It is impossible to avoid meetings if you’re part of an agile team using the Scrum methodology. Actually, meetings are an integral part of the Scrum methodology. But are all these meetings necessary?
In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know about Scrum meetings. We’ll explain what they are, their benefits, and the different types of Scrum meetings. We’ll also share some tips on how to run productive and effective Scrum meetings.
The term Scrum meeting is an umbrella phrase used to describe the different types of meetings held by product development teams using the Scrum agile methodology.
Depending on the type of meeting, Scrum meetings can be held to plan sprints, discuss assigned work, review progress, showcase the outcome of sprints, identify blockers, or reflect on closed sprints.
The term Scrum is used to emphasize the focus on teamwork and collaboration. The term is borrowed from a player formation used in rugby. Just like rugby players rely on teamwork to gain ball possession during a scrum, the Scrum methodology relies on teamwork to implement and deliver a project.
Holding scrum meetings provides several benefits to the development team and the project. These include:
They help the team to align priorities and ensure that everyone is on the same page
They help ensure that every team member is aware of their responsibilities during the sprint
They help identify potential blockers and bottlenecks before they affect the project
They provide the team with opportunities to make required adjustments to keep the project on course
They help the team identify opportunities for improvement
There are five types of scrum meetings, each held at a different stage of the product development process and for a different purpose. The five are:
Sprint planning meetings are held at the beginning of every Scrum sprint. These meetings serve two essential purposes:
To establish the goals of the upcoming sprint.
To develop a sprint backlog, which is the list of tasks that the development team needs to accomplish during the sprint to achieve the sprint goals.
After figuring out what should be done in the upcoming sprint, you can focus on prioritizing items, assigning tasks to team members, setting deadlines, and so on.
Sprint planning meetings are crucial since they set the direction for the next sprint and ensure everyone is on the same page. Therefore, all team members should attend this meeting.
The sprint planning meeting is the longest Scrum ceremony. Ideally, a sprint planning meeting should last about 2 hours for every week of the sprint. For instance, a sprint planning meeting for a 3-week sprint should last 6 hours.
Also known as daily standups, daily scrum meetings are short meetings held daily to plan tasks for the day and identify any blockers that could affect these tasks. Daily scrum meetings usually last about 10 – 15 minutes.
Daily scrum meetings usually involve a set of questions each team member has to answer. Some of these questions include:
What did you work on yesterday, and what did you achieve?
What are you working on today, and what are you hoping to achieve?
How close are you in achieving your goals?
Are there any challenges preventing you from achieving your goals for the day?
Do you need any help from the team to help you achieve your goals?
Answering these questions is a great way to gain insights into work progress and whether the team is on course to achieve various milestones. It also helps the team eliminate any impediments that could affect the project timeline.
Sometimes referred to as sprint demos, sprint review meetings occur at the end of a sprint. The sprint review allows the development team to showcase what they have accomplished during the sprint.
During the Scrum review meeting, the Scrum Master, the product owner, and other stakeholders review the features and functionalities of the product and compare it against the original sprint goals. They also get a chance to give feedback about the product, which is then added to the product backlog.
Sprint review meetings generally take about an hour for every week of the sprint. For instance, if you just concluded a two-week sprint, you need to schedule a two-hour sprint review.
Like sprint review meetings, sprint retrospective meetings occur after a sprint is completed. However, instead of focusing on the outcome of the sprint, a sprint retrospective reviews how the team executed the sprint.
The sprint retrospective meeting seeks to answer the following three questions:
What did we do well during the sprint?
What went wrong during the sprint?
What can we do to improve the next sprint?
A sprint retrospective meeting aims to learn from the just-concluded sprint and find opportunities to improve future sprints. The sprint retrospective meeting typically lasts between one and two hours.
Sometimes referred to as backlog grooming meetings, backlog refinement meetings are held to review, update, and prioritize backlog items to be included in future sprints. Effective backlog refinement results in shorter and more productive sprint planning meetings.
The people required to attend a Scrum meeting will depend on the type of Scrum meeting. Here are the different Scrum meetings and the people that have to participate in each type of meeting:
Sprint planning meeting: This type of meeting should be attended by the entire Scrum team, including the Scrum Master, the product owner, and the development team.
Daily Scrum meeting: This meeting involves the development team, with the session facilitated by the Scrum Master. It is not a requirement for the product owner to attend daily scrum meetings, but they are welcome to join.
Sprint review meeting: This meeting requires the attendance of the product owner, the Scrum Master, the development team, and any other stakeholders that the product owner may invite.
Sprint retrospective meeting: This meeting involves the entire Scrum team, including the Scrum Master, the product owner, and the development team.
Backlog refinement meeting: The backlog refinement meeting requires the participation of the entire Scrum team, with the product owner being the key decision maker.
Here are some tips that will help you maximize the productivity and effectiveness of your Scrum meetings:
It’s very easy for Scrum meetings to get off track if you do not have clear objectives for the meeting. To avoid this and keep the meetings productive, always start by defining the purpose of the meeting. The best way to do this is to develop a meeting agenda.
Having clearly-defined meeting objectives is not enough. You also need to share the objectives with your team ahead of time to allow them to prepare for the meeting.
Without prior knowledge of the meeting agenda and adequate time for preparation, most team members will not make any meaningful contribution, effectively making the meeting a waste of time.
Scrum meetings are most productive when everyone is given a chance to contribute and share their ideas. Therefore, you must actively encourage all team members to speak and create a safe environment that allows everyone to share their opinions.
To ensure that there’s enough time for everyone to speak while at the same time keeping the meetings short, it’s important to prevent members from monopolizing the meeting. Ramblers and monopolizers take the floor away from other members without adding much value.
If you notice that someone is rambling, politely let them know that they’re getting off track and request them to give others a chance to speak.
People have very short attention spans. The longer a meeting takes, the more likely participants are to lose concentration and stop paying attention.
Therefore, it’s essential to stick to the meeting schedule. A good way to do this is to use a timer. This keeps participants from rambling and ensures items do not take more time than scheduled.
Sticking to the meeting time frames also means starting the meeting on time. If some participants are late to the meeting, don’t wait for them. Start without them. However, this doesn’t mean you should let tardy members get away with it. Call them out for their lateness, and make it clear that you won’t tolerate it.
As the Scrum Master, it is your responsibility to lead Scrum meetings. However, it’s important to ensure you don’t become the center of attention during the meeting. You should create an environment that encourages members to communicate and discuss ideas with each other rather than addressing you.
If you feel that the participants are addressing their comments to you rather than to the team, you need to step away from the circle. An environment where participants communicate amongst themselves is more productive since it encourages everyone to air their views.
For daily Scrum meetings, you need to maintain consistency by holding meetings at the same time every day. This ensures that your team knows what to expect every day and provides a consistent way to track progress and performance.
Lack of consistency can cause many problems, such as distracting your team from their work, team members missing meetings, and overlooking some issues that could grow and derail the whole project.
Holding Scrum meetings can be a bit challenging for remote teams that have to do it virtually. However, there are some tools that you can use to make your virtual Scrum meetings. These include:
For physically co-located teams, you can easily gather the team and let them know the objective of a meeting ahead of time. With a remote team, this option is not available to you, so it’s very important to create and share a meeting agenda with the team well before the meeting.
You can use a meeting assistant tool like Airgram to easily create agendas for your Scrum meetings and share them with your remote team members.
The longer a meeting takes, the more likely the participants are to zone out of the meeting. In an in-person meeting, you can easily notice those who’re not paying attention and call them out. With virtual meetings, monitoring participants’ attention is close to impossible.
It is therefore very important to ensure that nothing takes more than the allocated time. This is why you need a timer to track the time and get every speaker to wrap up their sessions without taking more time than necessary.
Comment in Conversation
This is a feature on meeting assistant tools like Aigram that allows team members to comment directly on meeting transcripts. Conversation comments are a great way for remote team members to collaborate and provide timely feedback on issues discussed during virtual Scrum meetings.
Scrum is an agile project management framework that focuses on teamwork, collaboration, and incremental iteration. The Scrum framework breaks complex projects into smaller pieces of work that can be completed in short sessions known as sprints.
The development team has to create a releasable product during a sprint. The team then receives feedback on the product and implements this feedback during the next sprint, repeating this cycle until they achieve the overall project goals.
The ideal time limit for Scrum meetings usually depends on the type of Scrum meeting. Daily Scrum meetings are usually short and take about 10 – 15 minutes.
Sprint planning meetings, on the other hand, are much longer and typically take about 2 hours for every week of sprint. Others like sprint reviews and sprint retrospectives usually take about 1 – 2 hours, depending on the length of the sprint.
During daily Scrum meetings, every team member discusses what they worked on the previous day, what they are working on today and any challenges or bottlenecks that could potentially prevent them from achieving their goals.
Michael started his career as a product manager and then developed a passion for writing. He has been writing on technology, remote working, productivity, etc., hoping to share his thoughts with more people.