On Agile Sprint Reviews
On part of the agile scrum development process I like are the regular sprint reviews. Basically in Scrum, you operate on a really short mini-release cycle called a sprint. Our sprints are 3 weeks long and on the last day of the sprint we hold a sprint review, which is a presentation on what was accomplished during the sprint. We have seven agile teams which all operate on the same sprint calendar. At each sprint review meeting, each team gets 15 minutes to present what they accomplished in the sprint. Attendance of this meeting tends to be quite high and diverse including all the sprint team members, people from Product Management, Support, Sales, etc. It is a really good way for everyone in the company to get a view to how development of the next release is going and provide feedback.
The best demos in the sprint review are of running the real product and accomplishing real user tasks (or stories). But sometime the demos can be of low-level processing as seen from the debugger or SQL analyzer, user centered designs, test cases, etc. The sprint review is a great motivator for the teams to finish stories and to be able to present them. There is a lot of competition between the teams to show the most progress and to present the most amazing demos.
The sprint review is just one small aspect of Agile programming, but it acts as a true focusing force to bring the product back together at the end of each sprint and to motivate the teams to finish their stories in time for the sprint review. The couple of days before the sprint review can be quite stressful for the teams as they try to finish things up. Remember Agile development has quite a strong “doneness” criteria which must be met before something can be demo’ed in the review. Any story that is demo’ed must be “done”, that means it must be fully finished, meaning fully tested and accepted by the product owner. If the story isn’t “done”, then it isn’t finished and can’t be demo’ed. It must be left to the next sprint and the team won’t get credit for that story until it meets the full “doneness” criteria.