Give the dev team a week

Fitting Scrum Sprints into a Year

Sprints in Scrum are often two weeks, its a nice period. Working in a business, we all know that executives like to set goals and measure performance per quarter. During roadmap or project planning, you might get asked how many sprints have we completed in a quarter?

This obviously depends on if the sprint starts exactly at the start of a quarter or half way through it. You might find that some sprints have 12 weeks, which fits nicely for 6 sprints, but what about the quarters that have 13 weeks?

Give the Team a Week

I think you should plan 6 sprints for each quarter, then for weeks that have 13 weeks you could give a week to the development team.

For every quarter that has 13 weeks allow the development team to take week and work on things that are important to them.

These can be things like:

  • Technical projects
  • Improving code coverage
  • Reducing technical coverage

Allow them to work on things that would be otherwise difficult to prioritise.

There are some fringe benefits to this that you might not realise. The main one is team morale. You are giving a full week for the development team to not focus on business requirements, and expertise their skills on projects or tasks that could benefit them. These technical projects often have a lot of unknown business value, as they can improve technical architecture, reduce technical debt and maintain the foundations of the product, or even improve them.

Planning in six week cycles can also help to plan long term. After each six week block you can set milestones in a project, think about the big picture and what is important to achieve in that quarter.

Because this week would not be planned it means that you can potentially use it as a buffer if work over runs.

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