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What is an antipattern? – An idea which seems good but has more negatives than positives. Click here to read the definition of Anti-Pattern.

Why do people feel that Hardening Sprint seems a good idea?

Scrum Teams are under constant pressure to deliver features. The stakeholders and Product Owners often push the Developers for going to production as soon as possible. 

In these situations, the developers often postpone a lot of work to be done later. Examples include – documentation, code cleanup, defect fixing, commenting of code, hard-coding, bypassing checks etc.

Then the Scrum team introduces a “Hardening Sprint” after 4-5 Sprints to take care of all these pending activities. Therefore introducing Hardening Sprints is generally considered a good idea by a lot of teams.

hardening sprint antipattern

Negative consequences of Hardening Sprint

User of Hardening Sprint introduces following problems

  • Pending work increases. Many times the Hardening Sprint does not get taken and the work just keeps accumulating
  • It becomes more and more difficult to tidy up the mess
  • Teams end up forgetting things later on
  • Increase in the possibility of the defects since things get fixed later

What could be done instead of Hardening Sprint

  • Follow the agile principle of “Simplicity” – the art of maximizing the work not done. That is, don’t push more features. Try to complete a lesser number of features with all things done.
  • Slow down – focus on quality rather than speed
  • Make the Definition of Done more stringent
  • Focus on engineering practices such as Automations, CI/CD, Automations, TDD
  • Say NO to a hardening sprint. Do not keep pending activities.