What is a Sprint in Scrum?

In the Agile development model or methodology, a sprint represents 1-4 weeks where a specific task has to be completed and ready for review. In most organizations, the state duration is two or four weeks.

The primary goal of making the sprint short is to keep the team focused, and the period should be enough to deliver a meaningful increment of work.

What is Sprint Meaning In Agile?

According to the Scrum methodology, development cycles are called “Iterations” with the other and more familiar nickname of “Sprints“. These development cycles are relatively short and can go anywhere from a week to a month (Most organizations iterations with a length of two weeks).

During each development cycle, the team collaborates as a single unit to deliver a working part of the software based on customer demands and expectations. At the end of each sprint, the team will present the accomplished work (A.K.A: User Stories) and, right after that, review a new iteration that, based on new tasks, can start.

Before Sprint

A sprint starts with the planning meeting. The product owner and the scrum team agree on what work must be completed during the sprint. In the planning, the meeting gives input on how much work can be easily accomplished during the sprint, and the product owner will mention the criteria needed to be met for the work to be accepted and approved.

As we have mentioned above, during the sprint planning meeting, the product owner and scrum team determined the goal of that sprint. Based on the team velocity, the product or not, pull some top-priority user stories from the product backlog to the sprint backlog.

During Sprint

Once the sprint planning is completed, new features are added, and the goal of the sprint will not change. But if the team finished the user stories early, then, in this case, the product owner can add a few more user stories into the sprint.

If the user stories are finalized, and the sprint begins, the product owner should step back and let the team do their jobs. However, during the sprint, the product owner will conduct a daily standup meeting to discuss the progress and whether there are any blockers for the team.

At the end of the sprint, the team will give a demo to the product owner about the developed working product. Based on the demo, the project owner’s product owner uses the criteria described in the sprint planning meeting to determine whether to accept or reject the work.

What is the idea behind the Software Agile Development Definition?

When a team takes on a long-term task without a clear endpoint, it becomes difficult for them to commit meaningfully. Even if the team estimates a completion date, the inherent uncertainty around long-running work makes those projections unreliable.

Over an extended timeframe, unforeseen obstacles, new priorities, and distractions tend to emerge that shift focus away from the main task. Without fully anticipating or accounting for these changes, the team cannot realistically determine the effort required to complete the task nor firmly dedicate themselves to it.

The open-ended nature of the work reduces the team’s capacity to make and uphold a firm commitment. To resolve these problems, scrum uses short iterations that are restricted in time and the number of tasks the team will perform, allowing them to remain focused on short-term tasks without the need to foresee the future work month ahead.

In addition to the above, we can see some other great advantages of using the method of short development cycles:

  • There is more room for handling issues that arise during the iteration.
  • The team will determine the amount of work they will do per iteration; this sense of ownership will help increase their commitment.
  • The team will commit to only the amount of work they can deliver.
  • The team will use a set of structured meetings.

Daily Scrum will allow them to remain focused on the iteration’s main goal, planning meeting that occurs at the start of the sprint to understand the requirements, challenges, and expectations before taking any commitments based on the team capacity and velocity, Retrospectives to improve and adapt the process for maximum efficiency, and review meeting that will allow them to get real feedback about the quality of their work.

Sprint Phases In Agile

There are different sprint phases while we follow the agile practice. Below, we discussed each phase in detail; you can check those below:

Sprint Phases In Agile

Sprint Backlog & Team Commitments ( Planning )

Every sprint begins with a planning meeting (A pre-planning meeting may also be used), which involves the entire scrum team; during the meeting, the team discusses which user stories should be added to the sprint backlog, the decision is made based on the prioritization of the items in the product backlog (PO) and the team velocity that determines the amount of work that the team can handle in a single iteration.

The sprint backlog is a set of stories the team should deliver at the end of the sprint; each story added to this backlog should be approved by the team before committing to deliver it. At the end of this phase, we prioritized the sprint backlog, updated product backlog, known goals, and a set of commitments made by the team.

Sprint Execution ( Implementation )

The team will work together to finish their commitments to succeed in meeting the iteration goal. Their work will include different activities such as Design (HLD/LLD), Coding (TDD/Continues integration, etc..), and testing (Risk-Based testing/Exploratory and Automated testing on different layers of the code (Unit, Component, Integration, and System).

In addition, this phase also includes the daily scrum meeting that will help the team synchronize the remaining work and ensure that everyone stays focused regarding the iteration goal.

Iteration Results ( Review )

Once the iteration is completed (2-4 weeks), the team will demonstrate the potentially shippable product increment to the relevant stakeholders (Product Owner, Customer, Etc.).

Continuous Improvement ( Retrospective )

At last, the team also performs a retrospective meeting at the end of every sprint to discuss how things went and what can be improved in future sprints.

Final Words

The Sprint is a key component of the Agile framework, serving as a time-boxed iteration where cross-functional teams collaborate to deliver a potentially shippable product increment.

It embodies the core principles of adaptability, collaboration, and responsiveness to change, allowing teams to inspect and adapt their work regularly. By fostering continuous feedback and incremental development, Sprints facilitates the systematic and efficient achievement of project goals.

Your valuable input enriches this discourse and contributes to the community’s collective knowledge. Let’s embark on this journey of improvement together. Please leave your comments below, and let’s cultivate a space for collaborative growth and excellence.

I love open-source technologies and am very passionate about software development. I like to share my knowledge with others, especially on technology that's why I have given all the examples as simple as possible to understand for beginners. All the code posted on my blog is developed, compiled, and tested in my development environment. If you find any mistakes or bugs, Please drop an email to softwaretestingo.com@gmail.com, or You can join me on Linkedin.

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