I'd like to clear up a bit of confusion about the relationship between releases and Sprints in Scrum. When I first came upon Scrum many years ago, I mistakenly thought that the opportunity to release the product coincided with the end of a Sprint — a simple mistake based on my misunderstanding of the rule stating that the Scrum Team delivers a potentially releasable Increment of "Done" product at the end of each Sprint.
My initial interpretation of this rule was that the Product Owner would typically call for a release after a series of Sprints, each of which produced a potentially shippable increment of the product, as represented by the Planning Snowman in the attached drawing. My thinking went that what we today call a minimal viable product, or MVP, would only be realized after some number of Sprints. In other words a release cycle would go something like Sprint, Sprint, Sprint... Release. In the years since, I have frequently seen this same interpretation among the teams that I coach and the students in my workshops.
I was jolted out of my misinterpretation within the first week as Product Owner on my very first Scrum Team. As it happened, a customer, on seeing a rudimentary version of the product during the first Sprint, insisted upon using it. I was aghast.…Read More