Can burnout happen when doing Scrum sprints continuously?

GoRetro Team
August 22, 2022
Posted on
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It’s relatively normal for projects to go on for long periods of time, which can cause complaints from team members.

The key to managing back-to-back Sprints is to find your team's sustainable pace. If you’re finding that your team is sustaining a good pace whilst staying productive, that's excellent - you've achieved the hyperproductivity that all Scrum teams strive for.

Alternatively, if you're finding that you overestimate how much work you can actually get done in a day you should use your agile retrospective as a place to reevaluate your work speed. The amount of productive time in a day that a team takes into account when doing their capacity planning for a sprint is referred to as a focus factor.

Henrik Kniberg has this to say:

“The ‘default’ focus factor I use for new teams is usually 70%, since that is where most of our other teams have ended up over time.”

However, what it sounds like you're talking about is simply the nonstop momentum of sprint after sprint, not necessarily your productivity in a day.
Here's some suggestions of things we have tried to deal with that:

  • Try ending the sprint on a Friday morning. Have your sprint review and retrospective in the morning and let the team work on something else the rest of the day to clear their heads. Pick up with Sprint planning on Monday.
  • We introduced the notion of "lab days". These are entire days that the team is taken away from the project and they spend the day working on improving their own technical skills through research with each other and collaboration on specific technical topics. Most of the time they have absolutely nothing to do with the specific project and allow team members to think about lighter topics.

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