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Digital processing 01 Mar 2019

Scrum methodology: What is a sprint?

The heart of the scrum work methodology is the sprint. The sprint is a miniproject nomore than one month (very short execution cycles – from one to four weeks), aimed atincreasing in value in the product we are building. All sprints have a definition andplanning that will help achieve the goals set.

A scrum, which is being used more and more frequently to develop digital products and services, is a framework where members of a multidisciplinary team collaborate to build a product in a way that is valuable from its first iterations. This is the way in which mobile applications such as BBVA Valora are developed, increasing its features with each successive iteration.

To achieve this delivery of value in such and quick and ongoing manner, scrum teams work in very short – one to four week – execution cycles, dubbed sprints, which seek a very clear goal.

The first step to achieve this goal – or project milestone – is the planning meeting, a session involving the entire scrum team and marks the start of the sprint. This meeting is divided into two parts that try to answer two essential questions: What is going to be delivered? and How is the work going to be done?

To solve these issues, the different members of the team take on the responsibilities defined by the scrum methodology according to the role that each of them undertake:

-Scrum Master: The Scrum Master focuses on how the multifunctional team will work. He/she is responsible for ensuring that the scrum values and practices of are observed. He/she helps team members so that they work in an autonomous and self-organized manner. He/she also deals with getting rid of problems and obstacles that may compromise the sprint’s goal.

-Product Owner: He/she always keeps his/her eyes on the customer, and what the team will develop. He/she is responsible for ensuring that the product’s value increases with each sprint. In addition, this is the person in charge of defining a clear goal in agreement with the remained of the team.

-Development team: It is the group of professionals who do the necessary work to materialize the product’s value increase. The team self-organizes to carry out the work and its members work full time on the project.

During the sprint

Once the sprint has begun, each member of the team undertakes his/her role, ensuring that the following conditions are always met:

1. No changes are made that would endanger the Sprint Goal.

2. Quality standards do not decrease.

3. The ‘Product Owner’ and the development team work together adjusting the detail of the planned functionalities for the sprint.

4. In addition to building the product, the team works together as a whole to redefine the project.

The Product Owner and the team members clarify and negotiate with each other as more is learned.

It is important to emphasize that the maximum recommended duration of a sprint is one month, since, as time passes, the definition of what is being built it is more likely to change or the complexity of the product to increase. Consequently, the risk of not delivering something different than what the client was expecting also increases.

Spring review

At the end of each sprint, the work carried out is inspected and reviewed, and the ‘Product Owner’ (or even the client) shares ‘feedback’ to the team. During this session, the product owner decides whether the developed functionality or deliverable is accepted as valid. The meeting must meet a series of conditions:

1. Attendees include the Scrum Team and key stakeholders

2. The Product Owner explains what has been “Done” and what has not been “Done”`, based on what was initially agreed.

3. Problems are detected, and attendees analyze how they were resolved.

4. The entire team collaborates to decide what to do next.

Agile methodologies seek to continuously improve the way in which a team interacts during the development process. In scrum, there is another specifically defined session to achieve this: the retrospective. This is an opportunity for the team to share their insights and recommendations on the way they have worked during the sprint that just concluded, with the aim of identifying the lessons learned.

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