Confessions of a Sprint 0
Carly Richmond

How do we start sprinting effectively? For those of us practicing Scrum, there is great focus on the cycle of sprinting and continuous improvement. How the journey progresses regarding deliverable increments and continuous improvement is an experience many of us share. However, how we start a new team delivering quality software every iteration is something that is less well known. As is how to reset a team when faced with significant changes to their dynamic. Sprint 0 is a term unfamiliar to many, including myself when I started this journey. Yet it is a useful construct to help prepare the blocks for teams looking to start sprinting effectively. Here I share the lessons learned on my journey going through my first sprint 0.

I’ll explain how you can use this technique to establish new, or reset existing teams, and what elements it should include to help team members eject themselves from the starting blocks of sprint 1 and race to the finish line.

Learning Objectives
Carly will present successes and lessons learned during her sprint 0 journey as a set of confessionals to help others learn more about how to participate and run an effective sprint 0. The audience will take away several learning outcomes.

1. An overview of the definition of Sprint 0, their use in agile transformations and the relationship and differences between other sprint types such as delivery and design sprints.
2. Providing possible reasons for wishing to hold and participate in a Sprint 0, comparing those against the speaker’s initial assumptions that Sprint 0 was meant for new teams only.
3. Advice on what elements are relevant to include within a Sprint 0, based on the speaker's experiences. These include:
* Team norms, or working agreement.
* Definitions of ready and done.
* Ceremony calendar.
* Product roadmap and backlog generation.
* Planning of the first couple sprint, including story estimation, breakdown and commitment.
* Agreement of tooling we wished to use in our daily work for story capture, work management and general communication.
* Knowledge sharing sessions on business and practice topics.
* Team bonding exercises to build trust.
4. Tips for running Sprint 0 sessions remotely, and the challenges of juggling existing team commitments and schedules complicated by distributed teams and remote working during the pandemic.
Learning Level
Session Type
Experience Report
Process, Scrum@Scale, Scrum Master, Scrum patterns, Sprint0, XR