consequences.


What’s going wrong during Sprint Reviews and what to do about it?

Stop calling your Sprint Review a Demo!

Your sprint review is so much more than a demonstration. However, a lot of scrum teams keep calling their sprint reviews a Demo. Of course, you are giving a demonstration of your product during the sprint review. The goal is however not to give a demo; rather, the goal is to inspect and adapt the product. If you think the sprint review is only about giving a demo, you’re missing the whole point of a sprint review.

Boring Sprint Review!

Where’s all the fun? One mistake that’s often made is that the sprint review becomes a boring meeting, while it should be a party, because it’s a demonstration of what the team has accomplished! Stakeholders and end-users are usually attending this meeting, so make sure to show them the value of the product increment that has been completed the past few weeks. Good sprint reviews showing the value of the product will never be boring! Because everyone is interested in seeing the value of the product. Also, make it more fun! Why not organize a dinner or lunch directly after the sprint review?

The Product Owner suddenly acts as a client?

Another mistake that is often made is the product owner acting as a client during the sprint review. Or, the team treats the product owner as a client. For example, the product owner sees the software for the first time during the sprint review. This is not how it’s supposed to be; the product owner is a part of the scrum team so it would be a waste of time and would only cost more delay to postpone his/her feedback until the sprint review. A good product owner would be more active in giving feedback during the sprint. In fact, the best sprint reviews are facilitated by the product owner!

The demonstrated software isn’t working

Sometimes during a sprint review, a scrum team will demonstrate software that is not yet working and hasn’t been tested. That’s not the point of this meeting. If the product increment isn’t finished at the end of the sprint, the sprint didn’t deliver any value. It’s really important that the product is finished, according to the ‘Definition of Done’. This is what makes the process Agile. So, the only metric to measure progress is the amount of working and tested software. That’s what needs to be shown during the sprint review. Make sure you are well prepared for this meeting by testing your software. Also, don’t use a PowerPoint to demonstrate the software. Demonstrate the actual software.

How to receive feedback during Sprint Review?

The sprint review is all about feedback. So treat all feedback as welcome feedback, especially from stakeholders. Let’s make it active and engaging! You can try to use the Happiness Metric as a way to collect feedback. It works as follows: Put five categories or smileys on the wall from really happy to really sad. Ask stakeholders to write their feedback on a sticky note and hang it under the category that best expresses their happiness. This way you’ll have clear feedback, combined with a measured value of the stakeholder happiness.

Well. Are you ready for your next Sprint Review?

Make sure it’s worth everyone’s time!

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