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Improve Your Sprint Review Technique

Using the PRINCE2 Quality Review to conduct a better sprint review

13 August 2014


I have found the Quality Review technique used by PRINCE2 to be an effective approach for sprint reviews that follow Agile principles and help the team in multiple ways. Teams often conduct sprint reviews as though they are just another project status meeting. The ScrumMaster goes through an Excel sheet/task list and presents the statuses, the team presents a demo, and everyone ends up discussing people rather than the product. There are better ways. In this article, I present how the PRINCE2 Quality Review technique can be tailored to deliver an effective sprint review.

Objectives

  • Assess how a product or product increment conforms to the set criteria epitomized in the Definition of Done.
  • Involve key stakeholders in checking the product's or product increment's quality and in promoting its wider acceptance.
  • Provide confirmation that the product or product increment is complete and ready for approval.
  • Baseline the product or product increment for change-control purposes.

Roles mapping

In the table below, I map the roles of the PRINCE2 Quality Review technique to sprint review roles:
Role PRINCE2 Description PRINCE2 Role Scrum Role
Chair Overall conduct of the review Senior user(s) or executive Product owner
Presenter Introduces the product or product increment, coordinates and tracks the work after the review Project manager and team manager ScrumMaster
Reviewer Reviews the product or product increment, seeks clarifications Senior user(s) Product owner
Administrator Provides administrative support for the review and records results and actions Project support ScrumMaster
Team Participates in the review to answer questions, clarify requirements Development team Team

Review preparation

  • The ScrumMaster makes administrative arrangements for the review -- reserving the conference rooms, arranging for refreshments, getting additional presentation aids (projectors, whiteboards, flip charts, etc.).
  • The product owner makes sure key business stakeholders are available to attend and confirm and assess the product or product increment.
  • The ScrumMaster distributes the product or product increment information in advance of the review, giving the reviewers sufficient time to come to the meeting prepared.
  • The ScrumMaster collects and collates a list of questions that the team has for the product owner and/or stakeholders, each according to their respective subject-matter areas.


Review meeting agenda

  • The ScrumMaster initiates the personal introductions.
  • The ScrumMaster supports the team in introducing the product or product increment that the team has committed to deliver and that has met the definition of done.
  • The product owner invites each key stakeholder to respond to the questions and clarifications sought by the team. The product owner also gives stakeholders time to provide any additional information and guidelines, as needed. The ScrumMaster keeps track of these conversations in order to later convert the ideas and plans into backlog items, working in consultation with the team and product owner.
  • The ScrumMaster supports the team's presentation of any further talk-through of the product or product increment.
  • The product owner determines the results of the review:
    • Complete: The product or product increment conforms to the Definition of Done.
    • Conditionally complete: The product or product increment is subject to further action to conform to the Definition of Done. Note: This is not exactly in line with Agile and Scrum, which say that if the Definition of Done is not met, it is not done. But this "conditionally complete" status can help the team focus on any action items that would help the user stories meet the Definition of Done criteria.
    • Incomplete: The product or product increment doesn't meet the agreed Definition of Done and requires another review cycle. The ScrumMaster and team record the defects and/or issues and add them to the backlog.
  • The product owner closes the review.


Hints and tips

  • The ScrumMaster should make sure the sprint review is about process or the product or product increment, not about people.
  • Stakeholders should operate as a team, rather than as individual subject matter experts.
  • The product owner should encourage the team to maintain a steady pace during the product talk-through.
  • The product owner should avoid the temptation to formulate solutions. The team should formulate and agree on possible solutions.
  • The product owner and ScrumMaster should focus the review on the product or product increment presented and not drift into discussion of other products or areas.


Benefits

There are several distinct benefits from running a sprint review in this manner. I have found some of the most important to be the following:
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Servant leadership demonstration
  • Team building
  • Developing individuals
  • Quality culture
Test these ideas for yourself and see if they improve the quality and efficiency of your team's sprint reviews. I would be interested in your reactions and in any other ideas for effective sprint reviews.


Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.



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