In Scrum, a Sprint is a period of time of 1 month or less within which a Scrum Team creates value. A new Sprint begins immediately after the previous Sprint ends.
So when we first start to use Scrum we need to decide which day to start our first Sprint, and there will be implications to our decision. Here are some possibilities and their implications.
As soon as you are ready to start your first Sprint, just start. Don’t worry about the day. See what the implications are once a few Sprints have been completed.
Start on the first day of the working week
In the UK, USA and Europe this is Monday. In other places it is Sunday.
The start of a working week is a natural time to plan, so the Sprint Planning event feels natural here. It also means that the Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective can occur at the end of the working week bringing the Sprint & working week to a conclusion together. The Scrum Team can then disconnect from work for the weekend. However, there are a few potential downsides to this approach:
- The first and last day of the working week are common days for non-working public holidays. We will need to move the Scrum events as a result and this may be problematic.
- The first and last day of the working week are popular options for people to take days off to lengthen the weekend. People may be regularly absent for the important Scrum events.
- Many people struggle to focus and concentrate on the first day back after the weekend and/or just before a weekend arrives. People may be present in body rather than spirit and the important Scrum events may suffer as a result.
- Some organisations may see the weekend that follows as free work time and “encourage” the Scrum Team to keep working if the stakeholders aren’t happy at the Sprint Review. This rarely ends well.
Start a day or more into the working week
This way you avoid the problems associated with starting on the first day of your working week. The downside can be that it feels a little strange as you are breaking away from the logical link with the working week.
Start the same day as other teams building the same product
If your Scrum Team is working on the same product as others it may reduce complexity to start and end the Sprints on the same day so the Scrum events can happen together.
The good news is that it is OK not to know the correct answer to this question (What Day Of The Week Should We Start The Sprint?). As with all decisions in Scrum, whatever choice you make can be changed as the Scrum Team learn more about what works best for them. They can run an experiment to see if there is an advantage to be had in changing the start day. If they see an advantage of changing the day then they can make the change permanent.
At TheScrumMaster.co.uk we work in 1-week Sprints that start on a Monday. Synchronising with the working week works best for us.
Many of my clients opt to start a day or more into the working week and start the same day as other Scrum Teams building the same product. This is considered the “good practice” by many Scrum experts. But just because it is good does not mean it is always right. Use your own judgement and discover what works best for your Scrum Team.
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