Scrum | There is no “Sprint 0”

I was looking for a good argumentation regarding the infamous “Sprint 0” that seems to still be around. This article is a great read to share if you need a clear explanation, summarized here:
there is no “Sprint 0” in Scrum.

Why using Sprint 0 is a cardinal sin for all Scrum Masters
Medium | September 23, 2019

(…) Unfortunately there still are many Scrum Masters who start their new teams with Sprint 0. In this article I will try to persuade you there is no convincing reason to use Sprint 0.

(…) What is Sprint 0?

There is no official definition of Sprint 0, as it is not part of Scrum. I would define Sprint 0 as follows: Sprint 0 is a preparation Sprint you need to do before you can start doing real Sprints.

Sprint 0 conflicts with the core of Scrum

Sprint 0 clashes with the Empiricism of Scrum

Sprint 0 is incompatible with the Scrum values

So how should you start your first Sprint?

(…) Your first Sprint should be as any other Sprint. In Sprint Planning the Scrum Team crafts a Sprint Goal together. It can be as big or small as the team wants it to be. The Sprint Goal should guide the team towards what to deliver in a working product at the end of the Sprint.

When you need more time to prepare for next Sprint, then this can be achieved by setting a less ambitious Sprint Goal. A smaller Sprint Goal will create more space for other activities. However do not make the Sprint Goal too small as otherwise the preparation work may conflict with the Scrum value of Focus.

The Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog do not need to be fully formed and clear when you start your first Sprint. I even have started a first Sprint with just a Sprint Goal and a couple of Sprint Backlog items. It is okay to figure out things as you go along and update details in the Sprint or Product Backlog along the way. Is there a higher risk of failure? Yes. Is this a problem? No. It should be okay to fail because you managed these expectations.

Ditch Sprint 0 to set your team up for success in subsequent Sprints

(…) The alternative to Sprint 0 is to do a regular Sprint and start with the Sprint Goal. It is okay not to know all details and figure it out as you go along. Manage the expectations that your first Sprint will fail with stakeholders and give your team the permission to suck.
The first Sprint from a Scrum perspective is always the hardest. Give your team the courage to aim for a Sprint Goal. Let them discover why Scrum is easy to learn but hard to master. Knowledge about Scrum is gained by experience. Sprint 0 will never be a substitute for rolling up your sleeves and trying to deliver something.

Author = Maarten Dalmijn

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