What Are Sprint Reviews and Sprint Review Meetings?

To properly understand the concept of sprint review meetings and their importance in the 21st-century economy, it's essential first to understand what Scrums are. For most people, the word Scrum elicits mental images of athletes wearing rugby jerseys and crashing headfirst into each other. But those working in the software industry will tell you that it also refers to a product development strategy used to create all types of products.

In simple terms, a Scrum is a set of principles for a team working together to achieve goals more efficiently and effectively while delivering a high-quality output or product. The Scrum framework was introduced by Japanese professors Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka in 1986. You’ll find it in many industries — from automobile manufacturing and software to the military and the legal trade.

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Scrum projects are split into periods known as sprints. These can range from one to four weeks.  Each consists of events like sprint planning, a daily Scrum meeting, a sprint review meeting, and a sprint retrospective. Within each Scrum, a team — called the Scrum team — execute the project, which might consist of a single goal, or be a collection of smaller projects.

What Happens During a Sprint Review?

As the name implies, a sprint review takes place at the end of a sprint. It’s when the team presents the results of the project. The team assesses whether they met their goals, and discuss how they can improve upon the product.

Sprint reviews include the product owner, Scrum team, stakeholders, and a Scrum Master. They are typically held at the end of each sprint and take between one and two hours. During each one, the product owner — who is held accountable for the entire team's work — explains the concept and nature of the work and its overall importance toward achieving the final goal.  Because Scrum methodology promotes collaboration and shared responsibility, every Scrum team member can participate in the review. However, sometimes the teams are so large, the product owner only invites the key stakeholders interested in the output of that particular sprint.

What Is the Purpose of Sprint Review Meetings?

At these meetings, the Scrum team presents the finished product to stakeholders so that they can make suggestions on what changes need immediate attention. Stakeholders are anyone not on the Scrum team that has a vested interest in the project, like investors, customers, sponsors, and so on. The meeting also allows the Scrum team to make better-informed decisions on how to move forward with any changes in the next sprint. Put another way, the main objective of these meetings isn't to give stakeholders a status update. It is held to showcase the working product, referred to as the product increment, and gather actionable feedback on it.

The product increment is the sum of all work completed in one particular sprint. While the goal of each sprint is different, all goals are aligned to serve as an essential step toward achieving the final product or fulfilling the product backlog. When the Scrum team and stakeholders understand each other and work closely together, the overall work becomes more efficient and effective. The methodology enables rapid improvement because it’s easier to identify shortcomings and inefficiencies quickly. This also means that each product increment gets closer to the ultimate goal.

These constant exchanges of information and feedback between the Scrum team and stakeholders ensure that there are no impediments to production. In other words, it creates efficiency and quality. This process also ensures that stakeholders can make their expectations clear to the Scrum team. It also allows everyone to voice concerns as they arise.

Difference Between a Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective 

A sprint review is a formal meeting between the Scrum team and stakeholders to discuss work completed and to address any concerns. A sprint retrospective focuses more on improving the sprint process as a whole. The retrospective, which takes place once the review is complete, helps identify potential setbacks or mistakes made and find ways to avoid them in future Scrums. Thus, the sprint retrospective acts as a mechanism that enables the Scrum team to evolve and improve throughout each sprint continuously.

The sprint review maintains transparency between the production team and stakeholders that enables the rapid and efficient development of superior products. By contrast, the sprint retrospective is a review of the entire process to ensure the team doesn’t make the same old mistakes.

Overall, the sprint review and sprint retrospective are two essential elements of the Scrum framework. They both ensure transparency within an organization internally and externally, and they both promote a healthy exchange of information, continuous learning, and improvement throughout the production process.

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Become a Scrum Master

Without a doubt, becoming a Scrum Master is an attractive career option, mainly because a Scrum master must ensure that sprint reviews take place and that everyone's goals are in alignment. Interested in becoming a Scrum Master? Take your career to the next level by enrolling in Simplilearn's Certified ScrumMaster Training today!

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