Saturday, September 04, 2021

Agile Asanas: Scrum Sprint Inputs and Outputs 2021 (Sprint I/O)(1)

The Scrum Guide has changed and it has come with a number of new concepts such as Product Goal, Lean Thinking, Commitment based Artifacts, among others. With the new Scrum Guide, you can also see changes to the various events of Scrum. 

[ This post is part of the Agile Asanas series. 

To read all posts in Agile Asanas series, use this link. ]

For the earlier edition of Sprint IOs, you can refer the below link: 

PMI-ACP Prep: Agile Scrum - Sprint I/O (Inputs and Outputs)

It's one of the most visited posts, however the content is outdated with many new additions in the latest Scrum Framework. Now, let's move to the latest Scrum Framework, 2021!


At the heart of Scrum is Sprint, which as per the Scrum Guide 2020 also sets the heartbeat of Scrum.  The rhythm for this heartbeat is set by cadence, which is built by five events in Scrum. Cadence is developed when you have regular Scrum Planning meetings, Sprint retrospectives, Daily Scrums, Sprint reviews and you keep on delivering usable versions of the (product) increment. 

You can learn more on Cadence with the following linked article:

The Rhythmic Dance of Agile with Cadence

Key here is delivering a working product of highest value to the customer – one of the cornerstones of Agile manifesto, i.e., Working Software or Product. As cadence is important, so are the ceremonies (or events) of Scrum, as they build the cadence.

Hence, it is important to know the events of Sprint and what are the inputs and outputs (I/O) of those events. In this article, I’ve not taken various tools such as task board, online spreadsheet, electronic tools such as MS Project Agile. I’ve also not taken various estimation techniques such as planning poker, T-shirt size estimation. They tend to vary a lot from team to team. 

In total, there are 5 events in Scrum, as noted in the below table.

Figuratively, you can think of Sprint, the container event having these 4 container events. As a Sprint is concluded, an Increment is usually available.  

In some cases, it’s mentioned to be 4 events, which are contained with the Sprint event. These events, along with purposes, duration (timebox), timeline and participants will be the focus on this article. 
It’s also pertinent to note the 3 artifacts in Scrum, along with the associated commitments, which are represented in the below table.

There are also 3 formal roles in Scrum and all part of a single team–the Scrum Team. 

There are 4 events (or ceremonies) in Scrum. Note that these are all contained events.
  1. Sprint Planning
  2. Daily Scrum
  3. Sprint Review
  4. Sprint Retrospective
Now, for each event the inputs and outputs are as follows. 

Event – 1: Sprint Planning

When? Happens after the Sprint review of the previous sprint, but before the first Daily Scrum of the current Sprint.

Who? The participants are: Product Owner, Developers and the Scrum Master
Others, e.g., subject matter experts or domain specialists can be invited into this meeting.

How Long? Timeboxed to a maximum of 8 hours for one-month Sprint. Length will be less for shorter Sprints, e.g., 4 hours for 2 weeks Sprint.

What For? Sprint planning, as the name tells, plans for the work and forecasts the functionality to be developed during the Sprint.

  • Refined Product Backlog: Product backlog, before presented in the Scrum planning, has to be refined (also referred as backlog refinement) by the Product Owner. Refining means having fine grained items ordered on top of the Product Backlog with ID, description, estimation, and value.  
  • Product Goal: A long-term, single objective for the Scrum Team, which informs the future state of the product. The product goal is developed by the product owner and is communicated to the team. The Product Goal is part of the Product Backlog.
  • Projected/Estimated Team Capacity: It is a simple calculation considering the length of the team, number of developers (and sometimes availability of the team members)
  • Projected Velocity: It is the past performance of the team. It is kind of yesterday’s weather. It may or may not be available, e.g., for the 1st Sprint, it won’t be available.
  • Definition of Ready: I'm taking this term from Scrum Guide. Ready means the story that can be done by the Scrum Team in one Sprint are pulled from the Product Backlog to Sprint Backlog.
  • Key Stakeholders: Subject matter experts or domain specialists can be invited into this meeting among others (as needed).

  • Updated Product Backlog: As the items are pulled into the Sprint backlog, there will be discussion on the product backlog items. Some of the product backlog items are likely to be updated.
  • Sprint Goal: The single objective of the current Sprint. Should be in terms of business value to be delivered. The Sprint Goal is part of the Sprint Backlog.
  • Sprint Backlog: It has the forecasted product backlog items that will be delivered in the Sprint. It also has the plan for delivering the work items, in decomposed form, so as to have the product increment.
  • Sprint Review Date: This is the demo date. Sprint gives the usable version of the product. On the demo date, the product increment is demonstrated. 
  • Estimated Velocity: After the development team takes up the product items that can be done in this Sprint, the estimated velocity is known.
  • Development Activities: The product backlog items are broken down (or decomposed) into development tasks or activities by team members. They can take help from technical specialists or SMEs who are invited to the meeting. 
  • Definition of Done (DoD): A checklist of items with quality criteria. When the product backlog item selected into the Sprint Backlog meets the DoD, it is considered to be complete. The Scrum Guide 2020 puts it quite well and says:
    "When a backlog item meets the DoD, an Increment is born."

For Part 2 of Sprint IOs, use the below link.


[1] Online Course: PMI-ACP Live Lessons – Guaranteed Pass, by Satya Narayan Dash

[2] Online Course: PMI-ACP 21 Online Contact Hours, by Satya Narayan Dash

[3] Book: I Want To Be An ACP, the Plain and Simple Way to be a PMI-ACP, 2nd Edition, by Satya Narayan Dash

[4] A Deeper Look: Top Changes in the New 2020 Scrum Guide for Agile Practitioners, published by MPUG, US

[5] The 2020 Scrum Guide, by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland

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