One of the questions we frequently hear in the organizations and teams we work with is “Should we perform the Sprint Review activity?” The shortest answer to this question is: “Don’t do it if you don’t like!”
Let’s elaborate on this question with an example. Imagine a Scrum Team that releases at least 4 or 5 times per Sprint. Therefore, the team thinks that the Sprint Review activity they perform at the end of the Sprint loses its meaning. They even say that they receive feedback directly from the field and ask you, “Can we not do the Sprint Review?”
We asked this question to our Agile Coaches and we wanted to share different opinions with you.
Sprint Review is an Observation and Adaptation activity. If this team can perform Observation and Adaptation through release, they may not perform Sprint Review. However, Sprint Review feedback also provides input for the Sprint Retrospective. If they can do this without the Sprint Review, in other words, if they can feed the Sprint Retrospective through feedback from the field, then they may not perform the Review.
When the Sprint Review activity is not performed, you are not doing Scrum. However, I think it is more important that teams create their own way of working. This is also an indicator of the maturity of the teams. If you are a team that can already address the need for Sprint Review, you may not need to perform the Sprint Review activity.
When we look at the way Amazon works, we see that it makes 23,000 releases every day. It doesn’t even get feedback from the field, and the automated methods (robots) used for this work make the decision of “rollback” or “rollforward” according to the results of the release. Therefore, they don’t even need people. In this case, is it okay to not perform a Sprint Review? I don’t think that’s right. You can get feedback from the field, you can also make multiple releases within a Sprint, but I think there will always be a need for a point where you can see the effect of this situation and apply Empiricism and say, “This is our current situation, what will be our next step?” Also, if this activity is not performed, the feedback cycle may be damaged. What do we do when stakeholder and team feedback conflict? We have to bring this group together in the same environment.
Feedback from the field may not always be guiding. When we consider customers and stakeholders separately, there can be many perspectives other than feedback from the field. So, field feedback is not the only parameter. Therefore, an activity that will combine all the parameters together will be needed. This activity is the Sprint Review activity.
In the end, you may not perform the Sprint Review activity if you think it is appropriate. However, the impact of this decision should be well evaluated. Feedback from the field may not always have the effect you want. So, you may need Sprint Review activity at any time.