A sprint, in Agile software development, is a set period of time during which specific work has to be completed and made ready for review.
A sprint, also called “iteration”, is the basic unit of development in Scrum. The sprint is linked to the concept of “timeboxing” because it is an action for which the duration is fixed in advance, and is normally between one week and one month.
Agile sprints have 3 key elements:
- Sprint planning: to plan the work and the backlog of a sprint;
- Sprint review: to review what work has been done and the one that is not complete;
- Sprint retrospective: to reflect on the past sprint and work on continual improvement for future sprints.
Agile sprints and timeboxes are also two good techniques to learn when you have to deliver on time. In a time-box has a fixed end date, but the work to be done is variable. If you are running late, you have a clear, pre-approved way of doing less. If you have less to do, you can probably get back on schedule. Before the time-box starts, you need to list the work to be done, and then get agreement on how prioritize it.
About Scrum: Scrum is the most popular Agile framework in software development, and beyond. The Scrum method was in fact originally formalized for software development projects, but it works well for any complex, innovative scope of work.