The Sprint Review session should be a time at the end of every sprint for the team to inspect their work, receive feedback within the team and with stakeholders, and to decide what to do next. This should be done in an informal setting and become a natural ritual for the team.
Many articles have been written about the Sprint Review and I would recommend reading them along with the Scrum Guide, especially if your team is struggling with this important session.
In an earlier post, we talked about how to make your Sprint Review sessions meaningful. The topic of Sprint Reviews and how to make them valuable has come up quite a bit recently with the teams I have been working with so I thought I would add a few additional suggestions.
Prepare early. Reserve the room 15 minutes early to set up conference calls or video connections. Have the team do a quick test run of what will be demonstrated. I have seen far too many Sprint Review sessions delayed (or cancelled) because of technical glitches – often times with stakeholders and the team just waiting around.
Informal but focused. The informal nature of Sprint Reviews are what makes them so effective. The feeling should be generally loose and relaxed with the team having a chance to “show off” their hard work. But we can’t forget why we are here – to inspect our current increment of work and adapt to any changes by refining the product backlog.
Make the stories the agenda. One way to achieve focus is to let the user stories guide the flow of the meeting. My fellow coach, Steve Fastabend always says the user stories should be the star of the show. Have the Product Owner read the user story AND the acceptance criteria. The team can then demonstrate working product to validate the acceptance criteria. When the user story becomes the focus what you are really doing is making sure your customer (or user) remains the star of the show.
Bring in an actual user. Along those same lines, bring in someone who will actually be using your product to participate in the demonstration every once in a while. The energy of the team seems to always pick up when they are observing a customer or user interacting with what they have just built.
Flow naturally into the retrospective. Chances are you already are doing this but dismiss your stakeholders and jump right into your retrospective with the team while the Sprint and the Sprint Review is still fresh.