What should be the success criteria of a Scrum team?

What should be the success criteria of a Scrum team? Is achieving the sprint goal sufficient or one should also take into account the total story points completed ? Perhaps it should be a mixture of those? Should we also keep on eye on the velocity? Apparently, this is somehow a blurry area of Sprint Framework, isn’t it?

As far as I understand, the Scrum guide didn’t specify this precisely. Here below I’m quoting the related section :

The Product Owner discusses the objective that the Sprint should achieve and the Product Backlog items that, if completed in the Sprint, would achieve the Sprint Goal. The entire Scrum Team collaborates on understanding the work of the Sprint.

Let me share my own point of view regarding the condition that defines the success or failure of the Sprint:

At the Sprint Planning event, the product owner should make sure that the Sprint goal is crystal clear for the development team. Ideally Sprint Goal should be a consolidation of interconnected items in an incremental manner that could allow the team to focus and collaborate effectively. 

At the Sprint review meeting, the Scrum team and stakeholders try to validate if the Sprint goal has been achieved. In addition to that, we are also checking the percentage of the Story Points completed and the change in the original Sprint Scope. Among the 3 metrics ( Sprint Goal, percentage of completed Story Points and change on the scope) achieving the Sprint .Goal is the most important one. Typically if we agree upon the accomplishment of  the Sprint Goal together with stakeholders, as the team we conclude that it was a successful Sprint even if we may fail to complete the targeted SPs. As a team we are actively focused on downsizing and consolidation of Backlog items so that the complete scope could be expressed as a single easy-to-understand Sprint Goal.

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Does a Scrum team meet more than enough?

One of the most common discussions regarding the Scrum Framework is if there are too many meetings within a Sprint ? Is this allowing enough time for the development team to work towards the Sprint Goal ?  Typically, there are 4 Scrum events defined at the Scrum Guide :

  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Scrum
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective ( We call this simply as Retro :))

Let’s figure out the total number of hours spent on 4 events along the Sprint. We are running 2 weeks long Sprints and the scheduled events are taking 2 hours, 15 minutes/day, 1 hour and 2 hours respectively. Hence, the number of  hours spent during the event is 7,5 hours within a Sprint. Considering each work day as 8 hours, this refers to almost 10% of the total Sprint time. Depending on the characteristics of the team, this ratio may go up to 15%.

As you would agree spending 10% of the Sprint time for the Scrum events is feasible. In return, the team makes the wise planning driven by the priorities, come together everyday to get fully aligned, share and demonstrate Sprint results with the stakeholders and finally have the opportunity for self-inspection and identify improvement points. If none of these meeting had exist during the Sprint, the team would still need to organize meetings to discuss all the details and probably would spent much more time. In essence, running Scrum events in such a structed way is serving well to the productivity goal of the team among others.

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