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 taken into a sprint. Recall, your goal is to have the estimated and delivered work be close by the end of the sprint.
    • 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.

Questions to Address

  • When do you hold sprint planning?
    • Every Monday or every 7 days.
  • Isn’t sprint planning once a week time consuming?
    • Nope. My team only holds the meeting for one hour. Everyone on my teams stays on top of their work and doesn’t come in cold. The one week sprints really keep everyone accountable.
  • Do you feel less stressed?
    • Yes. I come in every week focused and with the end goal in mind. When we had 2-week sprints, it was so easy to under and over-estimate tasks, over promise or under deliver frequently.
  • What parts of the the agile scrum work sprints don’t you do?
    • Our 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?”
  • How confident do you feel about 1-week sprints?
    • Very. In addition to being a software engineer at my previous company, I was the scrum master in charge of setting my team’s Sprint Sprint Review and Retrospective activities. Sprint Review and Retrospective Activities can often take up a lot of time from actual work. I’ve found that the faster feedback cycles that 1-week sprints provide can substitute the sprint review and retrospective sessions.
    • I would rather have 4-short sprints in one month than have just 2 in one month. Faster feedback = faster personal growth and development!

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