How to Conduct Agile Sprint Reviews

Updated on May 22nd, 2022
How to Conduct Agile Sprint Reviews

Wondering how to carry out Agile sprint reviews?

Whether you're new to product development or a seasoned pro, it's doubtless that your development team has heard of the agile methodology.

Today, agile project management has become popular in software development. However, the agile framework has also become prevalent in many other industries worldwide.

Sprint reviews are when the entire scrum team comes together to celebrate their accomplishments and review any completed work up until this point.

A sprint review always takes place at the end of a sprint to provide the team with valuable input.

So what's the best approach to conducting an agile sprint review? How does a scrum master make the most of your next ceremony?

Let's find out. 

The Goal of a Sprint Review Meeting

Scrum teams showcase their progress during a given stage of product development in the sprint review. However, this is not the sole purpose of a sprint review.

Instead, here are the three chief goals of a Sprint review:

  • To account for any work completed during a given sprint.
  • To assess any ongoing concerns or obstacles that exist.
  • To adapt the product backlog as needed.

To keep things on track at any upcoming sprint planning meeting or sprint review, team leaders must create a sprint review meeting agenda.

By focusing on these three aspects, sprint reviews become more concise, leading Scrum teams to deliver exceptional products that often exceed their clients' expectations.

Let's break down the steps that you must follow to make the most of your Agile Sprint review.

Step 1: Assess the Progress of the Team

During a sprint review meeting, one of the main focus areas is around outlining the work completed during the sprint.

Credits: Scrum.org

At the onset of each sprint, development teams already have a well-defined idea of what work needs completion by their milestone due date. 

During a sprint review, it's also time to review the sprint backlog and determine what items or goals are complete.

At the same time, it's also possible that the scrum team did not complete some work or that some completed work has not met the sprint's goals.

In this case, it's just as crucial that the development team comes together to review why this has happened and focus on finding ways to avoid similar outcomes in the future.

Step 2: Demonstrate Team's Work

No matter what type of project your team is working on, there's no denying that product development is a lot of hard work. Therefore, the second most crucial aspect of a sprint review is celebrating the team's accomplishments.

After a thorough review of any complete or incomplete work, the Scrum team shows off their current product and its capabilities.

If there isn't any way to demonstrate this, teams are free to ask and answer any questions or voice concerns they've had about the sprint.

Step 3: Review Key Metrics

Metrics are specific data points that teams use to measure or track progress during the development stage and improve both the effectiveness and efficiency of the ongoing project.

Defining and understanding metrics at the beginning of a sprint ensures that the entire team knows where they must focus their efforts. Therefore, at the onset of a sprint, the product owner must define which metrics are most important for the project.

A few key metrics to focus on include: 

  • Research and development (R&D) as a percentage of sales
  • Average product ROI
  • Customer satisfaction 

On that note, it's critical to understand that a sprint's metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) provide immediate insight into a project's success at the beginning, during, and after completion.

Step 4: Revise Product Backlog

At the initial sprint planning meeting, the product owner presents a well-defined product backlog. Before a sprint begins, teams decide how to focus their efforts on each item and how much time they'll need for each one.

During a sprint review, it's essential to take the time to revise and adapt the product backlog as needed.

For instance, the product owner removes any items marked as complete from the product backlog, and any items still incomplete must be revised as needed.

In the end, once the product owner is satisfied with the updated product catalog, the spring review meeting ends, and everyone gets back to work, focusing on the next sprint.

Sprint Reviews vs Sprint Retrospective

If your team is new to the agile framework, it's easy to confuse some of the different types of agile ceremonies. While the two ceremonies seem similar at first glance, a sprint review is not the same as a sprint retrospective.

For starters, a sprint review demonstrates the progress of the development team's work as a whole. This is why a sprint review often involves project stakeholders, allowing the scrum team to obtain immediate feedback on their progress.

On the other hand, a sprint retrospective is a broader spectrum review to improve and inform future sprints. It is a way to get the entire group thinking about what they've done right up to a certain point and what improvements to make in the future.

Remember, sprint reviews always happen after a sprint or iteration. Retrospectives always take place after a sprint is complete.

Agile Sprint Reviews: Key Takeaways

The primary goal of a sprint review is to review completed work and ongoing milestones.

However, during a sprint review meeting, teams must also take time to demonstrate their work, go over any key metrics, and revise the product backlog as needed.

That's why it's critical for the product owner to create a sprint review meeting agenda before things get started.

Having a sprint review meeting agenda ensures that the ceremony stays on track. This way, everyone involved, be it the product owner, development team, or any external key stakeholders, better understands the current state of their project. 

Once you do that, you are already well on your way to completing a successful sprint review.