Apr 22nd, 2020

What is a Sprint in Scrum? (Definition, Benefits And Example)


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A sprint is a time-boxed iteration/ event of a continuous development cycle. Planned work has to be done within the sprint that would be later subjected to review. This is one of the significant terms used in Scrum Agile Technology.

Sprint literally means a short race at full speed. To know what Sprint is in Scrum and much more about Sprints - stick with us until the end. When we discuss Sprints, the most common question asked is, what is the duration of a sprint in Scrum?

Generally, teams define a shorter duration for a Sprint. Let us say about one to four weeks. The sprint duration in Scrum is an important decision that can impact the effectiveness of the team's work.

Key Factors to Consider When Deciding Sprint Duration

  • 1Team's capacity: The team's capacity to deliver work is a key consideration. The duration of a sprint should be long enough to allow the team to complete a meaningful amount of work but not so long that they become overwhelmed and cannot deliver on time. The team's capacity may depend on factors such as the team's size, skills, experience, and availability.
  • 2Nature of the work: The nature of the work being done is another important consideration. If the work is complex or requires a lot of collaboration, a longer sprint may be necessary to ensure the team has enough time to complete the work. If the work is relatively straightforward, a shorter sprint may be sufficient.
  • 3Customer feedback cycle: The length of a sprint may also depend on the feedback cycle from customers or stakeholders. If the feedback cycle is short, it may be better to have shorter sprints so that the team can respond to feedback quickly. If the feedback cycle is longer, longer sprints may be more appropriate.
  • 4Risk tolerance: The team's risk tolerance may also play a role in determining the length of a sprint. If the team is risk-averse, they may prefer shorter sprints to minimize the risk of delays or failure. If the team is more comfortable taking risks, longer sprints may be acceptable.
  • 5Predictability: The predictability of the team's work is also an important consideration. If the team's work is highly predictable, they may be able to have longer sprints. If the work is less predictable, shorter sprints may be more appropriate to allow for more frequent opportunities to adjust course.

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Ultimately, the duration of a sprint should be determined through a collaborative effort between the team and the product owner, while they plan their work in ‘Sprint Backlog.’. The team should consider these factors and determine a duration that allows them to deliver high-quality work on time while also providing opportunities for feedback and correction.

Every Sprint begins with two planning sessions. These sessions define the content of the sprint-

  1. The What meeting
  2. The How meeting

The integration of these two meetings is defined as the Sprint Planning meeting. Before you plan, and attend the Sprint Planning Meeting - learn the 5 Do’s and Don’ts During the Sprint Planning. In the What meeting, the Scrum team commits to the stories from the Scrum Product Backlog. This makes use of a How meeting for breaking the committed user stories into smaller fragments and concrete tasks.

Eventually, this led to the beginning of implementation. A Sprint Review Meeting is conducted during the end of the sprint to let the Scrum Product Owner check whether all the committed items are implemented correctly and are complete as well.

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Furthermore, a Sprint Retrospective meeting is conducted with the objective of checking and improving the project execution process:

  • What was good during the sprint?
  • What should be improved?
  • What should be continued as it is?

A Daily Stand-up meeting, also known as a Daily Scrum Meeting happens during the Sprint. This short meeting is to help self- organisation of the team and to update the status of the items.

Sprints have compatible durations throughout a development effort. Straightaway after the conclusion of the previous sprint, a newsprint starts. It is noteworthy to mention that during the sprint,

  • Any changes that would endanger the sprint goal will not be made.
  • Quality goals do not decline
  • The scope may be renegotiated and clarified between the Development Team and the Product Owner.

Each sprint can be contemplated as a project with not more than a month horizon. Similar to projects, sprints are also used to accomplish a set of goals. Every sprint has a design goal, a clear objective of what is to be built, and a flexible plan.

Sprints are generally limited to a calendar month. Whenever a sprint’s horizon is longer, the definition of what is being built could be changed, complexities might rise, and risks may increase.


The number of sprints in Scrum can vary depending on the project or product being developed, as well as the team's preference and capacity.

However, Scrum typically involves a series of short, time-boxed iterations known as sprints, with each sprint typically lasting between one to four weeks.

During each sprint, the team plans, develops, tests, and delivers a potentially shippable product increment with the goal of completing a set of prioritized user stories or product backlog items.

Once a sprint is completed, the team conducts a sprint review and retrospective to reflect on their progress, gather feedback, and identify opportunities for improvement.

While there is no set number of sprints in Scrum, a common practice is to have a fixed number of sprints per release, with each release typically consisting of multiple sprints. The number of sprints in a release may depend on factors such as the project scope, team velocity, and release schedule.

Sprints are a key component of agile development methodologies, and they help teams to work in a collaborative, iterative, and adaptive manner.

By focusing on a small set of tasks for a defined period of time, teams can remain focused on their objectives and make rapid progress while also providing regular opportunities for review and feedback from stakeholders.

Overall, the purpose of sprints is to help teams develop software more efficiently and effectively by breaking work down into smaller, manageable pieces that can be completed in a predictable and repeatable manner.

By doing so, teams can deliver higher quality products with better features and more quickly respond to changing customer needs and market conditions.

In the context of Agile software development, a backlog is a prioritized list of user stories or product features that a development team intends to work on during a sprint.

A sprint backlog is a subset of the product backlog and includes the items that the development team commits to completing during the current sprint.

The sprint backlog is created during the sprint planning meeting, where the development team reviews the items in the product backlog and selects the ones they will work on during the upcoming sprint.

The sprint backlog is used as a tool to help the team stay focused on their goals and to track progress during the sprint. The sprint backlog can be adjusted during the sprint as the team learns more about the work that needs to be done or as new information becomes available.

However, any changes to the sprint backlog should be made in consultation with the product owner, who is responsible for prioritizing the items in the product backlog.


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