The New Year: Celebrating The Ultimate Retrospective and Sprint Goal

Scrum and the New Year. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or, more appropriately for this time of year, like late night champagne and a morning headache. Welcoming in the New Year is the epitome of a Scrum-filled holiday experience. From the most seasoned ScrumMaster to the greenest Development Team Member, this time of year naturally finds us mulling over what went well, what didn’t go so well and what we want to improve upon for the year.

Sounds a little Scrummy, no? If we think of a calendar year as an incredibly long Sprint, then the departure of 2014 and the welcoming of 2015 is the ultimate Retrospective. And those resolutions you make? The ultimate Sprint Goal.

Waxing Scrum

Deep down, we all know that the end of 2014 and the onset of 2015 isn’t a hard and fast ending and beginning. It’s truly cyclical. Especially as we grow older, we become more and more aware of how life keeps moving. We experience, we learn, we adapt, we adjust, we keep on going. Sounds like we’re waxing philosophical? Not really. Just waxing Scrum.

We think author Hal Borland said it best,

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.1

Scrumifying Your New Year’s Resolutions

New-Years-Scrum-ResolutionsStudies show that 45% of American’s make New Year’s Resolutions.2 Whether your New Year’s Resolution is to stop using that treadmill in your bedroom as a supplemental closet or to learn how to speak Mandarin or to expand your Scrum knowledge, (FYI, regarding that last resolution, we’ve got training for that) you’re in good company and you’re using some sound Scrum in the process.

Studies also show that 24% of us who set New Year’s Resolutions historically don’t succeed at them.3 Why? A host of reasons, but as Scrum practitioners, we fall back on one tried and true reason why New Year’s Resolutions may miss the mark. It’s something we harp on for setting those Sprint Goals. Make sure that your New Year’s Resolution has a solid Definition of Done. If you can’t answer “What does Done look like?” then head back to that New Year’s Resolution drawing board. We maintain, the better defined Done is, the less daunting that Resolution will seem and the better you’ll be at succeeding at your New Year’s Resolution.

Cheers To A Scrumtastic 2015

As your wrap up 2014 and begin to ponder, “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne?” 4 Remember that you’ve always got Scrum to guide you into the new year.

Happy New Year! And, As Always, Stay Agile.


1 Hal Borland. (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2014, from Website:
2 New Years Resolution Statistics
New Years Resolution Statistics 
4 History and Words of Auld Lang Syne