What is it about waterfall we want to avoid ? It's mostly the transition moments ! A lot of information is simply lost when you transfer it from one person to another. Another thing we want to avoid is to create a strict order in things because this leads to limiting flexibility. Still, Sprint Zero, is a commonly used practice, and it implies to happen before anything else right ? So how to do a Sprint 0 in a smart way ? Use these principles :
- A length of more than 1 week for Sprint Zero is way too long
- Spending half of Sprint Zero on training and teambuilding is only nearly enough
- To do more than strictly needed to start the first sprint is too much
- The outcome of Sprint Zero is a jump start for Sprint One.
- The first day to have a day of training about Agile and Scrum. It's important that this training is followed by the entire Team and that the trainer has some attention for the team-building side of this training day. Team Rulezzz and Definition of Done should be part of the Training day.
- The second day to examine the backlog. My assumption is that the ProductOwner has already prepared the backlog and that the Team only needs to validate the quality of the backlog. However, even if this is not the case, the Team and the ProductOwner should be able to create enough backlog for the first Sprint. The ProductOwner has the vision / ideas, the Team feels the need to make things specific and therefor asks the right questions. Spending more than one day on the creation of the product backlog would be a waste of time for the Team. This is the job of the ProductOwner and should not be of any concern to the Team. Since we're talking about the ideal Sprint Zero, the quality of the backlog that high, that half a day will be enough to determine that the user stories are good enough to poker and commit upon. This way, the second half of this day can be used to poker the highest prioritized changes.
- The third day is needed to end Sprint Zero. In other words, this third day should make sure Sprint 1 can be started the next day. If Team Rulezzz or Definition of Done is not addressed in the Training, it should be addressed now. If planning for Sprint 1 has not yet been done, it should be done now. Make sure there is time left to build the Team. Get to know each other. There are some nice exercises to trigger some interesting discussions and still focus on the Agility of the Team. ( Upcoming blog ).