Sprint 0

Sprint 0 will save you time from repeating the same mistakes. This is because it can help ensure you get the foundations done right from the beginning so you can navigate your way to success in the future.

Sprint 0 is there to cover activities such as product backlog creation, infrastructure set-up, architectural planning, resourcing the team, and test plan composition. Along with prototyping, design planning, and test validation.

An example of Sprint 0 considerations might include:

    • How do you know what technologies you are going to use?

    • How are you going to structure a product and the team around it?

This is where sprint 0 comes into its own.

Sprint 0 enables you to consider the technical aspects such as: planning the testing, creating a sandbox, building the testing and production environments, and other hosting requirements.

The following items are unique to Sprint 0 and are designed to set you and your team up for success!

Product backlog items

    • As a team, ensure you prepare and prioritize a list of product backlog items. Some call this program planning or pre-planning.

    • Using Sprint 0 as a time-boxed sprint to consider this action adds a useful way to keep stakeholders and sponsors informed and up-to-date before the heavy lifting happens.

Define a list of all the applicable non-functional requirements

    • This will include aspects like performance, security, accessibility, scalability, as-built documentation, architectural considerations, environmental setup etc.

Define roles and responsibilities

    • Assemble any additional team members and define roles.

Forecast expected velocity

    • The throughput based on the selected team. This will help with project planning and mitigate risk through the process.

Plan a project roadmap

    • Based on backlog priorities and velocity.

Set up of tools

    • This will include product backlog software, information radiators, and any other reporting and progress tracking tools agreed upon and required by your team and stakeholders.

Prepare infrastructure and development environments

    • Agree on technical architecture.

    • Write As-built documentation.

    • Prepare/build infrastructure.

Design requirements plan and agreement

    • Prepare initial low-fi prototypes and design frameworks.

    • Designers can use Sprint 0 to better understand the product and its constraints.

Agree on vision

    • Finalize final vision.

    • Create architectural visions and find out how it will be built.

Create a release plan, and ensure it connects with road map and sprints

    • Feature release or scheduled release? Get it confirmed.

    • Always load risk into a release plan. Ensure you fail fast!

How to Conduct a Sprint Zero Effectively

To conduct a Sprint Zero effectively you have to go in with the understanding that a successful Sprint Zero means you’re ready to start Sprint One.

“Ready” is a vague term and in this context, readiness does not refer to the availability of operation resources being in place (although hopefully this aspect is already taken care of). Readiness means that an environment exists in which development can occur.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts for conducting an effective Sprint Zero:

    • Don’t take longer than a week.

    • Do keep it lightweight and avoid big design principles.

    • Don’t do more than is expressly needed for the first sprint to have a successful kickoff.

    • Do work together as a team and emphasize a culture of team building.