Why I Prefer One Week Work Sprints

Some teams split their work in 2,3 or even 4+ weeks chunks. I find one week to be the most effective.

May 8, 2018 - 3 minute read -

Athletes getting ready to sprint

I recently got a new manager at work and my team’s agile scrum proccess changed. Prior to my team’s new management, I was operating under a 2-week work sprint schedule. Now I work under a 1-week sprint and I love enjoy it.

Reasons Why I Enjoy Working Under 1-Week Sprints:

  • Sprints are short & focused. Just focus on completing this week’s work.

  • You can gather data very quickly about your team’s performance.
    • If you notice your team consistently over-promising work, you can catch that quickly and adjust the amount of work your taking into the sprint the next week.
    • If you’re a team lead or scrum master, you can use these data points (which you’re gathering quickly compared to 2+ week sprints) to get a sense of what to timelines to share with your business stake holders.
  • Planning & estimating time is hard. 1 week sprints force you think about the most important items to complete.

  • Less cognitive load.
    • It’s mentally easier to think about just 1 week worth of work.
    • It’s harder to put off asking for help early and often, slack off or procrastinate.
  • Faster personal and team growth. Very quickly you start to notice your own work style, the data points behind you and your teams growth.

Common Questions I’ve Recieved Around 1 Week Sprints

  • When do you hold sprint planning?
    • Every Monday or every 7 days.
  • Isn’t sprint planning once a week time consuming?
    • My team only holds this meeting for one hour. We’ve also have set an expectation for everyone to come in prepared with updated sprint items and ready to talk about any spill over sprint items or blockers.
  • How do you feel about short sprints?
    • I feel less stressed and more productive. I come in every week focused and with the end goal in mind. When I worked under 2-week sprints, it was so easy to over-estimate tasks. When you have a short sprint, it really forces you to break down your work into smaller more manageable tasks.
  • Do you practice all of Agile?
    • Currently, my team doesn’t have a formal sprint review or sprint retrospective session. We tend do all of that in the sprint planning meetings on Monday in a very succinct manner. For example: “Clifford, what’s the update on this story? Why is it rolling over? How much time is left on this?”

1 Week Sprint Thoughts from Friends

  • I like one week sprints too. It forces PMs to breakdown user stories more thoughtfully and helps to define the scope of work better. Longer sprints have always meant PMs slipping in extra work/features because the perception is that there’s more time (without factoring in the extra things devs have to do to make sure the features are stable like testing).

Closing Thoughts

How does long is your team’s work sprint? Do you think 1-week sprints would be effective for your team?