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As per the Agile gods, your teams and stakeholders get together every sprint for a review. The idea is to have immediate feedback. Helping us all steer the boat in the best direction. Another goal of the sprint review is mutual accountability. Scrum team measures their progress, and stakeholders are recommitting to their sponsorship.
Alas, in real life, often time sprint reviews are floundering. Instead of a useful ceremony, they become wasteful box-ticking exercises. They see dwindling participation, boring presentations, and an apathetic audience. A large number of stakeholders, competing priorities, too much juggling, remote working, and zoom over saturation. These are only some of the factors working against good sprint reviews.
Is this your organization? Are you the project manager that needs to drag people into the sprint reviews in the slim hope of getting even a single new insight?
Why not try a different approach?
This is how one organization transformed its sprint review process.
The key ideas were simple:
Confluence was chosen as the central tool for this new system. As the organizations intranet it was the natural choice. From the CEO to the technical writer, developers and marketers, everyone were very comfortable using Confluence.
As the wanted to get everyone engaged, using a platform everyone liked gave them a head start.
The PMO had a dedicated space for sharing information about the project. The project manager added the sprint reviews as a sub-tree in this space.
The list of information for each review was pretty long. They wanted to make it easy for people to locate the bits that interested them, so they split the data into several pages. The structure was consistent across all sprints. Each sprint review will have a collection of pages like this:
Another advantage of this standardization is that its easy to collect the data for each sprint.
This is the easy process we go through to make the data available for each sprint:
Before, in this organization, Jira was considered to be a silo. Most of the stakeholders did not have access to Jira, or did not know how to dig information from Jira.
This was creating friction in the sprint review process. Developers and sponsors did not have the same information about the stories in the sprint. This led to everyone wasting time on questions and quarreling around this fundamental point. There was suspicion and mistrust.
The Jira snapshot app solves this in a straightforward way. It copies Jira data into Confluence and displays it in a table there. The data is time-stamped, and static. Anyone with view permission to the page sees exactly the same data. Snapshots keep their history. Comparing sprint content between the start and the end of the sprint is a snap (sorry, could not resist the snap).
Did you ever have an argument with someone about what was actually in scope or not in scope for the sprint? With Jira snapshots, this is a non-issue. Anyone can look at the snapshot from the start of the sprint and see.
This new sprint review process propelled the organization to new places. Now, they were discussing real issues. Anything from. Topics like how to scope their sprints, what is a priority, and who their customer is, were analyzed, dissected, and improved.
It's not that they no longer had challenges, but these were different challenges. Some people said that everything got less “political”. You can see this in even the smallest gestures. Developers are putting more heart into their demo videos, product managers are more thoughtful about how they provide feedback. The language of "us", and "them", no longer relates to the scrum team (us) and the people outside the team (them). Today, "us" relates to everyone in the organization.
How are your sprint reviews going? Do you have your tips and tricks to share?
CEO at RadBee
6 accepted answers