In an overall sense, Agile simplifies the project management process by breaking it down into easily manageable parts, also known as Sprints.
The benefits of applying Agile are easy to see, including but not limited to:
- Enhanced product quality
- More control over project development, from start to finish
- Higher customer satisfaction
With the demand for Agile on the rise, a growing number of people are turning their attention to Sprint Zero.
While everyone has their own idea of what Sprint Zero really is, let’s start by breaking down what it isn’t:
- It’s not the phase during which the team is initially put together. In order to conduct a Sprint, you must already have a team in place.
- It’s not the phase for setting up infrastructure, as it should already be implemented.
- It’s not a time to add products to a backlog.
With that out of the way, let’s examine the stages you must go through to get on the right track:
1. Information Gathering and Research
This is the first step in the process, with the designer collecting information from the client. At this time, it’s also important to investigate the market and competitors.
Should the designer have any questions, they’re directed at the client for clarification before moving onto the next stage.
2. Mind-map Creation
The designer creates a mind-map with primary interfaces and user flow. The goal of this stage is to visually organize information as a means of sharing it internally and with the client, if necessary.
This stage consists of the designer creating the first prototype of the product. It’s typically in black and white and clickable for functionality. The prototype is far from the finished product, but instead a preliminary model from which to build on.
4. Presentation and Updates
In order to determine the next steps, the prototype is presented to the product owner and updates are made based on the feedback.
5. QA Requirements
This stage entails the creation of a document outlining the requirements related to the quality assurance side of the project. It typically includes technical specifications and user stories but may share other requirements.
6. User Stories Creation
A user story is created for each of the interfaces. This is meant to capture a description of a particular feature from an end-user perspective.
7. Approval and Re-estimation
At this stage, the primary goal is to better understand the current status of the project as to best plan the next steps. It’s critical to receive confirmation from the product owner, and then re-estimate the time of development along with the main Milestones.
It goes without saying that no two individuals or companies will run a Sprint Zero in the exact same manner, however, there are stages that anyone can follow to remain on track from beginning to end.
Regardless of the approach you take, the main benefit of a Sprint Zero is that it allows a team to obtain a better idea of the work ahead of them. Subsequently, they can self-organize, gain confidence, and proceed in an effective and efficient manner.