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Guide to the Product Increment

The output of a Sprint is a usable Product Increment. "Usable" means the stakeholders can see the product working as if it were released. The increment is the verified sum of all the Product Backlog Items completed during a sprint, plus all previous increments produced in the current and past sprints. Because of this, the increment needs to be integrated with the ones produced in past sprints. It must be in usable condition, regardless of whether the Product Owner decides to release it or not. The Product Owner is responsible for deciding when to release the Product Increment.

Work cannot be considered part of an increment unless it meets the Definition of Done. The Definition of Done is a formal Product Increment commitment that describes the state of the increment when it meets the required quality measures.

The increment is a step toward the Product Goal. An increment may be delivered to stakeholders before the Sprint Review event. The Sprint Review should never be considered a gate to releasing the Product Increment. Increments are not prototypes; they are meant to be a part of the actual working product. This allows the stakeholders to see the product and provide feedback on what is or isn’t working as expected, as well as provide ideas to improve the product.

By reviewing the actual working increment, which is expected to be “done” at the end of each sprint, the increment reduces overhead by eliminating the need for items such as branching, development freezes, and QA dedicated cycles.

Techniques for Distributed Teams

o Record a short demo of each “done” product backlog item to allow the Product Owner to review it. This does not replace the need for daily communication but helps create flow when working in different time zones.

o Decompose product backlog items into small tasks during Sprint Planning. Having well coupled tasks will encourage daily collaboration between developers.

o Co-create a clear Definition of Ready for a product backlog item that outlines the expected information before it is ready for development in the sprint.

o Ensure to always create a Sprint Goal to unify the team under a common objective for the Sprint.


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