My Personal Agile: End Of Sprint

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr)

The sprint is done. The Retrospective is done. So now what?

You start over again.  Your sprint ended but another one begins right after.  You apply what you learned and move forward.  Agile is about moving forward; its a vehicle not a destination.

Here’s what I do in my Personal Agile when a sprint ends:

  • Look at the Incubator. Add or subtract things as you need.  Re-order them to fit the priorities you have – which probably changed.  I actually do this during the Sprint now, having gotten better at incorporating my lessons.
  • With the Incubator re-ordered, I then look at the Backlog and see what I should add to it from the Incubator, subtract (and maybe even move back to the Incubator), or re-prioritize.  I may also see ways to break down the work in there as well.  Much like the Incubator, in time I’ve come to modify it during the Sprint as I learn.
  • I put any undone work back into the Backlog, and rerank it. A surprising amount of time you’ll find undone work isn’t the highest priority. Sometimes you even decide not to do it and just drop it.
  • I review the Regular Tasks list to see if I need to change it. In time you’ll probably not need to do it because you’ll change it during the sprint and in the Retrospective.
  • I plan a new Sprint – Copying the Regular Tasks and then adding as much of the Backlog as I can do for a month.
  • I start the sprint.

That’s it. It’s back to the beginning. You’re done and you restart.

Now a few bits of advice:

  • A lot of the review at the start and end of sprint will eventually work into your regular work. You’ll just get ideas or discover re-prioritizing you need to do as you go.  It’s possible you will need less retrospective and planning time – but don’t change those times until you seriously review them.
  • You’ll get better at review and planning over time. It’s a real skillset you can develop – that may be useful in life in general.
  • Don’t try to get review and planning perfect. Agile is about adaptability, you do your best and keep getting better.
  • Don’t overload yourself. Its very very easy to do that, especially on the second or third sprint when you really get going.

So there you go, my personal Agile. I hope that’s going to help you out.  I’m going to try to bundle this advice up into a free ebook at some point.

– Steve