What is Sprint Zero in Agile?

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Feb 27, 2023
Updated on
Apr 30, 2023
Table of Content

Sprint Zero is an important concept in Agile development, and it's one that can be a bit mysterious to those who are just learning about the framework. 

Sprint Zero is all about laying the groundwork for a successful Agile project by focusing on planning and preparation rather than immediately jumping into the development phase. This blog post will explain what sprints are, and what Sprint Zero is, why it's important, and how to use it effectively. 

In short, Sprint Zero sets up your project for success before you even begin coding, so understanding this concept is key for any successful Agile team! Read on for more information about Sprint Zero and how to make it work for your projects. 

What Is a Sprint in Agile?

A Sprint in Agile is a set period of time, usually two to four weeks long, during which specific work is completed and made ready for review. This process supports the fast-paced and iterative development that is characteristic of Agile methodology. 

During each Sprint, teams work on a subset of user stories that have been identified as priorities. At the end of each Sprint, the team reviews their progress with stakeholders and then begins planning for the next Sprint. 

What Is Sprint Zero in Agile?

Sprint Zero in Agile is a development Sprint in the form of Scrum spikes that typically bypasses the traditional process that teams use for other Sprints. 

It is an important step in any project lifecycle as it helps to set up the environment, initiate team collaboration, define the functional requirements and identify risks associated with the project. Sprint Zero encompasses various activities such as creating a backlog of user stories or tasks, establishing coding standards, defining unit test strategies and performing integration tests. 

This Sprint type also determines what resources are needed for successful completion of future Sprints. However, one should bear in mind that this is not considered a ‘real’ Sprint and should not be used for delivering the product. Its primary purpose is to prepare the environment and ensure delivery teams are ready to start their work as soon as possible. 

Why Do Teams Use a Sprint Zero?

Sprint zero is widely used by many Agile teams to get the project off to a successful start. It helps improve team collaboration, software development process, and project planning. This practice involves the development team coming together before a project kicks off to discuss the business requirements, technical specifications, and deliverables while also setting up their work environment. 

  • It can help identify any risks or issues early on in the process and create a plan of action for addressing them quickly. 
  • It helps ensure that all stakeholders are clear about their expectations from the project as well as what is expected of them by providing an opportunity to discuss any assumptions with one another. 
  • It helps optimize resource utilization, reduce costs and minimize time-to-market while delivering high quality products. 
  • Defining the project scope and objectives: Sprint Zero provides a platform to clearly define the goals and objectives of the project.
  • Planning and preparing the infrastructure: Sprint Zero provides time to plan and set up the necessary technical infrastructure and tools required for the project.
  • Building the right team: Sprint Zero provides an opportunity to assemble the right team with the necessary skills and experience to deliver the project.
  • Improving the efficiency of subsequent sprints: Sprint Zero helps identify potential roadblocks and risks, allowing teams to proactively address these before they become issues during the sprints.

Overall, Sprint Zero helps teams to get off to a good start, avoid miscommunication, and increase the chances of delivering the project successfully and on time.

Sprint Zero Checklist

Before you start Sprint Zero there are some things you need to make sure you have:

Team Checklist

This is a list of items that the team should review and confirm before starting Sprint Zero.

Availability of Team

Ensuring that all crucial team members are available and ready to participate. This includes the Scrum Master, who is responsible for facilitating the process and ensuring that the team follows Scrum methodology. 

The Product Owner, who represents the stakeholders and provides direction and priorities for the project, should also be present. The Scrum team, who will be responsible for delivering the Sprint, must also be available. 

Does the Team Know Their Respective Roles?

It's important that every team member is clear on their role and responsibilities within the Sprint. This will help ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same goal.

Does the Team Know How to Work With Scrum?

Scrum is a framework that is commonly used in Agile software development. It's important that the team is familiar with the Scrum methodology and knows how to work within the framework.

Understanding of Cross-functional

Sprint Zero requires cross-functional teamwork, meaning that different team members bring different skills and expertise to the table. Ensure that everyone on the team understands this concept and is ready to work together effectively.

Understanding of Self-organizing

The Scrum team should be self-organizing, meaning that they should be able to manage their own tasks and responsibilities. Ensure that everyone on the team understands this concept and is prepared to take ownership of their work.

Tech Checklist:

1) First and foremost, the team must be on the same page when it comes to software architecture. The software architecture determines the system's high-level structure and is a vital component of project success. 

If the team is not on the same page on this, it might lead to problems and delays down the road. In such a case, involving the VP of software architecture is a smart idea to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

2) Second, it is critical to have well-defined coding rules. Coding conventions are rules for developing code that is consistent and readable. Clear coding conventions can aid in ensuring that code is maintainable, reusable, and scalable. 

In the long run, this will save time and effort, making it easier for the team to comprehend and work with the code.

3) The team should also be able to run unit tests. Unit testing is an important part of software development since it ensures that individual system components perform as planned. 

It aids in the detection of issues early in the development process, making it easier to remedy them before they become more complicated.

4) Fourth, an automated test coverage mechanism should be in place such as a code coverage tool. This tool should be able to send pass/fail notifications so that the team can quickly and simply determine whether the code is operating properly. 

Furthermore, having an automated tool in place helps guarantee that the team is testing all of the necessary components and identifies areas that require additional testing. Slack, which can provide real-time updates on test results, is one viable way to receive these notifications.

5) Finally, ensure that the team understands how to deploy and that the Product Owner understands how to test. The process of making software available to end users is known as deployment, and it is vital that the team be conversant with it. 

Simultaneously, the Product Owner is in charge of testing the program to ensure that it satisfies the needs of the end customers. If the team and the Product Owner are unfamiliar with these processes, it might cause delays and complications later on.

Physical Checklist:

A physical checklist can assist you in ensuring that your environment is properly set up and ready for Sprint Zero. This can help you avoid unnecessary delays and ensure that the team can get started right away.

Scrum Board

The Scrum board is an important tool in Agile development, and it must be properly set up and ready to use. You can use a physical board or a digital one, but in either case, make sure everyone understands how to use it. 

The physical board is an excellent way to visually track the progress of your tasks, while the digital board allows you to collaborate with your team in real time.

Work Stations

Work stations are an important part of the environment as well. Before beginning Sprint Zero, ensure that the seating arrangement has been agreed upon and that everyone is at ease in their work stations. This can help to increase productivity and reduce distractions during the Sprint.


The servers are an essential part of the development process, and it is critical that they function properly. You should determine whether you need to install additional servers or modify existing ones to meet the needs of your team. This ensures that you have the resources you need to complete your tasks efficiently and effectively.


Locations for meetings are also important considerations. It is critical that everyone knows where the meetings take place so that they can arrive on time. This will keep the team informed and on track, allowing everyone to contribute effectively to the project.

Online Workspace

Finally, it is critical to consider creating an online workspace. This can be a terrific tool to collaborate with your team, but it's critical that everyone understands how to utilize it. Make sure everyone has access to the tools they require to fulfill their tasks. 

Setting up an online workspace might be a time-consuming process, but it is well worth it in the end because it can boost productivity and ensure that everyone can contribute successfully to the project.

Process Checklist:

  • The first thing on this checklist should be to ensure that the team has done its estimation using Planning Poker

This is an important step since it ensures that everyone is on the same page about the complexity and magnitude of each work. 

By involving everyone in the estimation process, you can limit the likelihood of misunderstandings and guarantee that everyone is on the same page with the project goals.

  • Another critical component is ensuring that the Sprint agenda is agreed upon. This includes determining the Sprint goal, Sprint backlog, and Sprint timeline. 

This stage is crucial because it ensures that everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goal. It also reduces the likelihood of delays and setbacks and keeps the project on pace.


Sprint Zero is an important aspect of Agile methodology as it sets the foundation for the rest of the project. It helps teams align on the project vision and goals, and ensures everyone is on the same page. 

With GoRetro, teams can take their Sprint Zero to the next level. The platform provides a collaborative and organized space for teams to document their findings, share ideas, and plan the next steps. 

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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