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Topics: Agile, Scrum
Do scrum sprints have to be in weeks?



Most sprints are between 2 and 4 weeks in length, and sometimes even one sprint per month. But can sprint length also be in days that don't fit neatly into weeks, for example, a 12 day sprint? Are there advantages/disadvantages to using custom days instead of weeks?
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To my knowledge Agile does not force you for weeks. What is advocates is ensure it is consistent over the sprints. It may be possible that your organization, development approach, environment may help you to execute 12 days sprint. If it is making performance to optimum, why not?

Just see if you can keep it below 30 days.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Jan 04, 2018 4:21 PM
Sante Vergini
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That's is true Yashodhan, I am wondering however why I have never seen even one sprint that isn't a certain number of days divisble by a week.



Jan 04, 2018 7:54 AM
Replying to Sante Vergini
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Granted Andrew, but why is say a 12 day sprint harder for the team to follow than a 2 week sprint?
Same reason for having the standup in the same place at the same time - allow the team to focus on the work. At least for me, it is easier to remember 2 weeks from start, then doing the math with an arbitrary number of days.

I understand the question is for the sake of discussion, however, the objective is simplicity. But, by all means, set the time-box at 12, 9, 4, 13 days. As long as it fulfills the need, and can remain consistent throughout.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Jan 04, 2018 4:39 PM
Sante Vergini
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Agreed Andrew, it does reduce complexity.



Jan 04, 2018 8:00 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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Sante -

The specific duration of a sprint can be whatever makes the most sense for a team balancing the sense of urgency with a customer's appetite for value delivery. Week-based durations are convenient as the start and end days remain the same, but there's no harm with having a different duration so long as it remains fixed.

There is also the option to do away with sprints entirely and move to a continuous flow model - Modern Agile, Disciplined Agile and Scrumban all endorse that...

Kiron
Thanks Kiron, iteration length is interesting, so far I have never seen a sprint that isn't divisible by a week (other than a one month sprint), in other words I haven't seen one that is a certain number of days not divisible by a week, ie. 12 day sprints. The concept of "start and end days remain the same" should not matter in Agile, which is why I am examining this topic.
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1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Jan 04, 2018 4:27 PM
Kiron Bondale
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I've worked with teams using a one day sprint length - of course, they don't do daily retrospectives and sprint planning merges with daily stand-ups, but break-fix teams often operate on a daily release model...

Kiron



Jan 04, 2018 8:23 AM
Replying to Yashodhan Kholgade
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To my knowledge Agile does not force you for weeks. What is advocates is ensure it is consistent over the sprints. It may be possible that your organization, development approach, environment may help you to execute 12 days sprint. If it is making performance to optimum, why not?

Just see if you can keep it below 30 days.
That's is true Yashodhan, I am wondering however why I have never seen even one sprint that isn't a certain number of days divisble by a week.



Jan 04, 2018 4:39 AM
Replying to Peter Ambrosy
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The sprint is the time-boxed container for Sprint Planning, Development Work, Sprint Review and Sprint Retro. The Scrum Team decides about the best-fitting Sprint length based on their experience, skills and what they can digest. So yes, if the team get to the conclusion is 12 days, they should go for it. Important is to keep this decision for some time. So, you do not change the sprint length after each retro. You only change after you experienced over a while of a couple of sprints a certain pattern, that gives the team good reasons to change the sprint lenght. According to Scrum Guide max. Sprint Timebox is 1 month as longer durations increase risk and possibly loosing focus.
Thanks Peter, yes teams decide their iteration length. Have you ever seen a sprint that isn't say 2, 3, 4 weeks or even one full month? So one that is an "unusual" number of days, such as 12?
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1 reply by Peter Ambrosy
Jan 05, 2018 9:08 AM
Peter Ambrosy
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Yes Sante, I have seen 2 and 4 weeks sprints. In SAP projects it is very common to be in sprints between 2-4 weeks. Have also a check on SAPActivate. The important points are:
(1) The scrum team decides the sprint lenght on good reasons, nobody else
(2) The sprint lenght should be constant but you can change, bit not frequently and not on a single occasion (there must be a common observed pattern behind the decision to change).
(3) You do not have to deliver all PBI in such sprint. You are committed to strive for it. It is a serious forecast, not a commitment.



Jan 04, 2018 8:17 AM
Replying to Najam Mumtaz
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A Sprint is time boxed, from one to four weeks, with a preference toward shorter intervals. Shorter interval is to help reveal problems/impediments faster. Sprint length can be chosen to any length depending on the complexity and size of user stories though I personally prefer two weeks sprints for most of my projects.
And yes a continuous flow model can also be adapted (I haven't worked with it yet)
2 weeks seems to be the popular choice Najam.



Jan 04, 2018 4:18 PM
Replying to Sante Vergini
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Thanks Kiron, iteration length is interesting, so far I have never seen a sprint that isn't divisible by a week (other than a one month sprint), in other words I haven't seen one that is a certain number of days not divisible by a week, ie. 12 day sprints. The concept of "start and end days remain the same" should not matter in Agile, which is why I am examining this topic.
I've worked with teams using a one day sprint length - of course, they don't do daily retrospectives and sprint planning merges with daily stand-ups, but break-fix teams often operate on a daily release model...

Kiron
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Jan 04, 2018 4:44 PM
Sante Vergini
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It's probably not Scrum in the strict sense?



Jan 04, 2018 4:29 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
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While 2-4 weeks is the common denominator if you read or work with the most recognized methods you will find there is not a general agreement. While it depends on the environment and context, here are some advice nysef and othersI contributed to create, while I do not agree with some of the points in the final result: http://www.agileadvice.com/2014/06/12/howt...-sprint-length/
Thanks for your feedback Sergio. I had a look at the list. Just curious, which ones you didn't agree with in that list? For example, I don't agree with 15 and 17 on that list.
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1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Jan 04, 2018 4:50 PM
Sergio Luis Conte
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All you do into a process or method that belongs to estimation field (Sprints belongs to them) is composed by two principal components: time and information. That is because there is not a "receipt" you can use. The list is, in my personal opinion, the best checklist somebody (the author) has compiled from a lot of sites and papers created by people that is using in the practice. But sprints do not belong to Scrum only. Because it is an estimation you have to follow the same rules than into estimations.



Jan 04, 2018 9:51 AM
Replying to Andrew Craig
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Same reason for having the standup in the same place at the same time - allow the team to focus on the work. At least for me, it is easier to remember 2 weeks from start, then doing the math with an arbitrary number of days.

I understand the question is for the sake of discussion, however, the objective is simplicity. But, by all means, set the time-box at 12, 9, 4, 13 days. As long as it fulfills the need, and can remain consistent throughout.
Agreed Andrew, it does reduce complexity.



Jan 04, 2018 4:27 PM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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I've worked with teams using a one day sprint length - of course, they don't do daily retrospectives and sprint planning merges with daily stand-ups, but break-fix teams often operate on a daily release model...

Kiron
It's probably not Scrum in the strict sense?
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1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Jan 05, 2018 7:47 AM
Kiron Bondale
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Correct - the Scrum methodology requires sprints, but agile doesn't :-)

Kiron
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