Startup Sprint

[stahrt-uhp sprint]

Definition of Startup Sprint

A specialized Sprint used to get a Team ‘up and running’ quickly, rather than dragging their feet getting ready to start development. A Startup Sprint usually includes Analysis, Team Training, Infrastructure and Environmental Work – and the development of something ‘real’ – and its purpose is to limit the amount of ‘up front’ work that takes place before actual Product is developed. It is a Sprint whose Sprint Goal is “We will be producing real Results by the end of this Sprint” – it is not about ‘getting ready’; it is about ‘getting moving’.


The goal for our Startup Sprint is to be writing 'real code' by the end of the Sprint.

During the Startup Sprint, the Team spends half a day Planning and half a day with the Review and Retrospective at the end. This leaves four days for actual work. The Team spends two days setting up the environments, and two days getting the Product Backlog together. Then, the Team (along with the Product Owner) will choose the Story to actually implement. Then it will get it Done.

The Startup Sprint (Sprint Zero) will contain enough analysis, enough environment and enough team training for the team to do something real.


The Startup Sprint (Sprint Zero) will contain enough analysis, enough environment and enough team training for the team to do something real. Agile development is all about delivering valuable Results early and often, in order to receive and incorporate feedback as soon as possible. Many of the Organizations I coach are convinced that it will take months before they can write any code that produces value. Is this a reasonable fear? How do we get past this fear? How do we get a Team writing code and delivering value as quickly as possible? And how quick can that be? Let me describe the Startup Sprint pattern, which many coaches have used (and are using) successfully to get a Team up and running quickly. The idea is simple: Take an initial Sprint (called the Startup Sprint) that has the following goal: ‘Be up and running the first day of the next Sprint’ and the following three Backlog Items:

  • Place some quality items on the Backlog’;
  • Create a minimal environment dedicated to the writing of Clean Code’; and
  • Write a piece of real code, no matter how small’.
  • And, of course, make the Startup Sprint as short as possible. In my experience, this Sprint can be as short as one week, which is what I recommend. I think one week is good because it applies pressure on the Team to achieve the three Items listed above quickly and efficiently – I don’t want the Team to do any gold-plating or unnecessary work in order to get to that first real code. Of course, there is continued work on environment and the Product Backlog in future Sprints, so we don’t delude ourselves that we’re finished in this Startup Sprint. In fact, we don’t even delude ourselves that we’ve achieved the 80% solution, or even the 50% solution. We’re just getting started… That’s the point of the Startup Sprint. Get started, but do real stuff as you start and ramp up. So what does the Team actually do in the Startup Sprint? Well, it works on the initial Sprint Backlog (Stories) shown above. Since the Team has this Backlog, the conversations that we call Backlog Refinement and Sprint Planning can begin. Firstly, we elaborate

Cite This Term

"Startup Sprint" Accessed Jun 17, 2024.