Sprint vs. Iteration

November 19, 2014 Tami Reiss

At Pivotal we have a weekly Iteration Planning Meeting, or IPM for short.

Often when I explain what happens in this meeting, I say “It’s our version of a sprint planning meeting.”

I’ve also been known to say, “Iteration or sprint, you know, they’re pretty much the same thing.”

I recently had an epiphany about how they are actually different and why we use Iteration instead of Sprint. (Apologies to all of you who came to this conclusion a long time ago, I’m writing this blog post for those who are like me and missed the difference.)

Here’s what I realized:

  • A sprint is the separation of the large amount of work to be done into regular intervals (generally 1-6 weeks).
  • An iteration may seem like it’s identical because it too is a 1 week separation of the larger project, but the word carries more weight and it’s more than just a sprint. An iteration is a specifically a week’s worth of features that creates new version of the product.

We are emphasizing that at every step of the way we will produce working software. It may not always be ready for the public, but it always works and delivers more value to the user than previous versions… or maybe… previous iterations :)

I won’t be saying it’s the same thing as a sprint anymore.

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