Most agile projects rely on iterations; typically three week periods sometimes referred to as sprints. Each sprint incorporates four agile events, formerly referred to as ceremonies, that help keep the project on track. One event is scheduled daily, and the remainder is at the end of each sprint. These events are:
- Daily stand-up meeting: Every day, the full team (facilitator, product owner, cross-functional team members) meets for around 15-20 minutes to review progress – an opportunity for feedback and follow up. The time is limited to answer essential questions and make commitments for the next day. All other discussions take place outside this meeting. The meeting ends after everyone has had the opportunity to present their status and make new commitments. The questions are:
- What did I achieve yesterday?
- What do I hope to achieve today?
- What may prevent me from achieving this goal?
- Retrospective: Like lessons learned (usually associated with project closing), retrospectives are held at the end of each iteration. They are not about placing blame for sprint failures but focus on future changes. Retrospectives provide an opportunity for continuous improvement throughout the project. Key questions to discuss are:
- What should we start doing in the next sprint to improve?
- What didn’t work well, and should stop doing it?
- What worked well in the last sprint and should be continued?
- Demonstration: At the end of each sprint, demonstrate the work products for the product owner, client, and other key stakeholders. The product owner can accept, reject, or request changes to the work completed.
- Backlog refinement: At the end of every sprint, maintain the backlog, and plan the next sprint. Completed stories are marked as complete. Any requested changes or bug fixes are added as new user stories. The facilitator and product owner work with the team to review priorities and determine what user stories to complete in the next sprint.
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