What Is the Scrum Sprint Cycle?

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Feb 6, 2023
Updated on
Mar 26, 2023
Table of Content

The Scrum Sprint Cycle is one of the main components of the Scrum methodology, providing structure to the project delivery process. For this reason, if you are implementing Scrum into your workflow, you should have a comprehensive knowledge of it.

In this article, we will discuss what a Sprint Cycle is, what it consists of, and how long it should last in order to ensure your Agile teams are working as smoothly and productively as possible to reach your milestones on time.

What Is the Sprint Cycle?

The Agile Sprint Cycle is a popular project management methodology that comprises stages that are repeated in short bursts called Sprints. This allows teams to develop, deploy, and iterate on their product with frequent feedback from stakeholders.

Sprint Cycles and the Scrum framework were first introduced by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland at an Agile conference in 2001 and have since become one of the most widely used approaches to project management.

In essence, Sprint Cycles aim to break the product backlog into smaller, more manageable chunks that can be completed within a set amount of time.

By utilizing time boxing, regular retrospectives, and defined roles within the team, the Scrum method gives teams an efficient way to complete tasks while adapting quickly to changing requirements or goals. 

What Events Are Included in the Sprint Cycle?

Serving as the backbone of Agile project management, the Sprint Cycle provides an efficient way to plan, manage, and track progress on projects.

As a rule of thumb, Sprints are the time frames in which specific tasks must be completed. During each Sprint Cycle, various time-boxed Scrum events will occur to help ensure that the team is meeting their deadlines and objectives for the project.

In this section, we will break down the five events that make up the Sprint Cycle.

1. Sprint Planning 

A cycle begins with Sprint Planning, which involves meetings with all stakeholders to determine what needs to be achieved during this particular iteration. 

A Scrum Master or coach usually facilitates the Sprint Planning process in order to facilitate effective discussion and ensure that the Sprint goal and product backlog items are agreed upon. 

The product backlog list allows you to define your Sprint goal during this time, then select user stories for the sprint backlog that can help you achieve your Sprint goal.

This process requires collaboration, communication, and problem-solving skills from all parties involved—from developers to Product Owners, QA engineers to designers—everyone needs to be on the same page and work as a team.

The goal here is to ensure that all the necessary work can be completed in time while also allowing some flexibility if unforeseen problems arise during the course of the Sprint. 

2. Daily Scrum

The Daily Scrum is the second event of a Sprint Cycle, and it’s an essential step in achieving successful sprint outcomes.

At its core, the Daily Scrum is a time-boxed daily meeting for all members of the development team to get together and discuss what they’ve been working on since the last meeting, what tasks they need help with, and any impediments that have arisen.

During the Daily Scrum, each team member will answer three questions: What did I do yesterday? What am I doing today? Are there any impediments in my way? This allows visibility into each team member’s progress and allows other members to offer help if needed.

Remember that every member of the team should contribute!

The Daily Scrum should last no longer than 15 minutes, as it is key to keep the meeting focused on progress towards the Sprint goal. 

3. The Sprint 

Following the Daily Scrum is the Sprint itself. During this time, teams collaborate to develop features and deliverables that will be tested during the next phase, typically known as a review or retrospective.

At the beginning of a Sprint, teams identify their goals and objectives. Teams then break down the tasks into manageable chunks with clear deadlines for completion. This helps them stay on track and makes sure all of their work is completed before the end of the Sprint.

During the Sprint, teams also review progress regularly and adjust their approach as needed in order to keep moving forward toward their goal. This allows teams to identify beforehand any issues or roadblocks and address them without delaying progress.

Basically, the purpose of a Sprint is to produce tangible results that can be put into action quickly. This means that teams must work hard throughout the duration of the Sprint and remain focused on their tasks without becoming distracted by other projects or tasks outside of their scope. 

4. Sprint Review

The Sprint review is an instrumental event in the Scrum methodology and serves as the fourth event of any Sprint Cycle. To clarify the confusion about Sprint review vs. Sprint retrospective, the review handles team and stakeholder actions, whereas the retrospective handles honest and open feedback.

At a minimum, the Sprint review should involve all members of the Scrum team, including developers, product owner, stakeholders, and other invited guests, such as customers or end users who are involved with or affected by the product being built.

Everyone should discuss any issues that have arisen during the Sprint and how they can be addressed going forward. They should also review any changes to the product backlog and discuss what features need to be implemented in future Sprints.

The goal is to ensure transparency between the development team and stakeholders so that everyone involved in the project can understand how far along it is and how much work needs to be done before completion.

5. Sprint Retrospective

Sprint retrospectives are the final event of a Sprint Cycle, where teams review their performance and identify areas for improvement.

The primary goal of a Sprint retrospective is to ensure that teams learn from their experiences throughout the Sprint, so they can continuously improve their process and performance in future Sprints.

A successful retrospective should involve all members of the team and not be limited to simply reviewing what went right or wrong during the course of a Sprint. Everyone has an opportunity to reflect on how well their processes worked during the previous sprint, as well as provide feedback about what did and didn’t go well.

It is common for agile teams to utilize reliable retrospective tools, such as GoRetro, in order to ensure that meetings are conducted more efficiently, eliminate barriers, and gain overall focus. With GoRetro, everyone is up-to-date on the development process by providing visual clarity in the retrospective. 

By taking time at the end of each Sprint Cycle to review and discuss performance, teams can ensure they are continuously improving their process and performance in the future.

How Long Is a Sprint Cycle?

Sprint Cycles are short, iterative cycles used to manage and deliver projects in manageable chunks held roughly every 7-14 days. Scrum Sprint Cycles are often referred to as continuous development processes.

While Sprint Cycles vary in length depending on the complexity of the project. This time-boxed period typically lasts anywhere from two weeks to one month.

It’s important to keep in mind that while Sprint Cycles are generally shorter than other development cycles, they still require careful planning and management. Teams should strive to set realistic goals and be open to making changes as needed throughout the cycle.


Scrum Sprint Cycles are an invaluable asset to any organization looking to improve the way they manage their project development processes. With proper planning, teams can use Sprint Cycles to deliver high-quality projects with minimal risk of failure in the shortest amount of time possible.

With tools such as GoRetro, you will avoid the daunting task and hassle of organizing future retrospectives. Experience smooth sailing from here on out by signing up for a free 30-day trial today!

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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