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The Sprint Review Meeting (AKA: Demo) | David Tzemach

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

In the Scrum framework, each sprint is the sum of the commitments made by the Scrum team, which amounts to a potentially shippable product increment. For the product to be considered ready at the end of each sprint, the team commitments must cover aspects such as gathering requirements, designing, coding and the various quality activities that guarantee the feature’s readiness.

The review meeting is held at the end of each sprint (on the last day) and is facilitated by the PO. The meeting allows the Scrum team to demonstrate to relevant stakeholders what they accomplished during the sprint and get feedback on their work.

Understanding the Semantics of Sprint Demo Vs. Sprint Review

So, what's the real difference between these two names? If you invite people to a 'Demo', it sounds more inviting than a 'Review'. You will most likely get all stakeholders to be present at the meeting. On the other hand, a 'Demo' will give the audience the wrong impression that they need to watch passively.

A Sprint Demo is an act of presenting the working product or deliverables and receiving feedback for their work. This is not just a short review the team will do with screenshots or presentations.

A very common mistake at this meeting is for the team to review their work without a real demo of what they have developed. The direct impact on the audience is that they become 'Listeners' and not 'Contributors' that share their essential feedback with the team.

Meeting Participants

This meeting should be open to every stakeholder involved in the project. However, the discussion should include the PO, SM, the customers (if possible) and the Scrum development team.

Meeting Duration

The recommended duration of this meeting is one hour for each week of the sprint. So two hours for a two-week sprint and four hours for a four-week sprint.

Main Objectives of the Sprint Review Meeting

As mentioned earlier, the main objective of the meeting is to allow the team to share their accomplishments and get feedback about their work. The meeting also has some additional goals such as:

  • Building inner confidence by celebrating achievements by the team.

  • Reviewing critical decisions made during the sprint.

  • Demonstrating completed stories and sharing problems encountered (high-level description of stories that were not completed).

  • Reviewing the project’s progress (the Product Owner leads a discussion on the product backlog as it currently stands) and anticipating work needed for future product releases.

  • Reviewing the main project metrics.

  • Reviewing potential changes in the marketplace and which areas are the most valuable.

  • Generating valuable input for sprint planning, allowing the team to establish their next steps.

What Is the Motivation for this Meeting?

You can always say that all sprints should end with a review because it is written in the Scrum framework. A better response is because the sprint review meeting is valuable for both the team and the organization.

  • A primary principle of Agile is to bring work to completion. The review meeting forces the team to finish their commitments and release them to the customer.

  • The meeting allows the team’s external and internal stakeholders to provide vital feedback regarding the team’s deliverables.

  • The team gets the chance to share (and get credit for) their accomplishments, which increases motivation and attitude.

  • External stakeholders who are not part of the day-to-day activities can see what the team has accomplished.

  • The feedback generated in this meeting can influence many aspects of the process, such as other stories that will be added, re-prioritization of the product backlog, and so on.

An Outline of the Review Process

You can use any outline that works for your team, as long as you keep the meeting’s objectives. If you still haven’t found one that works best for you, use this simple outline as an example:

  1. The Product Owner reviews the sprint goal and items from the sprint backlog completed during the sprint (All stories that meet the DoD).

  2. The Scrum development team discusses and demonstrates completed stories. Each team member reviews a specific story under his responsibility and shares successes and pitfalls from the sprint. Then they conduct a live demonstration of the completed requirements.

  3. Every stakeholder who participates in the meeting gets the chance to ask questions and share their feedback related to the work done (The SM should capture all feedback received to guide the team in the next sprint).

  4. Once all team members have finished reviewing the completed stories, the PO shares a high-level review of the project timelines, the remaining work, and critical metrics.

  5. Finally, the whole Scrum team and any other meeting participants collaborate to finalize the next steps concerning the feedback from the meeting.

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