Sunday, March 6, 2011

Agile Thoughts : Sprint Length

team maturity and work definition are key factors

There are many factors that can/should influence sprint length, such as delivery schedules, resource availability, customer requirements, need for feedback, etc., but two often overlooked and perhaps most important factors are team maturity and how well the requirements/work are defined.

If I were putting together a new team or implementing scrum/agile processes for the first time with an existing team I would lean towards shorter sprints, perhaps on the order of a week or two.  I believe this would allow a team to mature much more quickly as there are more opportunities to exercise the full sprint process and more opportunities to use feedback to more rapidly move toward becoming a high-performing team.
Another key factor affecting sprint length is how well the work to be performed is defined and understood.  This includes both the business and technical aspects.  If the requirements are vague or unclear or if the technologies to be used are new or not widely known by the team then it might be a good idea to shorten the sprints to flush out more detail and get more rapid feedback from the customer on whether the team is on or off course.  Likewise, shorter, more focused sprints might help the team determine whether technology or architecture choices were appropriate and correct as well as helping to minimize risk or wasted effort.

As you can see from the above chart, mature, high-performing teams with poorly defined requirements and new, immature teams with outstanding requirements are in virtually the same place - they both need shorter sprints, for different reasons of course, but shorter sprints none-the-less.

See also:  agile thoughts : backlog preparation

1 comment:

Perry Joel said...

I would say That a PMP Certification is highly respected With Both IT & o-IT communities where strong project management skills are required. If you pla o a log term career as a project manager, the yes, eve with your level of experience, I would suggest getting your PMP. You ca to prepare yourself for the exam i oe of the PMP training providers like PMP prep course PMP classes to get PMP credentials .You ca do minimal prep-work to get 40 Contact Hours PMI ® ad apply to PMI for PMP Exam before the class begins.