Defining Sprint Durations and Story Sizing

Gaurav is a consultant in Ghaziabad, U.P., India.

It’s daunting to define sprint durations and size stories when a scrum team is new and requirements are evolving. On top of that, it requires more mentoring when the agile practices and mechanics are in the nascent stages and you need to align all of the stakeholders to a common goal.

Keep in mind that at the end of the sprint, the team must be able to deliver value through working, demonstrable and shippable pieces of code. Sprint durations can vary from one week to one month depending upon the complexity of the stories, and require a high-level effort estimate to complete.

When defining a sprint duration, go back to the product backlog. Look at the total stories created and the approximate project duration. At the same time, have a release roadmap in place to help show you which features need to be delivered at a given point in time.

Features are then mapped with the stories in the product backlog. The release plan has to ideally marry with the sprint plan so that the delivery cadence and timeline are maintained. The sprint duration is fixed throughout the iterations based on the effort estimates of stories in hours or days.

As a trial method, a sprint duration is hypothetically set at two weeks—as one week looks aggressive and three weeks seems elongated. The amount of risk also increases as we go beyond the two-week duration. If the duration looks …


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