The Rules of Scrum: The Intention of Every Sprint is “Potentially Shippable” Software

The phrase “potentially shippable” has a very simple meaning: the features built in a Sprint and all the related activities are done to such a degree that ONLY business considerations are involved in the decision to ship or to not ship at the end of the Sprint.  Every Sprint should start with the intention of getting a small set of features to this ideal state.  Of course, teams make mistakes and have obstacles to doing their work to this level of doneness.  The intention to make potentially shippable software is designed to help teams see and expose obstacles to actually shipping.  These can be technical obstacles, dependencies, or bureaucratic obstacles.  Failing to have this intention removes this beneficial pressure from the team.  This lack of pressure can in turn lead to acceptance of “the way things are” and a team that never reaches a high-performance state.

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