When it comes to Agile projects, many companies use teamwork that is organized into two-week Sprints with a limit of one month. Since the adoption of modern Agile project management approaches, particularly the Scrum framework, as the foundation of contemporary software innovation, the relevance of Scrum Sprints in project management has skyrocketed.
To begin with, we understand that Scrum project planning is an iterative and incremental approach developed to aid team collaboration. It enables teams to self-organize, learn from their mistakes, and evaluate what succeeds and what does not to enhance their approach over time. Scrum outlines a set of responsibilities, milestones, deliverables, and regulations that come together to help teams organize and manage their performance as a productive project management plan on a free scrum board.
What is Sprint in Project Management?
To effectively run an organization, complete every task on time and work efficiently as a team, it is necessary to understand what sprint means in project management. In Scrum, a sprint is a set of objectives, benchmarks, or outputs that a production team focuses on for a set period of time. The Project management Sprints definition in short is known as "iterations," which divide the project plan into manageable stretches of period in which minor targets are successfully achieved.
In an organization, it is more likely that the employers may feel that working on a long project, say a six-month project, could become tiresome and could lead to lesser productivity. This is when the Sprints project management comes to the rescue. They split the projects into sprints and focus on specific targets and embrace triumphs as the projects meet their successful completion.
The Role of Sprints in Project Management
Scrum teams create products through sprints or iterations, which divide apart large, complex projects into smaller, more manageable chunks. A Sprint in project management is a timed period during which a Scrum Team works to complete a specific volume of workforce. Sprints are the most important part of Scrum, and effectively executing them can help agile teams create high-quality software more rapidly and often. For instance, to enhance the effective execution of planning, they require Sprint planning in Jira (a software tool) so that the end result is of high-quality and features.
Sprints are frequently affiliated with the Agile Manifesto's concepts, which later form the foundation of the agile methodology. Sprints are responsible for implementing various agile characteristics like often generating functioning software and being able to respond to certain changes if necessary. To understand in detail how Sprint works, one may find project management classes helpful.
What Happens During a Sprint?
Managing Sprints is a technical yet artistic task that goes through an archetypical process in project management which involves planning, executing, and concluding the teamwork. Let us walk through the entire process of project management Sprints -
- The beginning of the Sprint
Before starting on with Sprints, there is a special conference held which terms out as Sprint Planning. A Sprint project plan is led by the software development team and the owner of the product as they lay out the next sprint in detail. They are in charge of selecting the product backlog items to be executed throughout the Sprint. These tasks or products are transferred from the Sprint Backlog to the Sprint Backlog. Each Sprint's Backlog Items are determined by the Product Owner.
- During a Sprint
As we know that daily Scrum is a crucial activity that takes place during a Sprint. The daily meeting usually takes place for about 15 minutes on average in the same location and at a preferred time. This happens to avoid disorder. The meeting is done under the guidance of the Scrum Master who certainly is a significant part of the team. The meeting makes sure that the development team is working together in harmony and discusses what has been accomplished thus far and what will be accomplished next.
- The End of the Sprint
Once the Sprint reaches its conclusion, the team gathers for a Sprint Review meeting. The team presents the successful product to the Product Owner and the key stakeholders at this discussion. Now, the Product Owner's role is to ensure that all the criteria from the Sprint Backlog have been met. The incomplete projects will be sent back to the Product Backlog and will be taken care of by the team in the next Sprint.
How long is a Sprint?
Usually, the Sprint teams take two weeks to complete their projects, but this is not a strict timeline. The timings depend on the relevance of the project, along with determining how capable the team is. The sprint might take longer than anticipated or even a shorter time.
A few tips that come in handy while optimizing agile project management Sprints time for the team are here as follows-
- As per the Scrum guide, you should not let the Sprints take place for more than a month. It is not a Sprint if it takes longer than a month’s period.
- Each Sprint should be treated as a separate project. Each Sprint's goal is to deliver progression of iterative content.
- Since shortened Sprints come with increased pressure, they work effectively for high-performing teams.
- Monitor your team's working style and change the Sprint length accordingly.
Phases of Sprint Planning in PMP
The Sprint is by far the most fundamental version of the Agile methodology, and it is also the most widely used Agile technique. It takes place for 2-4 weeks and results in meeting the set goal effectively using certain Sprint Management tools. At the end of each Sprint, the objective is to provide a viable product or service.
Sprints that are highly efficacious are critical to the achievement of your Agile strategy. So, it is only natural to devote some time to learning what sprint planning is in project management and how to strategize for profitable Sprints. The planning phase, like with other Agile methodologies, focuses on establishing an organized, conventional treatment that can be used again to attain the intended outcome. Furthermore, you can even get a PMP certification online to focus on excelling in Sprint planning.
Phase 1 – Designing
Designing is a one-time process that you can twist for regular progress in the future, but it does not need to be repeated until the present design has proven to be unstable. Although the essential components of planning a Sprint are quite common, how each aspect is managed, evaluated, and remarked on will change between companies and teams, the core components are generally standard. It goes through this series of project management sprint planning processes-
- Sprint Planning- The managers conduct a meeting where they initially plan Sprint backlog and estimate portfolio business initiatives.
- Task Breakdown- Another meeting is held where the managers, along with the team, finalize Sprint Backlog, estimate, and define tasks to the team.
- Regular Scrum Meeting- A daily scrum meeting is on schedule where the team reviews the progress every day, while prioritizing and assigning tasks on the basis of Sprint burn down chart.
- Backlog Grooming- The product owner and team examine, improve, and make solutions for the product backlog depending on the results of the Sprint.
- Sprint Review- A meeting takes place considering the results of the Sprint, analyzing and comparing to the goals decided in the first planning.
- Sprint Retrospective- A meeting where the team reviews the tools and processes used during the Sprint while keeping a close eye on improvements.
Phase 2 - Valuing Sprint Velocity
Based on team scheduling and capability, the program manager and product owner must evaluate the Sprint velocity, meaning how much ought to be achieved within the time frame before every Sprint. They can take benefit from the key observations from the last Sprint's hindsight and evaluate meetings by making this estimation at the start of each Sprint instead of generally during the design phase.
Phase 3- Assign Work to the Sprint
The Scrum Master is responsible for working straight with the team to assign different tasks to each Sprint with the help of defined Sprint tempo estimate given by the product owner. One of the main advantages of Agile development is that it can emerge by enabling the team to operate spontaneously during phase three.
How to Manage Sprint Cycle More Effectively?
The sprint cycle is a phrase used in software development to characterize the timed iterations in which a workforce generates and executes a particular type of research or task. Two to four weeks is the average length of a sprint cycle.
- Involve the entire team
Sprint Cycle works efficiently when the managers involve the whole team together and assign different roles to them. The team should have three roles in general- The Product owner (the CEO providing product backlog items), the Scrum Master (the one who assists the team in delivering goals for each Sprint), and the Development Team (responsible for providing technical skills with researchers, designers, testers, and developers).
- Plan your Sprint Meeting
There are different types of meetings in the Sprint Cycle, such as backlog refinement, daily standup, sprint planning, sprint review, and retrospective meetings. The five types of sprint meetings-
- Backlog Refinement Meeting- This is where the product owner presents the products and priorities of the Sprint Cycle.
- Sprint Planning meeting- The development team and the product owner discusses the handling and prioritizing of the future sprint cycle, along with the outcomes.
- Daily Standup Meeting- Every team member is required to describe what they accomplished the day before and what they aim to achieve the next day. They might also mention any obstacles they have encountered. These discussions must be kept to a minimum.
- Sprint Review Meeting- The Sprint Review meeting happens when the team shows the product to the owner (CEO) with hopes that the outcomes benefit the owner and the team moves on to the next Sprint.
- Sprint Retrospective Meeting- The team examines the process and processes from the previous sprint cycle, identifying areas for improvement. The start-stop-continue method is commonly employed in these sessions.
These meetings last only for 15-minutes in which only important things are discussed with the team. A digital scrum board tool can also be used. They can simply aid in the visualization of each user story's "To Do," "In Progress," and "Done" tasks.
- Define Deliverables
The product owner and development team will discuss certain goals or outputs at the start of the sprint cycle to evaluate the cycle's effectiveness. These deliverables must be understood by everyone engaged in the project. One simple approach to accomplish this is to invite all essential parties to the first two sprint meetings mentioned above. Every member should attend the planning meeting and assist in determining the Sprint deliverables according to the product owner.
- Use tools for team management
Team management tools are crucial enough for the entire team, and for that, you need project management software. This activity not only boosts productivity but also enhances teamwork and allows every team member to work together. The tools like Scrum boards help in improving communications amongst the teammates, and the management gets simplified as you have the option to assign tasks using just a dashboard.
- Update the user stories
User stories are an important part of the processes throughout sprint cycles. Your development team is currently working on a deliverable that will help product users complete a specific job. As a result, how well your final product fulfills the user story will determine the overall success of your sprint cycles. The user story is marked complete and removed if the product owner accepts it. After that, the team will go back to work on the next user story in the backlog.
- Include inputs from previous sprints
The best way to resolve issues in the management is to identify what went wrong in the previous Sprint. If you can determine the cause of the problems, you can learn to rectify them in the future. To do this, it is necessary that managements hold Sprint retrospective meetings to fixate on problems and see what suits the productivity and what does not so that you can avoid them.
Sprint Tips: Do’s and Don'ts
- Create a well-organized backlog that includes all requirements and responsibilities.
- Ascertain that your team is aware of the Sprint Goal and how it will be measured.
- Keep an eye on your Sprint velocity metric to ensure it truly describes things like team meetings and sick days.
- Make sure to employ project management tools to collect and track data on important choices. You can also take some Project management classes at KnowledgeHut to have a deep understanding of management tools for Sprint planning.
- Do not include too many Product Backlog Items that your team might not be able to complete in the given timeframe.
- Do not let go of the technical or quality issues in the Sprint. Present your points in QA and other tasks like fixating the bugs.
- Do not leave vague or confusing tasks to be finished in Sprint. Your team should be going in a single direction, not merely quickly.
To conclude, it is safe to say that if you are planning to employ an agile approach to your project management, you must understand what a sprint is in project management and the important function sprints play in assisting the team in completing work on schedule and within budget while avoiding problems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How many Sprints are in a project?
You can have around 10-20 Scrum Sprints. However, this numerical depends on the scale of the projects that you own, and this also depends on your team objectives. The minimum sprints are a project ranges from 3 to 5 on an average.
How do you manage project sprints?
There are 5 steps to follow while managing project sprints-
- Create a Sprint by going back to your backlog of the Scrum project and clicking on “Create Sprint.”
- Fill the Sprint with the issues you want to resolve after including everyone on the team.
- Start Sprint management by adding a Sprint Goal and then decide on the Start Date and End Date for your Sprint.
- Monitor the progress of your team on a daily basis and review the Sprint Report.
- Close the Sprint after completing it successfully.
What are Sprints in Agile project management?
A Sprint or Iteration is a key factor in agile project management where a development team is given certain tasks, objectives, or deliverables that they are supposed to complete in a given time frame. Agile projects are further split into short and repeated phases called Sprints. One sprint typically lasts 2-4 weeks, and these sprints are planned discretely with the help of the team members.
What is Sprint planning in project management?
Sprint planning in project management is an occasional activity in Scrum, which boosts the Sprint. The main idea behind sprint planning is that the team decides on the deliverables, milestones, and tasks, in addition to the timeframe needed to complete those tasks successfully. It is done in cooperation with the whole team, including the stakeholders and product owner.
What are the key features of Sprint?
Some of the key features or characteristics of Sprint are-
- Sprints are timeboxed to limit the maximum time taken by a task. General Sprints last for 2-4 weeks, and the team has to complete their tasks or projects under the given timeframe only.
- Sprints are meant for a short duration, and it comes with advantages like easy planning, great return on investment, restricting errors, faster feedback, and recurrent checkpoints.
- Sprints are consistent. If you have a 2-week project sprint, then all your future sprints will be 2-weeks only. And the team members have to report their checkpoints on a daily basis.
- Sprints decide the milestones before starting. Every task, deliverable, or objective is decided before starting on with the Sprints. Therefore, it leaves no space for any alteration.