In this episode of Trainer Talk – the supplemental series to the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast – Sam Falco, an agile coach and Certified Scrum Professional, answers the question, “Do Sprint Reviews and Retrospectives overlap?”
Why do we talk about what went well in a Sprint Review?
In a Professional Scrum Foundations class I recently taught, one of my students asked if there was an overlap between the Sprint Review and the Sprint Retrospective. She was reacting specifically to the statement from the Scrum Guide that in Sprint planning, “The development team discusses what went well during the Sprint, what problems it ran into, and how those problems were solved.” Doesn’t that discussion properly belong to the Sprint Retrospective?
It’s easy to see how someone could be confused by that statement in the Scrum Guide. After all, a common format for Retrospectives is, “What went well, what could have gone better, and what could we do differently?”
The intent of a Retrospective
The difference is in the intent. In the Sprint Retrospective, the development team is focused on how it can improve its work. Whether that has to do with the way we work together, the tools we use, improving our definition of done, or some process we’re using, the goal of the Retrospective is to produce improvements it can introduce into the next Sprint.
The intent of a Sprint Review
By contrast, the focus of the Sprint Review is to collaborate on the most valuable thing we can do next in regards to the product. When the development team talks about what went well and what problems it ran into in this context, it is valuable feedback to the Product Owner and stakeholders about the nature of their work — facts that ought to be taken into account when creating and ordering product backlog items.
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