In scrum, each iteration is designed on a set of commitments made by the scrum team in order to deliver a potentially shippable product increment. For a product to be considered ready to be delivered at the end of each iteration, the team commitments should cover aspects such as gathering the requirements, design, coding and executing the needed tests to guarantee that the application is ready for release.
The review meeting is held at the end of each iteration (on the last day of the iteration) and is facilitated by the product owner. The meeting allows the scrum team to demonstrate and show the relevant stakeholders what they accomplished during the iteration and to get feedback on their work. In addition to this, the team deliverables are compared against the iteration goals determined at the preliminary sprint-planning meeting.
During the review meeting, we want to focus on:
The completed user stories.
Approval of completed user stories (Based on the customer and PO expectations).
A review of the iteration goals.
A live demonstration of the new software or features.
Project Metrics (Code Coverage, Defects Clustering, etc.).
Creating new user stories for the product backlog (Written by the SM and added to the PB post meeting).
A high-level description of the main problems impacts the team from delivering.
The Meeting Duration Time
The official duration of this meeting is one hour for each week of the iteration, so two hours for a two-week iteration and four hours for a four-week iteration.
The meeting Participants
This meeting should be available for every stakeholder who is relevant to the project, but if we want to follow the basic theoretical guidelines then we will say that the meeting should include the product owner, the scrum master, the customers (If possible) and the scrum team.
The iteration review meeting is focused on what was done in the last iteration, so the team should already have the relevant information and results. The preparation for the review meeting should allow the tea to think on how and what they are going to present during the meeting.
Well, we 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.
External stakeholders who are not part of the day-to-day activities can see what the team has accomplished.
The team gets the chance to share and get credit for their accomplishments, which increases motivation and mood.
A major principle of agile is to bring work to completion, and the review meeting forces the team to actually 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 feedback generated in this meeting can influence many aspects of the process, such as additional stories that will be added, re-prioritization of the product backlog, and so on.
The review meeting as an team motivation killer
As we’ve seen, there are major advantages to the review meeting. However, what happens when the team is forced to conduct the meeting even though they are not fully prepared? What happens if they’ve completed only 10-20% of their planned stories? This may lead to catastrophic results for the team. Think about the following scenario: the review meeting is held with many members of the organization’s upper management, which adds more pressure to a team that has nothing really to present. What do you think happens next? Well, most chances are that the team will stutter while presenting and the meeting stakeholders will feel that they wasted their time going to a crappy review. So should we still conduct demo meetings in this case? Of course! Although it may hurt at the beginning, it is still a great education for the team, who will then make their best effort in the following sprint! Moreover, based on my experience, it is one of the biggest motivating factors that we can use to motivate the team to improve in a framework that embraces continuous improvement.