What is a sprint?

In the Scrum framework for agile product development, the sprint is a fixed period of time in which a defined set of activities take place and at the end of which a product increment is created.

A sprint would usually be set between one and four weeks and would be fixed for a product development until such time that the scrum team inspects their ways of working, during a retrospective, and may decide that an alternative sprint length may be beneficial to the way they work.

A sprint consists of a set of activities: sprint planning, daily scrums, development work, sprint review and sprint retrospective.

A sprint is used to accomplish something – a sprint goal. The activities within the sprint are planned to do this and changes within the sprint that might jeopardise the sprint goal are avoided.

At the start of a sprint, the scrum team conducts a sprint planning exercise, which is limited to eight hours for a one month sprint.  The development team works towards forecasting what can be developed in the sprint, where the product owner discusses which product backlog items would be needed to achieve the sprint goal.

During the sprint the development team works through the sprint backlog. Activities are coordinated in the daily scrum, in which each team member explains: what they did yesterday; what they will do today; any impediments that will get in the way of achieving the sprint goal.

A sprint review is held at the end of the sprint to inspect the product increment and adapt the product backlog, if required. The sprint review is a collaboration between the scrum team and stakeholders, discussing what was achieved and the next things that could be done to increase the value of the product.

A sprint retrospective is also held at the end of the sprint in which the scrum team inspects itself and identifies a plan for making improvements during the next sprint.

The sprint, as a time-box of activities, supports the agile lifecycle of plan, do, inspect and adapt on a daily and sprint cycle.

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