Saturday, December 24, 2011

Scrum Sprint duration – which is ideal; 4 weeks or 2 Weeks or 1 Week? Checklist


The CTO heard about SCRUM. He asked the PMO to implement it. We got a big training. Everyone is happy. We know everything about scrum- product backlog, sprint backlog, daily scrum, sprint review, retrospective. Wow so cool. But no one told me the duration of a sprint. How can my trainer not know about this? This seems familiar? There should be many yeses.
There is no definite duration for sprint !!!
Ken Schwaber & Jeff Sutherland started the sprints with 30 days duration. Now majority of the companies prefer 2 week sprints. If you don’t have any idea; start with 2 weeks. After the couple of 2 weeks iterations get together with the team, collect their feedback and decide whether you want to change the sprint duration. Personally I have seen teams with sprint duration of 20 days, 15 days, 2 weeks & even 1 week (I have my two teams running on 1 week).

Checklist for sprint duration change.
Reduce the sprint duration
  • Poor estimation (if team complains that they work for 8 hours on the task estimated for 4 hours) 
  • Poor quality (lot of bugs & performance issues) 
  • Unable to meet the sprint objectives  
  • Lot of scope creep 
  • Nature of deliverables (if the team is responsible for the delivery of small reports or documents which won’t take more than couple of days) 
When the sprint duration is reduced team will meet more often for planning and review. This will help in better planning, estimation & understanding of sprint objectives. PO will also have a better time managing all the changes in the backlog due to frequent changes in customer priority.
Increase sprint duration
  • Product backlog is almost stable  
  • The inability of the customers/PO/stakeholders to meet periodically to review the delivery 
  • Nature of deliverables (some deliverables need long time to develop, integrate & test)
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