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It's Time for a Sexy Sprint

2 October 2015

In a feature-driven environment, one in which "good enough" is good enough, I find that sometimes we don't look at our product and ask, "Does it really stand out from the crowd? Does it generate wows and ohhs? Is it sexy enough?" Probably not, as we're constantly worrying about that next feature the product owner (PO) or other stakeholders so desperately wants to see at the finish line. It's time to do what I call a "sexy sprint."

A sexy sprint is one in which new features are left in the backlog, and the team focuses on how to elicit those wows and ohhs from our customers about our product. Many might argue that this is the reason for having user experience and user interface designers on the team, and they are absolutely right. However, these designers also work with new features under the good-enough rule during the product life cycle, so they, too, lack the time to perfect their results.

Before a sexy sprint, you might want to prepare the team for what's going to happen. I suggest that in the sprint preceding your sexy sprint, you have a talk with your team about it and ask them to start thinking and dreaming of a sexy product (i.e., your product, just sexier). Make a place on a wall in your office space where team members can put up a note on what is unsexy with the product in its current state, and what would make the product more appealing. If it's possible, try to get an opinion from the real users of the product. What is sexy is, of course, in the eye of the beholder -- and it is, after all, the customers' eyes that will judge your product in the end. Getting your customers' viewpoint is crucial if you're serious about creating that great product.

When it's time for sprint planning, hopefully you will have many ideas to discuss. I think this is a time when the PO should really listen to his or her team before putting together the sprint backlog. Sexy is too diverse and loose for one person to decide (this does not mean that the PO doesn't have the final call). Together, you will probably do wonders for your product.

So, come on people, find that Barry White song (you know, to get in the "mood") and get going on your sexy sprint.

Good luck!

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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