How is a sprint different from a typical project?

Customer problem

Great problem statements open up new possibilities (what and why) without specifying how, so teams have room to pivot


New business ventures face
many uncertainties

Sprints spell them out as assumptions, then design tests to validate those assumptions

The unit of progress in a sprint
is validated (or invalidated) assumptions

Tight resources

Guardrails – Time is the most crucial guardrail, but there can be others
Finish line – Concrete success threshold (i.e., exit criteria)
Cliff – Zero-based budgeting going forward (if it wishes to proceed, it needs to attract new funding)

Small team

Sprint teams can be as few as two people, rarely bigger than seven


When you have the elements above, we call that a venture.* A venture makes progress using sprints, to test assumptions and determine whether they are investment-worthy for a subsequent phase.