What is an Agile Sprint?
An Agile Sprint is a time-boxed period during which a cross-functional team of individuals, typically consisting of innovators, developers, testers, designers, corporate explorers, and other relevant roles, work collaboratively to complete a set of predefined tasks. They typically have a fixed duration ranging from 1-4 weeks. They have a specific goal or objective that is defined by the team and is focused on creating value.
Technically, every sprint is made of 4 steps: planning, execution, review, and retrospective:
- Planning: Team and key stakeholders determine the sprint goal. They figure out how much work can be completed and how work will get done.
- Execution: Teams execute the work defined in the planning stage. They often hold daily stand-up meetings to discuss what they have accomplished, what they are working on and any help needed.
- Review: Progress reports showcase the team’s work to sponsors, stakeholders and other teams. They receive feedback and build support for their ideas.
- Retrospective: At the end of the cycle, the team exchanges ideas about what went right and what went wrong and how to improve their team performance in the next cycle.
What is the purpose of Agile Sprints?
The purpose of an Agile Sprint is to facilitate incremental and iterative learning, enabling teams to deliver small but valuable increments of work in a regular cadence.
What problems can be solved using Agile Sprints?
There are five types of problems that are best solved using Agile Sprints:
- Complex Problems: Problems with several variables and intricacies
- Cross-organizational Problems: Problems that require collaboration across units
- Solve Quickly Problems: Problems which require fast resolution
- Test and Learn Problems: Problems with high uncertainty
- Problems that Require Outside In Point of View: Problems that benefit from deeper customer insight
What are the benefits of using Agile Sprints?
There are several benefits of using Agile Sprints. They help Corporate Explorers break solutions into manageable pieces. Time constraints create a sense of urgency and momentum. Sprints enable Corporate Explorers to make progress transparent by providing regular feedback loops that ensure organizational learning. They provide regular opportunities to decide to pursue, pivot, or kill initiatives, and recognize and celebrate successes. By engaging a broader cross-functional team, more of the organization is included in the change process.
What are the different types of Sprints?
There are four different types of Sprints. Business Design and ecosystem/go-to-market sprints are most often used by innovators. Leaders of transformation and change programs often use Agile Sprints to drive organizational change or performance improvement.
- Business Design Innovation
- Map ecosystem participants, relationships, and your location within it
- Create your value proposition and strategy to bring a product or service to market
- Organizational Change
- Identify key stakeholders and engage those most affected and most influential
- Empower stakeholders to become change participants and monitor perceptions of the initiative
- Embed new behaviors and culture
- Performance Improvement
- Identify performance gaps and perform root cause analyses
- Define successful outcomes and create action plans to achieve the improvement