The Sprint Review event is perhaps one of the most important Scrum ceremonies during which the entire Scrum team presents the completed product increment to stakeholders.
The participants of this event are the Development Team, Product Owner, Scrum Master, and stakeholders, often representatives of the client. The so-called Demo is performed and feedback is accepted.
The article describes problems related to the Sprint Review event that often the Scrum Master role has to deal with in a real environment.
Many of these topics are based on official information published in The BVOP Agile Guide – Sprint Review event chapter. References: Sprint Review, BVOP.org, 2019
The answers to the problems presented are from the point of view of the Scrum Master role.
Your colleague, a beginner Scrum Master, asks you a question. He asks you if, for their 3-week sprints, they can accept the Sprint Review event lasting 2 and a half hours.
Response to the Scrum Master role: According to the Scrum Guide for 3-week sprints, the Sprint Review is 3 hours. Each such meeting is different, as the client’s representatives can ask a different amount of questions each time and the discussion will take different time. I would recommend the colleague to announce the 3-hour duration of the meeting and to make sure that this time is not exceeded. If all the tasks in this meeting are completed and all parties are satisfied with receiving information and explanations, I see no reason why the meeting should not last 2 and a half hours.
You gather at the usual place for your Sprint Review event. Attendees are: You as the Scrum Master, the Development |Team without a new budding colleague, the Project Manager from the client, their Product Manager, Business Analyst, and a hired external usability consultant.
Answer of the Scrum Master role: It does not matter that there is a new beginner colleague in the Development team – he must attend the meeting because he is part of the team and has participated in the development of the increment. Product Owner must also participate – he must accept or reject the work done. The Product Owner is also the person who decides which external stakeholders he will invite and after assessing these – so it is necessary. Source: What makes a good Product Owner and what do they do? scrumtime.org, 2020
A project manager from your organization came to your Sprint Review event. He listens carefully and watches. He is pleased that the work is going well. Finally, he turns to you and asks you when you expect as a guide to releasing the latest finished developments to a real product in a living environment.
Answer to the Scrum Master role: Can’t tell when, because no planning has been done for all items from the Product Backlog. It is not known how the next sprints will take place, which of the completed work will be accepted as ready, and which increments will be decided to be launched in a real environment. Such a prediction would be quite inaccurate, especially if there are a lot of items left in the Product Backlog.
The Sprint Review event begins. Shortly after greeting each other, the customer’s product manager opens a topic about the project budget. He is not sure if his organization’s resources will be enough to continue working on the product for another 6 months. Ask your Product Owner for comment and advice on their Roadmap.
Response to the Scrum Master role: This is a meeting that discusses what is most important for the client that the team will develop in the next sprint. And after the presentation of what has been done so far, a thorough review of the Backlog will be made and it will be arranged so that for the remaining resources of the client to create an Item that has the highest value for the client and with their development a satisfactory product, even if not all tasks are completed. Such issues in Scrum related to the Product Owner often lead to non-well implemented Agile methodologies like the Scrum framework. Reference: Product Owner role in Scrum and real problem situations, www.vbprojects.org, 2020
At the Sprint Review event, business people and all representatives outside your Scrum team review what has been achieved and let you know that they have no questions or any other comments or suggestions, and prepare to leave the meeting.
The answer of the Scrum Master role: In addition to reviewing the achievements, this meeting also discusses the Backlog-a-which tasks are most important for development in the next sprint. We need to keep the client’s representatives in the meeting and for this discussion because it is very important for the team and for the continuation of the work on the product. Similar to Kanban methodology we need to deliver often but we have to respect the sprints. Reference: Kanban methodology vs Scrum framework, www.libraryofmu.org 2020.
Your client’s Account Manager will contact you and ask if you can demonstrate your product one day before the end of your sprint because they need to prepare presentations.
The answer of the Scrum Master role: I explain to him that it cannot be done 1 day earlier, because the sprint has a predetermined duration and when planning at the beginning there is a certain work that will be done that day. If the meeting takes place earlier, the team will not be ready to provide a completed increment. Reference: Real Scrum problems of the Scrum Master role during the Daily Scrum meeting, mpmu.org, 2020
Your customer’s product manager disapproves of the Definitions of Done for one of your User Stories and refuses to accept work on it. Everyone is staring at you, including your product owner.
Answer to the Scrum Master role: Definitions of Done are compiled by the team and are part of the work process. They are not subject to approval by the customer’s product manager. Accepting a User Story as ready is the task of our Product Owner, not the customer. He can give feedback on the product presented, but not on the completion criteria that the team has developed. Reference: The Product Owner is king, CIO.com
One day before your Sprint Review event, your client’s Account Manager contacted you and explained that they were working with the Marketing Department to prepare new plans. He asks you to send him the items that your team will complete during the sprint.
Answer to the Scrum Master role: I can send him the Items we planned to make in this sprint, but whether they will be completed, no one can say for sure in advance – in one day a lot of things can change.
You have already presented your increment at the Sprint Review meeting. Product Backlog items have been officially announced as completed. There is no work left unfinished. Everyone looks happy. Business people offer, as everything is fine, to discuss possible promotions of team members who have performed well, and then want to take you for a drink.
Answer to the Scrum Master role: The promotion of team members is not a topic for discussion at this meeting. It’s great that everyone is happy and that there is no work left unfinished, but it’s thanks to the team as a whole, not individuals. There are no people in the team who perform well and others who do not perform well – the self-organized team, regular inspection, and adaptation help to reduce such divisions of people. Reference: Scrum questions, answers, and explanations from the point of view of Scrum Master, ossalumni.org 2020 And the treat after the end of the project is a suitable event for dissolution before the next project.
Shortly before the Sprint Review event, a team member, developer, told you that User Story covers all definitions of completeness, but the finished work visually differs from the sketches attached to the Product Backlog item.
Answer to the Scrum Master role: Obviously there is no agreement between the sketches and the definitions of completeness. Product Owner will decide whether to accept this User Story as ready or return it for the next sprint, changing its Definition of Done so that the finished work does not differ visually from the sketches. Members of the Development team have the full right to comment Users Stories and that is a common feature of the so-called Scrum Developers. Reference: Professional Scrum Master vs Professional Scrum Developer, stc-montreal.org, 2019
While browsing the Product Backlog items, the customer project manager interrupts the conversation and asks a question to your Product Owner. He asks him why two very similar items are rated Story Points 3 and 13. The Product Owner looks at you.
Answer to the Scrum Master role: The evaluation of Items is done by the Development team and only they can share what are the motives to decide to put the points. To the client’s project manager, these Items may look similar, but technically be quite different.