The team has just presented their increment to you (the product owner) during the sprint review. Goals were met, expectations were surpassed, and everyone is happy. Without even thinking about it, everyone gathers in applause to show their appreciation. Now, you probably don’t see anything wrong with that picture, right? Well, neither did I, until I came upon an old article from Ken Schwaber where he explains why clapping for the team at the sprint review can have adverse effects on the team’s productivity.
For starters, the focus of the meeting should rely solely on the WORK. Have we been feeding the teams ego by giving them applause for tasks they said they were going to complete? Of course, we so to want them to have pride and have fun with their work, but not at the expense of turning the sprint review into something it’s not. If we applaud for the team at sprint review, they will always chase that feeling. They will do whatever it takes, even if it means working over-time and/or cutting the quality of work to do so. It becomes more about them and less about the product.
The sprint review should not be conducted as a presentation. It should be short and sweet and right to the point. This is the product owner’s opportunity to inspect the work that has been completed thus far, provide dynamic feedback to the team and rearrange the product backlog to begin the next sprint. By keeping things simple we maximize our time and can get back to our work promptly.
So, in essence, the lesson here is to stick to the basics. The sprint review is about product demos not about status. Let’s keep things simple and focus on the work. And lastly, next time around, avoid the applause!