michael-dam-mEZ3PoFGs_k-unsplash.jpg
blocshop
March 09, 2021
0 min read

Sprint Reviews and Sprint Retrospectives: What’s the difference?

Sprint Reviews and Sprint Retrospectives: What’s the difference?.png

When all the hard work of the current sprint is completed, it’s time to wrap up and prepare for the next one. Two processes that are beneficial to the team’s productivity and skill development are sprint reviews and sprint retrospectives. At first glance, these two official Scrum ceremonies look similar, but they're actually quite different.

What is a sprint review?

Sprint reviews take place after the sprint goal has been met, and before the next sprint planning session. The goal of each sprint is usually a functional increment, or deliverable. People who should attend these meetings are the stakeholders, Scrum Master and team, and the product owner. These meetings shouldn’t be any more than 4 hours, to keep them from being tedious. 2 to 3 hours should be enough to cover all the relevant topics.

Sprint Review Structure

  • Demonstration Stage

During this portion of the meeting, the developers or the product owner will present all the tasks the team completed during the sprint. Only increments that are ready to be released or implemented into the overall product are presented.

  • Stakeholders Discussion

The stakeholders, after seeing all the finished increments, are free to ask questions or provide feedback about the progress so far. During the discussion stage, there are three objectives to focus on.

  • Progress analysis - The Scrum team explains what exactly they did during the sprint, as well as any unfinished tasks. If applicable, they also explain the reasons for any unfinished work.

  • Market presentation - It’s the stakeholders’ turn to present now. The Scrum team explains the technical side of things, whereas the stakeholders explain the current market landscape and customer insights.

  • Motivation - This stage serves to motivate the Scrum team with positive facts and market projections so that they'll start the next sprint with enthusiasm!

  • Backlog Update

Once the stakeholders discussion is over, it’s time to update the backlog. This step is crucial because it provides structure and organization to the remaining increments that are to be completed. The product owner and Scrum Master add or remove user stories, and reprioritize the backlog items before choosing what the team will work on in the next sprint. The team uses different backlog prioritization techniques to achieve that. Read more on this process in the "Epic, Story, and Tasks in Agile" article.

What is a sprint retrospective?

As a part of the sprint cycle, sprint retrospective meeting also takes place between sprints, but it always comes after the sprint review. Those who should be at the meeting include the Scrum master, product owner, and the Scrum team. Thankfully, the retrospective meetings are shorter, usually lasting between 30 minutes and 3 hours. The purpose of a retrospective is quite different from a review. Rather than focusing on details of the project, this Scrum ceremony is to examine the team’s work styles and what areas they can improve in.

Sprint retrospective topics

There are three open-ended, existential questions that make up a sprint retrospective. Each team member must provide feedback for every question, if they can. This way, everyone has input and feels encouraged to share their thoughts. The questions are quite simple.

  • What went well?

  • What didn’t go so well?

  • What can we do to improve?

It’s easy to get answers to these questions and move on; the real challenge that many teams face is actually using the insights to make change. To make these meetings worthwhile, they must also make an action list. An action list is basically a list of the issues, and the things people can do to move towards solving them. Though this process is helpful for many, some choose to opt out entirely.

The problem with retrospectives

While retrospective meetings can be helpful to many teams, others choose to have them less often, or not at all. There are a few commonly reported reasons for this.

  • Tension or arguing - Sometimes people don’t respond to criticism well, or people fall into playing the blame game. Obviously, this is unpleasant for all parties, and could harm the team’s relationship rather than help it.

  • Takes too long - People may feel that having an hours long meeting takes too much time away from their other work.

  • Too repetitive, lacking ideas - The structure of the meeting might be tedious for some, who ran out of ideas on how to improve long ago.

  • Feeling unheard - If the team leaders or other members fail to use the ideas suggested in the last meeting, and nothing changes, people find that frustrating and demotivating.

To sum up, every team is different. The Scrum master knows their team best, and will make the best decision based on their needs.

Key Differences

As you can see, on the surface reviews and retrospectives sound similar, but they’re completely different. Here’s a summary of the biggest differences between the two.

  • Purpose

Perhaps the most crucial difference between these two Scrum ceremonies is their main objective. A sprint review is to share insights and progress about the project, whereas a retrospective probes the team itself and how they work.

  • Attendees

At a retrospective meeting, the Scrum team, Master, and product owner are present. In contrast, all those parties and the stakeholders, plus anyone else who may be needed, are present at a review session.

  • Length and frequency

The duration of sprint retrospectives depends largely on the team itself, and can last between 30 minutes and 3 hours, and some teams never have them. Reviews are usually between 2 and 4 hours, and should never be skipped.

  • End results

Just like the purpose of each ceremony is different, so too is the end result. The result of sprint review is more knowledge about the project and current market trends, a vision for the next sprint, and an organized backlog. The results of a retrospective should have an action list, and more insight into how team members work together and as individuals.

Blocshop provides custom-made software to businesses across the globe using certified Agile practitioners. If you or your company are interested in learning more about what Blocshop can do for you, have a look at our customer testimonials.


Learn more from our insights

Top 15 micro-SaaS ideas for your startup in 2023.png
December 06, 2021

Top 15 micro-SaaS ideas for your startup in 2022

What exactly do we mean by micro SaaS? Micro Saas solutions use a web browser or mobile app interface. Micro SaaS solutions usually come about through the effort of an individual or very small team. It aims to solve precise problems. Micro SaaS projects have small budgets and overhead. Customers use Micro SaaS solutions on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. Micro SaaS projects target a small niche of the consumer market.

Software engineer hourly rates in 2021 (based on experience and location).png
November 22, 2021

Software engineer hourly rates in 2021 (based on experience and location)

Region influences salary more than any other factor. Taxes rates, cost of living, and government benefit programs affect the rates software developers charge. Software developers in the USA  and Canada earn more than software developers in other countries.

The best programming languages for app development in 2022.png
November 15, 2021

The best programming languages for app development in 2022

Software developers usually have three main ways to create an app. They can choose to code a native app, a hybrid app or a progressive web app. Developers create native apps to function on one specific platform, usually either iOS or Android. They create these apps using Swift or Objective C for iOS. For Android they use C++, Kotlin or several other languages. 

Cross-platform mobile app development: Tools & frameworks for 2022.png
November 09, 2021

Cross-platform mobile app development: Tools & frameworks for 2022

The cross-platform development project aims to create apps compatible with several operating systems. Cross-platform apps work on iOS, Android, and Windows. Cross-platform apps look and feel like apps developed specifically for the operating system.

App development cost breakdown in 2022.png
November 08, 2021

App development cost breakdown in 2022

Your business needs an app, but you aren’t sure about the cost of creating an app. Without some figures, you can’t even begin to estimate the potential budget, so let’s get you sorted with the information you need to make your app a reality.

unnamed.png
November 04, 2021

Web app development: a detailed guide

The best web apps give a responsive and engaging user experience through a browser instead of a single application. Think of web app development as a super-charged website. Web apps have many features of mobile apps coded for iOS or Android without the need to code for specific platforms. Developers create web apps using HTML, javascript, Python and CSS.

15 useful web app development tools for 2021.png
October 29, 2021

15 useful web app development tools for 2022

Web development vs app development: Choose the best for your business.png
October 19, 2021

Web development vs app development: Choose the best for your business

Outsource web development in 2021 and beyond: benefits & tips.png
October 15, 2021

Outsource web development in 2021 and beyond: benefits & tips

8 IT outsourcing trends in 2022.png
October 11, 2021

8 IT outsourcing trends in 2022

More and more firms choose to outsource their IT operations and functions. IT outsourcing grows each year. The Gartner report announced that firms spent $3.8 billion dollars on IT outsourcing in 2019. They expect that the trend will continue. Companies aiming for digital transformation need partners and tools. They need tools that they cannot build in-house with speed and accuracy. 

In-house development vs outsourcing software development.png
October 01, 2021

In-house development vs outsourcing software development

Every business starting software development must ask themselves what will serve them better, in-house or outsourcing? There is not a simple answer to the question. Making the choice to develop in-house or to outsource will have long-term consequences.

16 Software development project ideas.png
September 17, 2021

16 Software development project ideas

Every startup needs a great idea. Something unique and compelling. Startup businesses succeed when they find a customer need that they can fulfill. Startup businesses and independent software developers constantly search for just such needs.

Software development budget estimation.png
September 16, 2021

Software development budget estimation

An unlimited budget would make many teams very happy. But that approach has pitfalls. If the team works without much oversight or customer input, they may waste money. They might create features that the customers won’t use.

What are the differences between Agile and Waterfall?.png
September 07, 2021

What are the differences between Agile and Waterfall?

These days, most software development teams choose Agile methodology to organize their work. The Agile vs. Waterfall debate still rages, though. Many people question whether Agile works better than Waterfall in all circumstances. Does Agile deliver great ROI? Does Agile help teams work faster? Let’s take a close look at both Agile and Waterfall. We will examine the merits and drawbacks of each approach.

unnamed.png
September 06, 2021

Converting Story Points to Hours: Why Doesn't It Work?

In traditional software development, teams would describe the amount of work they had in hours. But Agile software development teams have a better way. Agile teams use Story Points to estimate the work they have ahead of them. Let’s take a closer look at Story Points and hours, and examine the benefits of Story Points.

Scrum vs. Extreme Programming (XP): What's the difference?.png
September 02, 2021

Scrum vs. Extreme Programming (XP): What's the difference?

We've covered the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and the Agile development framework. Now it's time to look at different methodologies and approaches to their implementation. There are several, but we'll focus in this article on just two of them, Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP). We'll look at the differences between them and how they can even be used together for even better results.

The Scrum Sprint cycle explained.png
September 01, 2021

The Scrum Sprint cycle explained

Agile Scrum teams break down large development projects into small bursts of activity, called Sprints. A Sprint in Agile is a short, time-boxed period where a software development team completes work. They choose which items and fixes they will tackle in Sprint Planning Meetings. The Sprint cycle sits at the very center of Agile methodology. 

Use Cases vs. User Stories: relationships and differences.png
August 12, 2021

Use Cases vs. User Stories: relationships and differences

Product Backlog prioritization techniques & tips.png
July 27, 2021

Product Backlog prioritization techniques & tips

Software development project management guide.jpeg
July 26, 2021

Software development project management guide