Agile has become one of the most practiced methodologies in the software industry. Most top companies use Agile due to its immense benefits such as increased productivity, better and quality products, higher customer satisfaction, etc. Scrum is one of the frameworks of Agile that is simpler to implement and easier to manage. It has a more exceptional ability to incorporate changes that occur, better employee morale, better user satisfaction, and could also complete complex Product development that could not be done previously.
Scrum Events are an integral part of implementing the Scrum Framework and allow the Scrum Teams to discuss the Product development progress. It gives a healthy work environment where the groups can discuss the impediments, and enable Developers to collect information about the on-going Product initiatives. Scrum Events are referred to commonly as Scrum Meetings or Scrum ceremonies though this is not as per the Scrum Guide. In this article, we use these terms interchangeably, but all of them refer to Scrum Events. The Scrum Events help the teams to keep aligned with the team and Sprint Goals. Scrum Events are carefully designed to improve developer productivity and prevent impromptu meetings that may create impediments during product development and delivery.
Types of Meetings in Scrum
Scrum Events are set around various parameters so that time is not wasted in discussing the activities that are not relevant for the meeting. They are time-boxed, and each team member gets a specific period to discuss their progress and impediments that they face. Discussions that are not related to the meeting are not allowed, and this makes the Scrum Events very disciplined and proper time managed. This discipline allows the developers to do “real work” and spend less time on meetings.
There are four types of Scrum Events held at regular intervals:
- Daily Scrum
- Sprint Planning
- Sprint Review
- Sprint Retrospective
The Daily Scrum is one of the Scrum Event types, which is time-boxed usually upto 15 minutes or less and occurs every day. Here, the members of the Scrum Team answer three critical questions-
- What did the team members work yesterday?
- What are they doing today?
- Is anything impeding their progress?
These three questions are asked to synchronize the work done by the Development Team. This gives a sense of accountability to the Scrum Team members and helps the ScrumMaster as they could predict if any factor would become an impediment later on. The Daily Scrum Event also gives a sense of transparency as anyone can join Daily Scrum.. This gives a picture to other team members on how they are supposed to go about their Product if their plan’s success depends on the progress of the Scrum Team.
In this type of meeting, it is made sure that the sessions are time-boxed and the meeting gets over within a specific amount of time. Also, everyone is prepared with what they have to speak and answer to the point of the above questions. The ScrumMaster should discourage irrelevant discussions that would waste everyone’s time. Also, they make sure that other topics which would take more time and are relevant to the Product must be discussed in different types of meetings in Scrum. In this meeting, the ScrumMaster strictly addresses only these questions for everyone’s ease and faster product development. The ScrumMaster and Product Owner are optional to join a Daily Scrum but it is not mandatory for them to attend. However, the Development Team has to mandatorily attend this meeting. The ScrumMaster ensures that this event takes place, and coach the Development Team to keep the event below 15 minutes.
A Sprint Planning Meeting is a type of meeting where everyone including the Product Owner and the ScrumMaster is present. Here, the entire Scrum Team collaborates and discusses the high-priority work for Sprint and defines the Sprint goal. It accounts for the number of people present in the team, the amount of resources present, but mostly discusses what they tend to achieve from the end of the Sprint process. They create a plan for the Sprint, and all the developers are given the freedom to solve any of their queries about the Sprint. Here, the Product Owner also explains the objective of the Sprint and also answers questions to the Development Team about the execution and criteria of satisfaction/acceptance criteria.. An open discussion is expected where the team fully understands what they need to achieve from the end of the Sprint and can also analyze all the impediments that may come across. The Development Team finally validates the amount of high-priority work that can be completed during the Sprint.
In this type of meeting, it is essential to create a schedule for the Sprint by analyzing all the available factors. For example, the number of people working on the Sprint is considered and how much they can achieve in the given amount of time is taken into account. Since the duration of a Sprint is maximum 30 days, the developers can also allocate certain hours of work every day and predict at what capacity they can work to achieve the goal in the given weeks. At the end of the meeting, a Sprint Goal and Sprint Backlog should be planned, and also the highest priority tasks have to be selected that need to be worked on to achieve the Sprint Goals and Backlogs. This meeting should last maximum for 8 hours and the ScrumMaster, the Development Team, and the Product Owner participates in the meeting.
A Sprint Review, one of the events in Scrum, enables the collection of feedback and making intelligent product decisions, thereby enhancing the chances of developing a successful product. However, Product Owners are not always certain of who should attend the event, how it should be conducted, and how relevant feedback needs to be collected.
A Sprint Review is held at the end of the Sprint to inspect the Increment and adapt the Product Backlog if needed. During the Sprint Review, the Scrum Team and stakeholders collaborate about what was done in the Sprint. Based on that and any changes to the Product Backlog during the Sprint, attendees collaborate on the next things that could be done to optimize value. This is an informal meeting, not a status meeting, and the presentation of the Increment is intended to elicit feedback and foster collaboration. The ScrumMaster ensures that a Sprint Review takes place, facilitates and timeboxes the event.
As the name suggests, Sprint Retrospective Meetings are held to reflect upon the previous Sprints about what went well and what could be improved in the last Sprint. This is one of the Scrum Event types that is more of a “lesson-learned” kind of meeting where the developers understand the areas that are supposed to work on and do not repeat their mistakes that they performed in the previous Sprints. This meeting is more about processes and internal improvement of the team and hence has a lot of value. The team determines things that should be changed and make tangible plans to improve their own processes, tools, and relationships..
The basic difference between the Sprint Review and the Sprint Retrospective is that the former focuses on the product and the latter on the process of product development. This meeting should be considered equally important as other meetings, as learning from the previous mistakes would prevent the team from making the same mistakes. The participants are the Development Team and the ScrumMaster; the Product Owner is also invited and mandatory. The team participants don’t have to prepare for the meeting as it is more of a learning experience than a discussion about new Sprints or daily tasks specifically.
The ScrumMaster ensures that a Sprint Retrospective takes place, facilitates and timeboxes the event. Also participates as a peer team member, by contributing with observations and suggestions to improve the overall performance of the Scrum Team.
The Scrum Events are planned so that all the Scrum processes run effectively and smoothly. It is conducted so that the desired outcome for a product is achieved to maximize the company’s business value and give a more exceptional customer or user satisfaction. The meetings also provide a sense of transparency to the on-going process of the Scrum Team and give way to communicate the impediments faced by the Scrum Team. The team understands the goals and backlogs expected from them and gives them information to analyze set up accordingly for a particular Sprint.
The meetings like Sprint Review are also important for Product Owners, Stakeholders, and others as they get to review and suggest better changes to the products that would increase the quality of the product. The Scrum Events also reduce the product’s delivery time as efficient planning properly leads the team, and the process gets completed on time. The team also gets input about their work and gets suggestions for improving themselves, which would make them a better professional. Hence, different types of Scrum Events held are essential for the efficient growth of Scrum in the organization and make the work of all the Scrum professionals very much valuable.