Most people feel that every Sprint MUST make an Increment which HAS to be sent to production and given to the end-users for using. This is actually not true. Sometimes, it is not possible to produce Incremental “production-ready” outcome every Sprint
What really is the outcome of the Sprint?
Scrum defines the “OUTCOME” of the Sprint as an Increment which is “USABLE”. Usability is associated with getting feedback and not necessarily “Go-Live”
- Sometimes, in a short sprint it may not be possible to create an “Go-Live-Ready” product. However, every Sprint must result in a deliverable where feedback can be received. The feedback may happen from internal stakeholders and not necessarily the end-users
- Sprint should be considered separate from “Release”. While “Release” is not a Scrum term, most teams use the word “Release” to describe “Go-Live-Ready” outcome. Generally, it is observed that multiple Sprint outcomes can be combined together to create a “Release”. However, this is also not a necessary condition. Sometimes, teams may create multiple “Go-Lives” within the Sprint itself. It is important to understand that feedback is necessary every Sprint so that we know as a Scrum Team that we are going to achieve the Product Goal (Long term Goal). The intent of Sprint should be to optimize the probability of achieving the long-term objective and the feedback received should be used to optimize this probability. Now, the feedback may come from internal stakeholders or end-users. Important part is that feedback should come every Sprint.
- While this article says that it is not necessary to create a “Go-Live-Ready” outcome every Sprint, that does not mean that we create “Documentation” as output. We CANNOT be doing a “Requirements Sprint” which creates a “Requirement Document” as an output. We CANNOT be doing a “Coding Sprint” to create a “Code” as output. If we create outputs such as Documents then what we end up doing is “Outputs” (which are of no value) instead of “Outcomes”. “Outputs” do not necessarily result in “Outcomes” which are of business value or feedback-able value. “Outputs” do not necessarily result in feedback where we can check progress towards the Product Goal.
Sprint creates an Incremental outcome which is called Increment. The Increment should get the Scrum Team feedback, which will optimize the probability of meeting the Product Goal. The Incremental outcome may be a “Go-Live-Ready” outcome many times within a Sprint or sometimes over multiple Sprints. The Increment should never be an output which is not a valuable outcome.