Today, a reader of my newsletter asked me,
What is the purpose of Sprint Zero?
A colleague of mine argued that during Sprint Zero, the team implements the most important features from the product backlog with the object of determining the team’s velocity. I disagreed, because we have the velocity from previous sprints/projects. So could you help me to understand clearly what is Sprint 0 about and when and why do we need it? I really appreciate your helps and articles. Thank you!
Sprint Zero is often used to mean ‘getting ready for the first sprint.’ Some Scrum coaches don’t like the term because every sprint should produce an increment of value for the customer or user. A sprint 0 which creates say, artifacts like a design document or development environment, violates this rule, because such artifacts have no value for the customer or user.
Still there are some things you need to have ready before you can do your first sprint planning:
By the end of Sprint Planning 1 (first half of the sprint planning meeting), you will need to have defined:
All of these are legitimate things to address during “Sprint Zero” or the time leading up to the first sprint planning.
What does not come into ‘sprint zero’? Creating the development environment, test environment, high level design or other artifacts, and any development or testing. Actual work related to the project (as opposed to getting ready to do Scrum) gets prioritized in the Product Backlog, then is agreed upon during the Sprint Planning 1, and must produce some increment of customer value.
I wrote previous about my experience with a Sprint Zero. I hope the above and the blog entry are helpful!