Scrum Guide 2020: The Sprint Review

Up next in our Scrum series is the Sprint Review and what Scrum says it should be. Here is a hint, it is not the approval gate to release to production…

Scrum Guide 2017

“A Sprint Review is held at the end of the Sprint to inspect the Increment and adapt the Product Backlog if needed. During the Sprint Review, the Scrum Team and stakeholders collaborate about what was done in the Sprint. Based on that and any changes to the Product Backlog during the Sprint, attendees collaborate on the next things that could be done to optimize value. This is an informal meeting, not a status meeting, and the presentation of the Increment is intended to elicit feedback and foster collaboration.”

Scrum Guide 2020

“The purpose of the Sprint Review is to inspect the outcome of the Sprint and determine future adaptations. The Scrum Team presents the results of their work to key stakeholders and progress toward the Product Goal is discussed. During the event, the Scrum Team and stakeholders review what was accomplished in the Sprint and what has changed in their environment. Based on this information, attendees collaborate on what to do next. The Product Backlog may also be adjusted to meet new opportunities. The Sprint Review is a working session and the Scrum Team should avoid limiting it to a presentation.”

– It is easy to see where the Sprint Review is confused as just a demo of the latest increment created during the most recent Sprint. However, it is important to remember that Scrum does not state that all of the items in a Sprint should be held to be released together as a single increment. In fact it is quite the opposite.

Excerpt from Scrum Guide 2020 Increment – “Multiple Increments may be created within a Sprint. The sum of the Increments is presented at the Sprint Review thus supporting empiricism. However, an Increment may be delivered to stakeholders prior to the end of the Sprint. The Sprint Review should never be considered a gate to releasing value.”

The Scrum Guide is also stating that the Sprint Review is a ceremony to support the Product Goal and empiricism by discussing the current state of the Product and how it is trending towards a Product Goal. Decisions on what the most important and valuable thing to do next comes out of the Sprint Review. Scrum goes on to state “The Sprint Review is a working session and the Scrum Team should avoid limiting it to a presentation.”


Scrum Guide 2017

“A Sprint Review is held at the end of the Sprint to inspect the Increment and adapt the Product Backlog if needed.

Scrum Guide 2020

“The Sprint Review is the second to last event of the Sprint and is timeboxed to a maximum of four hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, the event is usually shorter.”

– This is a small change that I find interesting. I agree more with the 2017 Scrum Guide here. Not because I think the Sprint Review should be last, but more since it wasn’t so prescriptive about having it before the Sprint Retrospective.

Ok follow me here on this one…

If the team has an issue with their Definition of Done, or a process they are following, or some team dynamic is shifting during the Sprint, are they supposed to not address it until the end of the Sprint for the sake of following Scrum? I would think that a quick retrospective to adjust could occur anytime during the Sprint to address these issues. And yes, when you have the Sprint Retrospective, it can be discussed in greater detail.

Now, does the Scrum Guide directly state that you can only have a retrospective at the end of a Sprint, No. But it only calls for a single Retrospective, and that it concludes the Sprint. I will talk more about this in the Sprint Retrospective article.


Scrum Guide 2017

“The Sprint Review includes the following elements:

• Attendees include the Scrum Team and key stakeholders invited by the Product Owner;

• The Product Owner explains what Product Backlog items have been “Done” and what has not been “Done”;

• The Development Team discusses what went well during the Sprint, what problems it ran into, and how those problems were solved;

• The Development Team demonstrates the work that it has “Done” and answers questions about the Increment;

• The Product Owner discusses the Product Backlog as it stands. He or she projects likely target and delivery dates based on progress to date (if needed);

• The entire group collaborates on what to do next, so that the Sprint Review provides valuable input to subsequent Sprint Planning;

• Review of how the marketplace or potential use of the product might have changed what is the most valuable thing to do next; and,

• Review of the timeline, budget, potential capabilities, and marketplace for the next anticipated releases of functionality or capability of the product.

The result of the Sprint Review is a revised Product Backlog that defines the probable Product Backlog items for the next Sprint. The Product Backlog may also be adjusted overall to meet new opportunities.”

Scrum Guide 2020

“—”

– This entire section has been removed from the 2020 Scrum Guide. This piece from the 2017 Scrum Guide;

The result of the Sprint Review is a revised Product Backlog that defines the probable Product Backlog items for the next Sprint. The Product Backlog may also be adjusted overall to meet new opportunities.”

Has been absorbed into this from the 2020 Scrum Guide;

“The Product Backlog may also be adjusted to meet new opportunities. The Sprint Review is a working session and the Scrum Team should avoid limiting it to a presentation.”

But the entire list of instructions has been removed. Perhaps this was done to not be so prescriptive in nature as to what should or should not occur during the Sprint Review. I am not 100% certain why Jeff and Ken decided to remove this section entirely but I would like to believe it was to allow for some team autonomy on how they want to utilize the Sprint Review.

Or maybe they just wanted to save space…


Until I can find some time to dig into reasons why or perhaps try to get an answer from either Jeff or Ken, maybe someone else would like to explain it and share their thoughts.

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