A sprint in Scrum is a fixed period of time (typically 2-4 weeks) during which the team is developing functionality. Each sprint starts with a planning meeting where the Product owner presents their Product backlog for discussion. The team then decides how much of the requested functionality they will be implementing in this sprint. They also decide how to break work down into specific actions that need to be taken. During the sprint, the team holds Daily Scrums to ensure synchronization.
At the end of the sprint, a Review is done with the product owner to achieve a common understanding of what has been achieved and whether the set goals were reached. It is followed by a Retrospective during which the team determines action items to improve their work and prevent experienced problems from reoccurring in the future.
The duration of a sprint should normally remain fixed so that the team maintains a natural rhythm of work. When considering the duration of a sprint the following constraints should be considered:
- During the sprint priorities cannot be changed and new requests cannot be phased in, so it should not exceed the maximum acceptable lead time for starting work on new priorities
- Product backlog items cannot be worked on across multiple sprints, they must fit into one sprint
- Where tasks lack clear milestone goals, a long sprint may lose energy towards its end
- The time lost to sprint meetings occupies a larger share with short sprints