Saturday, November 07, 2015

PMI-ACP Prep: Agile Scrum - Sprint I/O (Inputs and Outputs)


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Takeaway: At the heart of Scrum is Sprint, but the heartbeat of Scrum development is the Cadence. Cadence is developed when you have regular Scrum Planning meetings, Sprint retrospectives, Daily Scrums, Sprint reviews and you keep on delivering releasable and usable versions of the product. Key here is delivering working product of highest value to the customer – one of the cornerstones of Agile Manifesto, i.e., Working Software or Product. As cadence is important, so are the ceremonies (or events) of Scrum, as they build the cadence.

Hence it is important to know the events of Sprint and what are the inputs and outputs (I/O) of those events. In this post, I have not taken the various tools - such as task board, online spreadsheet, electronic tools and estimation techniques – such as planning poker, T-shirt size estimation. They tend to vary a lot from team to team.

There are 4 events (or ceremonies) in Scrum.
  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Scrum
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective
The inputs and outputs, for the events, are as follows. 

Event – 1: Sprint Planning


Sprint Planning I/O
When? Happens after the Sprint review of the previous sprint, but before the first Daily Scrum of the current Sprint.
Who? The participants are: Product Owner, Development Team and Scrum Master
Others, e.g., subject matter experts or domain specialists can be invited into this meeting.
How Long? Timeboxed to a maximum of 8 hours for 4 weeks Sprint. Length will be less for shorter Sprints, e.g., 4 hours for 2 weeks Sprint.
What For? Sprint planning, as the name tells, plans for the work and forecasts the functionality to be developed during the Sprint.

Sprint Planning Inputs:
  • Refined product backlog: Product backlog, before presented in the Scrum planning, has to be refined (also referred as backlog grooming) by the Product Owner. Refining means having fine grained items ordered on top of the Product Backlog with ID, description, estimation, and value.  
  • Projected Team Capacity: It is a simple calculation considering the length of the Sprint, number of development members (and sometimes availability of the team members)
  • Projected Velocity: It is the past performance of the team. It is kind of the yesterday’s weather. It may or may not be available, e.g., for the 1st Sprint, it won’t be available.
  • Definition of Ready: I am taking this term "Ready" from the Scrum Guide, 2013. Ready means the story that can be done by Development Team in one Sprint are pulled from the Product Backlog to Sprint Backlog.
  • Key Stakeholders: Subject matter experts or domain specialists can be invited into this meeting among others (as needed).
Sprint Planning Outputs:
  • Updated Product Backlog: As the items are pulled into the Sprint backlog, there will be discussion on the product backlog items – some of the product backlog items are likely to be updated.
  • Sprint Goal: It has the objective that will be met in the current Sprint. Should be in terms of business value to be delivered.
  • Sprint Backlog: It has the forecasted product backlog items that will be delivered in the current Sprint. It also has the plan for delivering the work items, in decomposed form, to have the product increment.
  • Sprint Review Date: This is the demo date. Sprint gives the potentially releasable version of the product. On the demo date, the product increment is demonstrated.
  • Estimated Velocity: After development team takes up the product items that can be done in this Sprint, the estimated velocity is known.
  • Development Activities: The product backlog items are broken down (or decomposed) into development tasks (or activities) by team members. They can take help of technical specialists or SMEs who are invited to the meeting. 
  • Definition of Done: A checklist of items when the product backlog items selected into the Sprint Backlog will be considered complete.

Event – 2: Daily Scrum

Daily Scrum I/O
When? Happens daily after the Sprint planning. 
Who? The participants are: Development Team and Scrum Master, Product Owner 
How Long? Timeboxed to 15 minutes a day. 
What For? Inspect progress towards the Sprint goal; Inspect progress towards work being completed from the Sprint backlog; Synchronization; Communication

Daily Scrum Inputs:
  • Sprint Backlog: See Scrum Planning I/O. Sprint backlog is a plan which has enough details that helps team to understand the progress during the Daily Scrums. 
  • Spring Goal: The 3 questions (yesterday’s work, today’s work, and impediments) that are asked in Daily Scrum have to be aligned towards the Sprint Goal. 
  • Development Activities: See Development Activities input in Sprint Planning.
  • Impediments: Issues which are preventing the team members from executing their work.
Daily Scrum Outputs:
  • Updated Sprint Backlog: Daily scrum helps in inspection, planning, adaption for the next 24 hours. If any new work is needed, the Sprint Backlog is updated. Sprint backlog is also updated when work is completed.
  • Development Activities: The development activities are updated. Estimation for them may also change. 
  • Impediment Backlog: Not all issues can be resolved immediately, after the Daily Scrum. Impediment Backlog helps here to keep track of the issues when raised in Daily Scrum. It has to be tracked and resolved by the Scrum Master.
To have proper utilization of time (remember - 15 mins!) revised estimations or updating of tasks can be done immediately after the Daily Scrum. 


Event – 3: Sprint Review

Sprint Review I/O

When? Happens at the end of the Sprint, and before the next Sprint Planning.
Who? The participants are: Product Owner, Development Team, Scrum Master and also Key Stakeholders
How Long? Timeboxed to 4 hours for 4 weeks of Sprint. Length will be less for shorter Sprints, e.g., 2 hours for 2 weeks Sprint 
What For? To inspect the product increment and adapt the product backlog. 

Sprint Review Inputs:
  • Product Backlog: Product backlog items which are “Done” and “Not Done” in this Sprint are explained by the Product Owner
  • Product Increment: A potentially releasable version of the product developed by the Development team. It is the combination of all product backlog items completed in the current Sprint and value of increment of all previous Sprints. 
  • Sprint Goal: See Sprint Planning I/O.
  • Sprint Backlog: See Sprint Planning I/O.
  • Definition of Done: See Sprint Planning I/O. 
  • Business Conditions: I am taking this as an umbrella area - for market conditions, environmental conditions, new or changed business condition, new opportunities etc. - based on which the Product Backlog is revised.
Sprint Review Outputs:
  • Revised Product Backlog: It will have probable product backlog items for the next Sprint.
  • Inspected Product Increment: The product increment demonstrated by the Development to the key stakeholders. 
  • Completion Date Forecast: Product Owner gives the likely completion date based on progress done to date. This is mostly done for the upcoming release.
  • Actual Velocity: Shows the actual velocity of the Scrum team, i.e., taking up the items actually done in this Sprint. Estimated Velocity and Actual Velocity help in final updates to the Burn-down chart.

Event – 4: Sprint Retrospective

Sprint Retrospective I/O
When? Happens at the end of the Sprint, but before the next Sprint Planning.
Who? The participants are: Product Owner, Development Team and Scrum Master
How Long? Timeboxed to 3 hours for 4 weeks Sprint. Length will be less for shorter Sprints, e.g., 90 minutes for 2 weeks Sprint.
What For? For the Scrum team to inspect itself. A plan is created for improvements that can be undertaken in the next Sprint. 

Sprint Retrospective Inputs:
  • Definition of Done: See Sprint Review I/O
  • Sprint Backlog: See Sprint Planning I/O
  • Spring Goal: See Sprint Planning I/O
Sprint Retrospective Inputs:
  • Updated Definition of Done: Scrum team can plan ways to update the Definition of Done, e.g., stronger criteria for quality. 
  • Improvement Plan: Improvements are identified in the retrospective and a plan is created to implement those improvements.

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