Scrum Basics: When Should We Schedule Sprint Transitions?

We’re often asked which day or days are best for scheduling the Sprint Planning, Review, and Retrospective meetings.

In general, we prefer mid-week sprint transitions. People are most likely to take Monday or Friday off, so it’s easier to get the whole team reliably on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Having a couple days to get started with the work for a new sprint and to build some momentum is nice, so I like planning on Wednesdays.

For a one week sprint, it’s possible to do Review, Retrospective, and Planning all on Wednesday morning. Or, you can do the Review and Retrospective in the morning, take a break to reenergize and to build the feedback from the previous meetings into your Product Backlog, and then plan in the early afternoon.

For a two or three week sprint, Review and Retrospective on Tuesday afternoon and Planning on Wednesday morning works well. With longer sprints, the meetings take proportionally longer; I find it useful to break them up across multiple days to maintain energy.

As with anything else in Scrum, you can make this an experiment. Make a hypothesis about what you expect to happen, try something for a while, and adapt if you’re not getting the results you like.

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Richard Lawrence

Is co-owner of Agile For All. He trains and coaches people to collaborate more effectively with other people to solve complex, meaningful problems. He draws on a diverse background in software development, engineering, anthropology, and political science. Richard is a Scrum Alliance Certified Enterprise Coach and Certified Scrum Trainer, as well as a certified trainer of the accelerated learning method, Training from the Back of the Room. His book, Behavior-Driven Development with Cucumber, was published by Addison-Wesley in 2019 (for more information, visit bddwithcucumber.com).

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