Sprint Retrospectives vs. Sprint Reviews vs. Sprint Demos: When to Use Which?

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Jun 10, 2021
Updated on
Nov 14, 2021
Table of Content

It all just sounds the same, doesn’t it? 

Whether that sentence rings more true as to the actual content of your latest sprint retrospective or sprint review, or even if these three events seem interchangeable to you, then we totally get where you're coming from. 

We’ll also go out on a limb and say that if these are interchangeable to you, we’re pretty certain you’re not getting the most out of each. 

Let’s get the ball rolling, and sort out the sprint retros, from the reviews, and from the demos. 

Retros, Reviews and Demos: Which is Which? 

It's super easy to get confused between each of these types of sprint events if you’re not really using them correctly. The truth is, each of these has a crucial part to play in the way your sprint is run, prepared for, and improved. 

Sprint Retrospectives

A sprint retrospective is (as it sounds) looking at the way in which the sprint was run: the logistics, the process, what went well, what didn’t, and why. 

It’s there to keep the processes smooth, flowing, and to make the next sprint run even better. 

Sprint Reviews

A sprint review discusses the team and stakeholder actions that occurred during the sprint that just took place. 

With both of these sprint events, there needs to be an air of openness, honesty and transparency. They're more of a way to improve the next sprint in a philosophical, theoretical way. 

With sprint demos, the ‘theory’ is put into ‘practice’. 

Sprint Demos 

This is where things get interesting, and all of the preparation and talking from the above two sprint events get put to the test! 

A sprint demo, as the name suggests, is a place where you showcase the lessons learned from the last sprint. Usually, all stakeholders are present. All sprint goals and outcomes are set and checked to see if they have been achieved. 

While the 'sprint demo’ and ‘sprint review’ have become a bit interchangeable, in actuality, a sprint demo isn't a sprint review. The demo is more of a demonstration, while a review is more of a dialogue between all stakeholders. 

Here’s a quick and easy way to remember the differences: 

  • A sprint review is a discussion about the people and product 
  • A sprint retrospective is a discussion about the sprint itself: the logistics and steps taken 
  • A sprint demo is putting into practice all of the understandings and conclusions from the above two processes. 

Get your Sprints off to the Best Start (and End) with GoRetro 

Of course, you can both anticipate and then eliminate any and every sprint issue by making sure you're doing things right, right from the off. 

And, even can get the best out of your sprint retros, reviews, and demos by using our 100% free tool: GoRetro. 

Forever free, GoRetro is the agile retrospective tool you won't be able to do without. It’s everything you need to run a fun, effective and seamless sprint, each and every time. 

Trusted by the likes of Sonos, Adobe, Crunchbase, and more, GoRetro will change your reviews, retrospectives, and demos for the best. 

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