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Use Scrum to plan New Year's eve dinner

A few days ago, I gave a teaching session about Scrum to students of the ITS Cloud DevOps Expert training path (if you don't know what this is, you can check this article). Since I always value feedback, I asked the students to fill in an anonymous board with any suggestion for improvement. They wrote that they would have liked to have a short file on how to apply Scrum in the day-to-day life, outside a working environment. So, here is an example of how to plan the New Year's eve dinner! Of course I know it's too late now, but still it is an interesting approach!

Product Backlog

First of all, we need to prepare what we think is the product backlog for the dinner. An example - let's assume already prioritized - may be the following:

product backlog.png

Product backlog refinement

During the subsequent sprints, we may refine the product backlog items. As an example the item "Food" may be split into:

  • appetizers
  • main course
  • dessert
  • after midnight treats


Sprint planning

And now that at least there is one activity ready to be tackled, let's start the sprint! "Developers" pull from the product backlog the items that can be accomplished during the sprint, and build the sprint backlog, in this case consisting of all items related to the food choice. The Sprint Goal is then "provide a complete menu".

sprint backlog.png

Another product backlog refinement

During the sprint execution, another Product Backlog Item may be refined. The beverage may be split into:

  • wine
    • appetizer pairing
    • main course pairing
    • dessert pairing
  • soft drinks
  • water
  • midnight toast wine

Sprint review

Now the time has come to show to our stakeholders - in our case may be a selected group of our friends - the Increment that we produced. While we present our menu, additional requirements may come in, such as attention to vegetarian and vegan people, lactose or gluten intolerances etc. This is not an issue, since changes are welcome. These requirements will be included in the Product Backlog, and they will be prioritized based on the Product Owner's vision.

Sprint Retrospective

During this moment, the team will inspect its processes and interactions. Different suggestions and ideas may come.

Next sprint planning

The time has come for another sprint to begin! Now we have some additional requirements to the menu, but we also can start thinking about the beverage. Since the menu is still to be decided, it would be hard to decide a correct wine-pairing, but at least we can think about soft drinks, water and wine for the midnight toast (of course, an Italian sparkling wine!)


Scrum is a great framework that can be used to solve any type of complex problem, which means any problem where there is not a single possible solution and there are no best practices to be followed.

backlog refinement.png

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