The product management guide

Aha! helps product managers get their mojo back

What is a sprint?

A sprint is a short, time-bound development iteration. In product management, a sprint must result in work being completed and made ready for review. The goal of a sprint is to help holistic product teams focus their efforts on building what is most important. This involves agreeing upon which features, functionality, etc. can be added or improved to delight a product’s users.

Each sprint will focus on building whichever feature is deemed most important. Frequently, a product release requires several separate sprints. In this case, each sprint builds upon the one that comes before it.

Sprints should begin with a planning meeting. During this meeting, the product owner will meet with the development team. Together, they will discuss and agree on which work will be completed during the sprint. Specifically, the product owner and the development team will discuss which stories will be moved from the product backlog into the sprint backlog.

In this meeting – and throughout the sprint -- the product owner and development lead have different responsibilities. The product owner must explain which criteria must be met for the work that will be completed. They are responsible for explaining what the team will do.

In turn, the development team must let the product owner know whether this work can realistically be accomplished within the sprint’s timeframe. Therefore, the development team controls how the work gets done.

A sprint typically occurs within a timeframe between one week and a calendar month. Once a sprint is complete, it will conclude with a sprint review meeting. During this meeting, the development team will present its work to the product owner. At this point, the product owner will confirm if the team’s work meets the acceptable criteria that was confirmed in the sprint planning meeting.

In a separate, final meeting, the team will reconvene to share the highs of lows of the sprint. Insights will be shared to figure out how things might improve or be replicated in future sprints. This meeting is known as the sprint retrospective.

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