Scrum Meetings

There are a handful of meetings that the Scrum Methodology includes as part of the cadence and this blog addresses each one and why they are important.


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Sprint Planning

The first meeting is called Sprint Planning and this is a two-part meeting.  The first part is  where the Product Owner has the opportunity to clarify and answer questions regarding the highest priority items in the backlog.  The Scrum team and Product Owner then set the Sprint Goal by deciding which stories will be included in this Sprint.  This is sometimes referred to as the “What” part of the meeting when we determine what we are going to build.  The second part of the meeting is for the Scrum team to discuss the individual tasks that will be required to execute the stories and any technical considerations or dependencies.  This is referred to as the “How” part of the meeting when the Scrum team decides how they are going to accomplish the what.  The team also usually picks the tasks that each individual is going to work on and estimates the amount of time that each task will take to complete.

Daily Stand-Up

The second meeting is the Daily Stand-Up.  This meeting – wait for it – takes place daily and all of the participants stand up.  The reason for the standing is that the meeting is very short, usually 15 minutes or less.  It provides a forum for each Scrum team member to describe what they worked on yesterday, what they will work on today and if any roadblocks are standing in their way.  This is not a status meeting, but rather a check-point for the team to determine if any course correction is necessary.  The duration of a sprint is not very long – usually only 2 weeks – so if something goes awry, we better find out about it quickly so we have the opportunity to make changes and still meet our commitment.  This meeting is critical to the sprint and ensures that each sprint stays on course.

Sprint Review

The third meeting is the Sprint Review, sometimes called the Demo.  This is the meeting at the end of the sprint when the Scrum team unveils the working software to the Product Owner and Stakeholders.  Here we are showing actual working code, which is the output of the 2 week sprint.  This is the chance for the organization to review the enhancement or feature and how it relates to the larger product.  If everything looks perfect, we can move the code into production or to a staging area.  But what if something doesn’t look right or doesn’t work exactly as planned?  This does not mean failure, it simply means that we need to make some adjustments and review it again.  Typically these adjustments come in the form of new user stories (requirements) that will be prioritized for the next sprints.  The ability to inspect and adapt is critical to ensure that the effort is materializing in a way that will deliver the maximum business value.  This meeting is critical to the product and ensures that the product stays on course.

Sprint Retrospective

The final meeting is the Sprint Retrospective and this is the meeting at the end of the Sprint where the team gets together to discuss what worked well in that sprint and what could be improved.  This is an opportunity for the team to acknowledge and address any emerging bad habits before they take hold.  It is also a great time to point out the good things in the sprint, such as teamwork or cross-training or problem solving.  The Sprint Retrospective is a meeting that is sometimes dismissed as too ‘touchy feeling’ for a group of hard core developers but its value is equal to or greater than the previously mentioned meetings.  This meeting is critical to the team and ensures that the team stays on course.

I found a great quote once and I didn’t note the author, so if you wrote this, please let me know so I can extend the appropriate credit.

“The Daily Stand-Up is for the sake of the sprint,

The Sprint Review is for the sake of the product,

The Sprint Retrospective is for the sake of the team.”

I love that quote because it places the appropriate emphasis on the Sprint Retrospective.  Do you care about the Sprint?  Of course.  Do you care about the Product?  Of course.  Do you care about the Team?  Of course.  Then put in your time and effort, and invest in a retrospective to strengthen the team and continuously improve.  After all, that is what Agile is all about.


One Response to Scrum Meetings

  1. […] means that the manager is not part of the team.  That is a hard position to be in.  To attend a Stand-Up meeting and not speak is difficult.  To have a suggestion for how to solve a problem, and yet be silent so […]

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