Most common mistakes in scrum ceremonies 5/7: the sprint review

Written by , in category Agile & Scrum

22 April 2013


Turning it into a status meeting, focusing on time tracking

The goal of a sprint review is to show the product owner and the stakeholders what the team developed during the sprint. It is not about listing what each team member did, how much time he/she spend on that and how they got it done. This is not valuable for the stakeholders and pretty frustrating for the team members themselves. Instead, focus on demonstrating the value that was created to the stakeholders. Showing them how the new features work, which improvements the team made and asking the stakeholders for their feedback.

Showing stories that are not finished

The goal of this meeting is not for the team to prove that it did things during the sprint. It is to show the product owner and stakeholders what value the team created for them by showing them the finished stories. There is no value for the stakeholders in showing features that are almost done. They will most probably have to be shown again during the next sprint review, so keep them for that one and keep this review meeting focused on the real value. The only items of value are features that are completely finished. It is however recommended that the team explains why they weren’t able to finish the other items and therefore broke the commitment they made during the sprint planning. This is not to assign blame to the team. It’s about sharing information that might lead to improvement actions to the collaborative process.

No stakeholders or product owner present for the ceremony

What does a courier do when he wants to deliver a package to you and there is nobody home? Right, he takes off, takes the package with him and tries again the next day. This is exactly what we suggest a team should do if there is nobody available to accept or reject their work done. The worst thing you could do is just continue to work and build more features that nobody is ready to accept. This will not only give the stakeholders and the product owner an easy way out, it will also lower your team’s return on investment for their time spent.

Going into the ceremony unprepared

Since a lot of the collaboration within the scrum framework is built on trust, it is crucial that the team prepares the review meeting in a good manner. This way they can be proud of the work they did and can show this to the stakeholders, strengthening their trust relationship.

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Focusing on the technical details too much

Your stakeholders are interested in using your newly build features, not about hearing how you implemented them. Leave the technical chatter out of this meeting as much as possible. It’s not about showcasing how smart the development team is. It’s about showing that they just created value for the stakeholders and getting feedback from them.

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