There is much talk about sprints and the day-to-day running of a project. Not enough talk, in my opinion, about the start-up phase of an Agile project.

Here at esuasive we use the Sprint 0 concept. Its during this sprint, which can be any length depending on the scope of the project, where we capture enough information to put us in a position to be confident about starting proper, i.e. a deep enough, estimated, backlog to start Sprint 1.

We collect user stories, we think horizontally (architectural ideas), identify risks, do some UX concepting. We might augment key user stories with more detail e.g. append use case documents to them if we think it’s appropriate.

The pressure to provide a realistic cost estimate plays a key role in determining how far we take Sprint 0. It’s a balance between doing enough to give you the confidence to make an estimate, against falling into the trap of analysis paralysis.

Sprint 0 is not always required. For example, if we have implemented something similar in the past then we are already in a position to start Sprint 1 i.e. deliver value to the customer, because we are already confident about our approach and development environment.

Sprint 0 is about getting the team ready to start. By team I mean everyone, even the Finance Director!
By the end of Sprint 0 you should have:-

• The Project/Product Vision

• Some UX Concepts

• The Backlog

• The Architecture Overview

• A Budget Estimate

• Target Velocity and Burndown Chart ready

• The Definition of Done

• Stakeholder List

• A Team or Teams Organised