A recent survey suggests that our favorite day for meetings is Tuesday, while nearly 50% of us get grumpy about meetings held on a Monday.
So the prospect of a project management framework that insists on daily meetings might go down like a bit of a lead balloon.
Add to that the fact you need to shoe-horn in another 3 meetings over a 2-week period, and mutiny seems almost assured.
So why is the Scrum framework so beloved of a meeting? What’s the point of them all? Any chance one of them is a runt meeting that could be quietly forgotten about?
In this article, we’ll answer all those questions and more.
We’ll cover the 4 different Scrum meetings, when each is used, and why they’re important. Heads up: there’s no runt one.
Plus we’ll give you some hints and tips on how to get the most out of them.
What is a Scrum meeting?
Scrum is the most popular project management framework within the Agile methodology. It’s used for the incremental delivery of products or services, across many industries.
In Scrum, work is delivered in short time periods called ‘sprints’, and the project is constantly evolving based on client feedback and project progress.The Scrum framework is given structure through its key artifacts, roles, and meetings.
The artifacts include the product and sprint backlogs (lists of work to be accomplished) plus the product increment, which is the sum of the total work completed to date.
There are 3 key roles: the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the development team.
There are 4 Scrum meetings — also termed ceremonies — used throughout each sprint.
This is how the meetings would be arranged over a typical 2-week sprint:
Let’s look at each Scrum meeting in more detail.
The purpose of the sprint planning meeting is to agree on what items are going to be delivered during the sprint, and how the team will deliver them.
To help the decision process, the product owner should prioritize the product backlog in advance.
The product backlog is a list of all the items that need to be completed to satisfy the business requirements of the project.
Once the product owner and the project team have agreed on the items that will be delivered, those items are moved forward to create the sprint backlog.
Given its name, there are no prizes for guessing that this meeting comes right at the beginning of the sprint cycle.
It’s common to allow around 2 hours of planning for every week of the sprint duration. So, a 2-week sprint would have a 4-hour sprint planning meeting.
As this meeting’s highly collaborative, both the project development team and the product owner should attend. If the team’s using a Scrum Master role, they plan the logistics of the
During the meeting, the attendees should work together to create a sprint goal. The sprint goal ensures a shared understanding of what’s expected to be delivered and provides a metric to measure progress against.
This is a short daily meeting attended by the project team. Ideally, the daily standup meeting is conducted face-to-face, though distributed teams may have to run it virtually.
monday.com makes running virtual meetings a cinch, with in-platform communication and sharing options. It also integrates with all your favorite collaboration tools — which is one less thing to think about.
The daily standup is conducted — you guessed it — standing up to encourage efficient communication and decision-making.
The purpose of the meeting is to provide a quick update on progress, so everyone’s clear who’s doing what.
Each team member focuses on 3 key things:
- What they’re working on today
- What they plan to tackle next
- Any obstacles that are in the way of them getting work done
The main responsibility of the Scrum Master is to facilitate work moving forward. Any obstacles or distractions that are identified by the team fall to them to manage.
These meetings are meant to be brief, around 15–20 minutes in length. Any conversations that require extra time should be continued outside of the daily standup.
The sprint review meeting is an opportunity for the project team to show business stakeholders what’s been delivered during the sprint.
It’s less about the detail of each individual item and more about how it fits into the overall project to deliver value. The product owner facilitates the meeting and seeks feedback from the business about the work that’s been completed.
Feedback from the business may result in new items being added to the product backlog and may inform which items are prioritized for the next sprint.
Unsurprisingly, this meeting should be attended by all members of the project team, the product owner, and key business stakeholders.
The sprint review is the first of 2 meetings that occur at the end of every sprint. Best practice allows for at least an hour for every week of the sprint, so a 2-week sprint would have a 2-hour sprint review.
The sprint retrospective is the second meeting that happens at the end of the sprint.
The purpose of the sprint retrospective meeting is continuous improvement, which is a key principle of all Agile frameworks.
It’s an opportunity for the project team to come together and review how well they worked as individuals, and as a team, during the last sprint.
Both things that are working well and areas for improvement should be identified.
Using this feedback, the team can agree on actions and approaches they are going to take to try and improve during the upcoming sprint. These should be written down and assigned to an owner to ensure they’re followed up.
monday.com has an easy-to-use sprint retrospective template to ensure nothing gets lost. It’s simple to assign an owner and add color-coded labels to help you track progress from sprint to sprint.
Challenges with Scrum meetings and how to manage them
There are a few key challenges you might face running Scrum meetings. Here’s what they are and how to tackle them.
Getting too detailed during daily standups
It’s tempting to share everything you’re doing with the rest of the team, especially if you’re facing something tricky or if you want to celebrate something going well.
But, try and keep the purpose of the meeting in mind — shared understanding of progress and identification of obstacles. If what you want to say doesn’t contribute to either of those things, set up a separate meeting outside the standup.
Not having the right people in the room
Scrum meetings will only be successful if the right people are engaged in them.
If the product owner hasn’t prioritized the product backlog before sprint planning starts, it’s easy to see how the wrong things could be put forward for delivery. Which ends up being pretty frustrating for both the business and the development team.
Equally, they’ll be times that you don’t want people to attend a meeting.
Business stakeholders shouldn’t be invited to the sprint retrospective as it might stifle honest feedback from the team. This can impact learning and improvement for the next sprint.
Make sure the value of each meeting is clearly understood, and that attendees know why they are attending and how they can best contribute. Also, people tend to be busy — get smart with your scheduling and plan meetings well in advance.
monday.com makes planning regular meetings easy through automation.
For example, you can set up an automation recipe that reminds required attendees about the sprint review meeting as soon as the sprint planning meeting is finished.
Not learning from the sprint retrospective
Speaking of the sprint retrospective, it’s only valuable if it prompts action.
It’s important to create an environment that allows team members to feel confident identifying both things that could have gone better and things they’ve done well.
But it’s not a pity party. And there’s only a smidge of room for navel-gazing and/or fist-pumping. Make sure thoughts are turned into actionable feedback, which is both captured and tracked.
Getting side-tracked during sprint planning
Assuming the product owner has done their job, you’ll have a nicely prioritized list of work items to discuss during the sprint planning meeting.
The focus should be on estimating the work required to deliver those items — and ensuring it matches team capacity — and figuring out how those items are going to be delivered.
Tempting though it is, don’t get side-tracked by looking at other items on the product backlog.
While it’s normal to want to get cracking on an area of work you’re really good at or enjoy, meeting the needs of the business has got to be the name of the game.
Scrum meetings provide organization and structure to each sprint
In this article, we’ve covered the 4 types of Scrum meetings, including the purpose of each and where it fits within the sprint cycle.
We’ve also highlighted some of the challenges faced in running the meetings and how best to handle them.
Scrum meetings are critical to optimizing the Scrum framework and form the backbone of planning and delivering each iteration.
Why not tick the first off your list with our fully customizable sprint planning template?