In the world of project management, there’s a way of operating called scrum, and “sprints” are an essential part of making scrum work. Sprint review meetings are a key component of executing a project well within this framework.
The creators of scrum define it as “a framework for complex product development.” Though it was originally created for software development teams, scrum is implemented around the world by teams of all kinds every day. It provides flexibility for teams to adapt to changing circumstances as projects progress.
Importantly for the topic at hand, scrum increases accuracy and decreases delivery times by dividing work into short, consecutive “sprints” of 1 to 4 weeks, at the end of which progress is evaluated and areas for improvement explored. That is when you hold a sprint review meeting.
Who should be there?
As with any meeting, it’s important to invite the right people, in this case, the Scrum team and any necessary stakeholders. Let’s take a look at who needs to participate in your sprint review.
- The product owner– The exact definition of this role varies among industries and companies, but one thing is clear: the Product Owner is an individual person, not a committee, who is responsible for guiding product development. In some cases, the role is more strategic, and in others, more tactical. The Product Owner’s job is ensuring the successful development of the product.
- The development team– The Development Team is a cross-functional group of people. The size of the Development Team depends on the project and its goals, and it’s crucial not only to make sure your Development Team is comprehensive but that all individual developers are included in the sprint review.
- Stakeholders– Other stakeholders may be invited to the sprint review meeting at the discretion of the Product Owner. Potential project stakeholders include the external customers (the person/entity paying for the product’s development), internal customers (the people inside the company who determine funding for projects), and users (the individuals who will utilize the product once it’s been launched.
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How long should the meeting be?
The length of a sprint review meeting should correlate to the length of the sprint itself. A four-week sprint generally requires a review meeting no longer than four hours, and a one week sprint, one hour. The Product Owner is responsible for keeping the meeting to its allotted time.
What needs to happen?
First, the product owner explains which items from the product backlog have been completed during the sprint and which haven’t. (The product backlog is a kind of constantly-evolving task list for the development project.)
Next, the development team shares what went well during the sprint, what problems they had, and what was done to address the issues. Then, they demonstrate the product as it is and answer any questions from the group.
After that, the product owner gives a summary update of the backlog as well as updated estimated delivery dates if necessary. The group takes all of this new information and strategizes about what needs to happen next, taking into account any market or potential use changes. All of this information is taken into consideration for planning the next sprint.
Tips for a successful sprint review
Now that you’ve got a basic outline for a sprint review meeting, let’s take a look at some ways to make sure each meeting is productive and worthwhile.
- Keep it casual. This isn’t a formal presentation. and a casual meeting (maybe with snacks even!) will foster a more collaborative spirit.
- Stay in the allotted time. No one likes long meetings, and people tend to zone out. Don’t take up more time than scheduled.
- Schedule around your team. Not only is it a nice thing to do, but you’re also likely to get better participation and feedback if you accommodate your team’s schedule as much as possible.
- Have your project management platform visible. Tools like Kissflow project serve you well in the project management process and also provide a great visual representation of your project and various project management templates to make sure everyone understands what’s being discussed.
- Celebrate the wins. You don’t have to serve champagne, but do acknowledge and express gratitude for the work your team has done.
- Practice healthy communication. This goes for every meeting. Project team communication is essential to its success!
- Focus on the end-user. This helps everyone keep long-term goals in mind while working through short sprints. It also reminds the team that the product is meant to serve other people, and can help re-focus attention on important features.
- Introduce new ideas. It’s a review. Don’t muddy the waters with things no one was prepared to talk about or that will distract from the purposes of the meeting.
- Let people ramble. It’s hard to rein in some people, but the meeting will be much more productive and enjoyable if you keep it focused.
- Turn it into a formal meeting in which the team feels they’re presenting and being judged on the product.
Time to execute
There’s much more to learn about scrum, sprints, and leading meetings, but we hope this intro is helpful. Remember, just like project management, leadership is about embracing the process.