There’s a misunderstanding I’ve noticed in quite a few Scrum projects. Teams use Scrum and at the end of their sprint they do what they call a “sprint demo”. It works out like this:

  • They demonstrate their increment of the product to the product owner
  • Product owner seats passively
  • Product owner accepts or rejects the increment
  • No modification is done to the product backlog
  • After a while the product owner is unhappy with the current state of the product and the progress being made

There is nothing like a sprint demo in Scrum. But there is a sprint review.

Scrum is empirical, meaning that there are inspect and adapt points along the way. The sprint review is the inspect and adapt point where the product increment, the most current product backlog and the current conditions are for inspection. The adaptation is the modified product backlog.

During the Sprint Review, the Scrum Team and the stakeholders collaborate about what was just done during the sprint and what are the things that could be done during the next sprints. The presentation of the product increment is not the goal. It is used to understand what should be the next sprint goal. The sprint review provides input to the next sprint planning meetings. One of the possible consequences of this evaluation is the decision to not proceed further with the development of the product. Another possible consequence is the decision to release the existing product.

Consider your next sprint review. If you get out of the meeting without a modification to your product backlog and an insight to your next sprint goal, it’s probably because you’re not inspecting and adapting. You might be suffering from the “sprint demo” syndrome.