Is It Butter Or Is It Margarine? The Original Sprint.

  • Oct 14, 19
  • Lynn Ruthrauff

I can't believe it's not butter! There's nothing wrong with margarine—it's just not butter. If you are cooking or watching your health, there are pros and cons to both. The point is to understand the differences in order to evaluate the two alternatives to meet your needs.

It’s the same situation with Sprints and artificial Sprints. If you are developing software, there are pros and cons to both.

There’s nothing wrong with a new definition of a Sprint. Understanding the difference between the original Sprint the Agile founders conceived and an artificial Sprint will increase success as you move forward with project work.

What is the True Definition of a Sprint?

The 12th principle of Agile is to “promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.”

  1. “2 Week Sprint” The original Sprint was not intended to just define a duration of time.
  2. “We are planning 6 features for this 2 Week Sprint. The original Sprint was not intended to be just a list of work planned for a duration of time. “6 features for the 3rd 2 Week Sprint.”

The original Sprint is a measure of the amount of completed work that a team can sustainably complete within a specific time frame. It’s a combination of 1 & 2 above. Here’s an example of the real thing:

“History proves, as a team, we are able to complete 6 features within a two week period of time.” If we complete only 3 features in 2 weeks, the entire plan is realigned to 3 features every 2 weeks. UNTIL….. The 8th Agile principle is realized! “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” If the team can sustainably complete 6 features in 2 weeks, then realign the plan, but not before.

If Sprint features just keep piling up in a later Sprint and the end date doesn’t change for the selected features, the “artificial Sprint” risk is confusion and burnout. To be successful, understand the pros and cons of Sprint substitutes. And just like that buttery pound cake, the original Sprint methodology is amazing! 

Still not sure if it’s butter or margarine, let us help!