What is a LEAN Sprint?

A LEAN sprint is a time-boxed iteration cycle for sourcing, ranking, and testing new ideas for moving your business model forward.

Ash Maurya avatar
Written by Ash Maurya
Updated over a week ago

If you come from a software background, you have most likely been exposed to the scrum/agile methodology. LEAN sprints are heavily influenced by agile and scrum practices and also employ stand-ups, sprint planning, and sprint review meetings, but there are some key differences.

1. The goals are different
While the goal of a scrum sprint is demonstrating “build velocity”, the goal of a LEAN sprint is demonstrating “traction velocity”. It is not enough just to build a great product or feature during an iteration, or even demonstrating “learning velocity”. You have to build, measure, learn, AND demonstrate how your product or feature affects one or more of the key levers for traction.

2. The participants are different
Scrum and agile are typically developer-only practices. LEAN sprints on the other hand require the complete team made up of internal and external stakeholders.

3. Time-boxing does not dictate build or release cadence
I am a huge fan of using time-boxing for forcing decisions and using kanban for allowing for continuous (or just-in-time) delivery. LEAN sprints ensure these are not at odds. Time-boxes in a LEAN sprint are only used to force a conversation about progress among the team and drive next actions. It does not drive the release cycle – allowing teams to practice continuous delivery or a more traditional release cycle as they see fit.

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