Why you should never call the Sprint Review the Sprint Demo

Sprint Review Feb 11, 2019

I often hear people call the Sprint Review a Sprint Demo.

The Ted Mosby inside me immediately wants to call them out and correct them:

The Sprint Review is not a demo! It is much more than that.

Calling the Sprint Review a Sprint Demo, is like calling a nine-course meal an appetizer. An appetizer starts the meal, but it is only a fraction of the full meal.

It might seem like semantics, but calling the meeting a Sprint Demo puts everyone who attends the Sprint Review in the wrong state of mind.

In the Sprint Review you demo the latest increment to get feedback from the whole Scrum Team and key stakeholders. The meeting is not about the demo, it’s about the feedback!

The meeting is not about the demo, it’s about the feedback!

In the Sprint Review you receive feedback on the value you have delivered. The whole Scrum Team also works together with the most important stakeholders to figure out the most valuable thing to do next. The Sprint Review serves as valuable input for the next Sprint Planning.

Topics that are discussed at the Sprint Demo:

  • The Development team shows the work that has been completed.

Topics that are discussed at the Sprint Review, which includes all topics of the Sprint Demo:

  • Completion of Product Backlog items. The Product Owner discusses what Product Backlog have been completed or not.
  • Sharing the journey of the finished Sprint. The Development Team shares what went well, encountered challenges encountered and how these were resolved.
  • Showing the state of the Product Backlog. The Product Owner shows the current Product Backlog. If applicable, potential delivery dates may be discussed.
  • Deciding what to do next. The whole Scrum Team and key stakeholders together collaborate on what to do next. The Sprint Review provides valuable input for the next Sprint Planning.
  • Reviewing changes of the product or marketplace landscape. Review of how the marketplace or potential use of the product might have changed and how this might affect the most valuable thing to do next.
  • Showing and discussing upcoming releases. Review of timelines, budget and potential capabilities, and marketplace for the next anticipated releases of functionality of the product.

As you can see, there are 6 other topics you can tackle during the Sprint Review, other than just demoing what you’ve built. There is much more to the Sprint Review than just a demo!

Next time don’t call it the Sprint Demo, but the Sprint Review. To make clear what the meeting is really about: feedback.

The Sprint Review is all about getting feedback from key stakeholders and collaborating on the best thing to do next.

Help everyone, including key stakeholders, to understand the purpose of the meeting. This way you can work together to get the most out of the Scrum event and increase the value you are delivering.

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