This is our first Agile project and we plan our Sprint 0 to consist of :

  • Release Content Planning : Defining EPICs/MMFs Product Backlog

  • Product Backlog Grooming : Breakup of EPICs into stories (as much as possible at that point of time)

  • High Level Design and Environment Setup

  • Develop 1 or 2 critical stories to have basic framework in place

Please let me know if we need to have anything else and what do you suggest about the duration of sprint 0

  • Did you do Story Mapping yet? – JBRWilkinson Jul 7 '16 at 7:37

Sprint 0 is not a part of the official Scrum Guide. It has arisen as an unnoficial approach to kickstarting Scrum in some organisations.

All that is needed to start Scrum is a development team, a Scrum Master, a Product Owner and a backlog that covers at least 1 sprints worth of work. So some might regard 'sprint 0' as the formation of the team and the refinement of a backlog that covers at least one sprints worth of stories.

With this rapid starting approach the team would need to do things like environment setup and design/architecture within the first sprint. The development team will often then make it clear to the Product Owner that not a lot of business value will be delivered in the first sprint.

The alternative is to have a longer sprint 0 that packs in a lot of setup and preparation work. The danger with this approach is that it can be a bit waterfall. With the sprint 0 replacing the project inception/design phases of waterfall projects.

I'm not a big fan of sprint 0, but I have seen them used a lot. To answer your original question some things that crop up in sprint 0 are:

  • Setting up build/continuous integration/source control
  • Deciding on a testing approach
  • Configuring release automation
  • Setting up electronic task tracking tools (like JIRA/TFS/etc.)
  • Agreeing on high level architecture
  • Agreeing the team's definition of done
  • My preference would be a few days. Maybe a week at most. – Barnaby Golden Oct 24 '15 at 15:31
  • As short as possible, no longer than needed. – jessehouwing Oct 26 '15 at 9:28

As stated, there is no Sprint Zero. However, there is plenty that can be done before beginning to utilize the Scrum framework that can help create productivity and success.

  • Learn Scrum (http://scrumguides.org, http://scrum.org)
  • Create an initial Product Backlog, especially by engaging customers
  • Prepare environments, especially continuous integration testing
  • Create a Definition of Done, the more robust in the beginning the better
  • Share the vision, engage the Scrum Team to move together
  • Cross train on job skills, Development Team members have no titles
  • Enhance domain knowledge
  • Review/Establish coding standards and best practices
  • Train on technology skills

The dive-right-in or shock approach can be successful, but there is a high risk that a lot of debt will occur and/or not much production-ready software will be produced in the first several Sprints.

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