A Rule of Thumb: Do You Need A Sprint Zero?

There is a lot of debate about sprint "0". What is it and do you need it? Let's review it quickly in my series of Agile Helpline "Rules of Thumb".

How sprint "0" it is defined by many people?
  • Groom your  product backlog to make it usable to plan and estimate
  • Create a minimal environment that enables the writing of quality code
  • Clean up technical debt carried from the previous releases
  • (middle-management trick) Buy-in some time before team is really ready to work on the next release

RULE OF THUMB: Sprint "0" signifies "0" value, hence, you don't really need it to deliver value as per Agile concepts. Sprint "0" may be a necessary investment to get your team ready to deliver value. However, sprint "0" should not be a norm rather it should be an exception. As an example, driving lessons (sprint "0") are necessary investment to be a driver but you don't need to take lessons every time you buy a new car.

I am very sure that you were tempted to use sprint "0"  (or something similar) at some point of time.  Will you make it a norm or just use this an exception to get to a healthy trend? Also, don't forget to check more Rules of Thumb here.

Mr. Agile is explaining Sprint "0" to Amy in the latest discussion in his office.


References
  • What is sprint zero? [article]
  • Agile Rules of Thumb [rules

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