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Agile Hotline – Should our team move to 3 week sprints?

We recently got asked this question:

The XXX team suggested as a team that we change our 2 week sprints to 3 week sprints as we lose a lot of time spending a whole day on retro, sprint plan 1 & 2 every 10days. If we spread it over 3 weeks we save at least 10% productivity to attend to Business As Usual (BAU) stuff and sprint stories. This should not impact velocity & focus on the sprint. What is your take on this?

As this is a common question, we decided to blog our answer – hopefully it can help others who are also wondering about this.

Our answer:

Longer sprints are in our experience never the solution. If it takes you a day to plan for 2 weeks, it will most likely take longer for 3 weeks. Remember sprint planning 1 and 2 are supposed to be 1 hour PER week of the sprint so for a 3 weeks sprint that is 3 hours of SP1 and 3 hours of SP2, which probably means it’s going to run longer than 1 day with the review and retro. I suggest rather finding ways to make your planning and grooming meetings more productive and focused.

Here is some reading on the topic:
There is an excellent story on the topic here (read ‘The Story’):
That said – this is the team’s decision to make. I’d get everyone to read these articles and then decide as a team. If you do decide to try 3 week sprints, run it as an experiment. Decide in advance how you expect it will improve things, and how you will measure that. Agree how long you will try it for (at least 2 or 3 sprints is our recommendation) and when you will meet to discuss if the change worked well or not.