Do you have Engaging Sprint Reviews?

By: David Hawks | Jun 11, 2014 |  Article,  Scrum

This is the fourth post in our Scrum Assessment Series.

Often we’ll attend a Sprint Review where the team is present and ready to demonstrate the work they completed during the Sprint, but there are no stakeholders or customers present to see the demo! Or maybe stakeholders are physically present but busy checking their phones or disengaged in some other way. Or perhaps the demo during the Sprint Review is the first time the Product Owner is seeing the final result of the team’s Sprint work.

None of these scenarios are ideal! The primary goal of the Sprint Review is to show off the work completed in the Sprint to engaged stakeholders who are giving their feedback on the work.

You can use the following questions to assess how effective your Sprint Reviews are:

The Basics

  • Was the whole team in attendance including ScrumMaster and Product Owner?
  • Were stakeholders present?
  • Did the team drive the demo?
  • Is the team prepared, but not over-prepared? (They shouldn’t spend more than an hour preparing for the Review for a two-week sprint.)


  • Was the focus on demonstrating the working software, project, product, etc?
  • Were the stakeholders engaged?
  • Were new items added to the backlog as a result of the stakeholder’s participation?
  • Is the team accepting feedback without being defensive about it?
  • Does the Review feel like a celebration of the work completed?
  • Did Product Owner sign-off occur before the Sprint Review?
  • Is it short enough to keep the stakeholders engaged, but long enough to be valuable?
  • Does it happen every Sprint?
  • Are only completed stories being reviewed?
  • Are the team members keeping their presentation to a business level? i.e. Not getting into the technical weeds?


  • Are stakeholders interacting with the demo?
  • Were metrics like the sprint burndown or progress on the release burnup shared?
  • Were any other teams represented?
  • Did the Product Owner discuss the scope and priorities for the next sprint?
  • Was progress on the overall project or release discussed?
  • Are stakeholders excited about coming?
  • Is management present and encouraging the team to keep learning and improving? Are they asking how they can help?

Here are some ideas you can implement to help improve your Sprint Review:

  • Make sure to talk with your stakeholders to customize the Sprint Review to their needs. Is it at a time that works for them?
  • Make it a fun event. Encourage clapping after each story. Bring cookies or beer and make it a celebration.
  • Consider taking the demo to stakeholders if you can’t get them to come to you. Go to their part of the office.
  • If you have a team room, do the Sprint Review in that room. Have team members pair up with stakeholders to walk them through features.
  • We typically have a rule that only features that have been signed off by the Product Owner can be presented at the Sprint Review. Meaning it has to be “Done Done“. No partially completed work. This encourages teams to finish on time.
  • Make sure with new teams no one is getting too caught up in metrics or feeling negative about missed stories. Make sure the focus is on continuous improvement and encourage the team to share what it is learning and what it is improving. Management should find out what they can do to help remove impediments for the team.
  • Consider conducting your Retrospectives before the Sprint Review so the team can share their learnings and action plan.
  • If the team is interested in having a more technical discussion about the implementation with each other or other technical stakeholders, consider breaking the session into two. One part for the business review and the other for the technical review.

View other posts in our Scrum Assessment Series.

Fine-tune your Agile skills and become a Certified ScrumMaster or Certified Scrum Product Owner.

What items have you implemented that improved your Sprint Reviews? 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

< Back