Sprints are invariant durations of time. The longest sprint duration that Scrum allows is 4 weeks. To be honest, I feel that a 4 week sprint is far too long before providing feedback to the Product Owner. The shortest Sprint duration is 1 week. Most teams have a Sprint duration that’s either 2 weeks or 3 weeks long. I personally prefer a 2 week sprint because I feel it’s a nice balance between providing regular feedback to the Product Owner, and is still long enough for the team to actually deliver some increment of potentially shippable product. Everything in Scrum happens within the duration of a Sprint, and we the repeat the Scrum framework Sprint-over-sprint-over-sprint.
Sprint durations are decided at the start of a project, and once decide the sprint duration remains unchanged. For example, we don’t do a 3 week sprint followed by a 1 week sprint. If we’re working with a 3 week sprint, then its always 3 weeks long.
In a similar fashion, we never extend the sprint by a few days, nor do we shorten the sprint by a few days. So, here are two question for you to consider. If the team finishes all their work two days before the end of a sprint, what should they do? If the team requires just two more days to complete their work, what should they do?
If a sprint cycle falls on a public holiday, what do you do? Do you shorten the Sprint? Or, do you lengthen the sprint?
By having sprints with mid-week schedule, we avoid this unnecessary complication. Personally I like to start sprints on a Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 pm. On Wednesday afternoon at 1 pm I would meet with the team and the product owner and we would collectively sit down and do sprint planning meeting part one.
This takes two hours for a two weeks sprint. Once complete, the team will continue with sprint planning meeting part two, this will also take two hours and we will finish at 5:00 PM on a Wednesday afternoon. For the next two weeks the team will work towards their agreed goals, and every single day they will have a daily scrum.
Two weeks later on Wednesday at 8 AM, the team returns to undertake a sprint review with the product owner. In the sprint review the team presents the results to their efforts to the product owner. Once the sprint review is completed the team will then do a retrospective. This timeline typically allows the team to finish up at 12 noon, an appropriate time to break for lunch.
By organizing the schedule in this manner sprint cycles can be lined up back-to-back, separated by one hour for lunch.