The Rules of Scrum: There are no Breaks Between Sprints

Each Sprint that a Scrum Team does is an opportunity for learning through “inspect and adapt”.  If there is a break or a pause between Sprints, the Scrum Team may forget what it has learned or fail to apply that learning in a timely manner in the next Sprint.  Of course, many Scrum Teams end a Sprint before a weekend and start their next Sprint at the beginning of the next week.  This non-working break is normal and acceptable.  However, a break between Sprints during which some or all Scrum Team Members do other work is not acceptable.

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7 thoughts on “The Rules of Scrum: There are no Breaks Between Sprints”

  1. I have it disagree on this one! After doing scrum for a couple of years, we found that the teams are getting more and more effective, everybody gets better, more involved, more passionate. What happened is that people started to feel tired and burn after sprint end, always delivering wht they had signed up to in good quality. To give the “sprinters that have just crossed the finish line” some time to catch their breath, we formalized 2 days of “slack time” after each sprint where everybody can work on anything and refuel the batteries. There is a minimal 30 minute rough planning for the slack time and results/effort is accounted for on the wiki.

    1. If your solution works for you then great! It’s always good to hear about alternatives. That said, I wonder why you wouldn’t try leaving the slack inside the Sprint itself?

  2. This sounds like horrible advice to me. I have found that there should absolutely be grey space between iterations / sprints. There’s no reason for activities like iteration planning, retrospectives, etc. to take up iteration-time. My experience is that everything works better when time between iterations is reserved for those things.

    And as far as that goes, if you like the “sprint” terminology more than “iteration” then the answer is baked right into the metaphor itself. No one can Sprint -> Sprint -> Sprint -> Sprint -> … indefinitely, or they would collapse from exhaustion. And while metaphors are imperfect, it’s actually pretty close in this case. Team members need time to disengage, clear their heads, reset, and get ready for the next iteration/sprint.

  3. This can only work if things like your planning, and grooming are also time boxed into your sprint – which I found quite difficult to actually do since those activities often require a lot of analysis.

    A day or two for your ceremonies like retros and planning outside of the sprint means that you as a team dedicate your time to those activities completely and give them the attention that they deserve!

    1. I agree that those activities need focus and proper time. The idea of a “Sprint” is that it encapsulates all the activities necessary to deliver product increments. Taking breaks between Sprints to do stuff just means that the proportion of time spent within the Sprint probably needs adjustment. For example, retrospectives are given a great allocation of time within a Sprint: 3 hours for a 1-month long Sprint. Taking more time for these ceremonies is often a matter of quickly diminishing returns. That said, if what you are doing is working for you, please continue doing it! (It just might not be “Scrum”).

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