• Project management
  • by Krzysztof Sowa
  • 04/06/2019

Make sure your team is doing agile right with these 5 essential Scrum meetings

Communication is the backbone of successful teamwork. The most popular agile framework, Scrum, facilitates team communication through special Scrum meetings. Teams that follow this agile methodology need to plan tasks, identify risks, discuss project status, and perform other critical project tasks. However, team members may consider frequent meetings a waste…

Concise Software - Scrum meeting

Communication is the backbone of successful teamwork. The most popular agile framework, Scrum, facilitates team communication through special Scrum meetings.

Teams that follow this agile methodology need to plan tasks, identify risks, discuss project status, and perform other critical project tasks. However, team members may consider frequent meetings a waste of time. Research shows that American businesses waste $37 million on unproductive meetings.

So how do you make sure that your team makes the most of Scrum meetings?

Here are five essential Scrum meetings types together with tips on how to make each of them more efficient and rewarding for your team.

Daily standup meeting

The daily standup meeting is a short meeting organized every morning. The team uses this time to answer 3 main questions:

  • What did I do yesterday?
  • What am I doing today?
  • Is there anything impeding my progress?

The most important part of this meeting is letting people know about any roadblocks that prevent task completion. Scrum meetings occur throughout the sprint, bringing accountability to team members and offering an opportunity to identify issues in a given sprint before they become serious problems. The daily standup meeting promotes transparency, self-organization, and collaboration.

Key meeting results:

  • Identifying risks that may delay sprint completion.
  • Establishing knowledge sharing and a common understanding of objectives.

Extra tips:

  1. Take advantage of project management tools that come with collaboration features which help teams to include remote members to participate in daily standups. For example, you can use a group chat where remote team members can leave their questions, quickly share updates, and get feedback from their colleagues directly.
  2. Create a to-do list of potential roadblocks and share it with the team before the meeting begins. You will save time that way because everyone will come to the meeting already aware of the critical issues.

Sprint planning meeting

A sprint planning meeting is the most extended Scrum meeting, and it involves the software development team, the product owner, and the scrum master. During this meeting, the team commits to tasks it will complete in a given sprint. The idea is deciding on the actual tasks that can be finished within this time-boxed event.

Key meeting results:

  • Generating accurate estimates.
  • Understanding the effort required to complete tasks.
  • Enabling a discussion between the product owner and the development team about backlog items.
  • Prioritizing features to be developed.

Extra tips:

  1. Use historical performance metrics such as burndown charts to correctly estimate the time a feature will require during the upcoming sprint.
  2. Assign story points to user stories in the product backlog to determine which features need to be included in the sprint and which ones can be planned for later release.

Sprint review meeting

During this meeting, the development team shows the new software features to both internal and external users. Both the product owner and clients may be present at the meeting. The sprint review meeting is crucial because it helps all stakeholders understand the results of a given sprint. Moreover, it offers the opportunity for capturing stakeholder feedback to ensure that the sprint meets their requirements.

Key meeting results:

  • Feedback from stakeholders on feature usability after demo revision of new features.
  • Analysis of insights gained from stakeholder feedback for product scope.
  • Analysis of tasks that were completed in the sprint again what the team committed to initially.  

Expert tip:

  1. Using agile tools is a smart move because they automatically track performance metrics, including the product release burndown chart. This chart is essential because it visualizes all the completed or pending tasks at the end of the sprint. Product owners can use it to estimate the effort required to complete tasks in the next sprint and analyze the results of the current sprint.

Sprint retrospective meeting

The main objective of this meeting is discussing what the team did right and where they could improve as they go forward. The scrum master facilitates the meeting and helps teams to streamline their processes to increase their productivity and satisfaction. This meeting is critical for teams that aim to improve their performance continuously. It also introduces transparency and ownership as the team gets to celebrate their achievements and analyze their shortcomings.

Key meeting results:

  • Discussing what worked in the current sprint.
  • Identifying challenge areas.
  • Suggesting process improvements.
  • Establishing best practices to be implemented in the next sprint.

Expert tips:

  1. To make the most of your sprint retrospectives, you need agile tools that include features such as the velocity chart that helps to measure team performance and contextualize it over time. It also allows product owners to forecast the amount of work they can allocate in the upcoming sprint.
  2. To make sure that the feedback helps the team to improve during the following sprints, it’s a good idea to capture all the critical feedback points in a shared knowledge base. Such knowledge bases act as living documents that record the team’s improvements best practices and insights to be applied to future sprints.

Product backlog refinement meeting

This meeting is usually the longest among the Scrum meetings, depending on the Scrum team and events that occur between sprints. It offers the team a chance to learn what’s coming up in the sprint, evaluate story points for their size and feasibility, and make sprint planning quicker.

The meeting is led by the product owner who introduces the priority list of features for the upcoming sprints. The team gets to discuss all the items in detail to better understand the requirements. This is an opportunity for identifying the priority of features that will be developed in the upcoming sprints. Also, it’s the right moment for analyzing feature requirements and any challenges developers may face on the job.

Key meeting results:

  • Helping the team analyze feature requirements and identify challenges.
  • Introducing features to be developed in the next sprints.
  • Facilitating feedback from different stakeholders, such as the administrators and the design team.

Expert tips:

  1. Categorize backlog items with the help of a ticketing tool. Backlog refinement meetings offer new perspectives on feature updates, bug fixes, and feature development. Smart teams use a service desk solution that includes integrations with agile tools that help to categorize backlog items better and set the team’s priorities straight.
  2. Build a backlog roadmap to enable better user feedback analysis. Note that the vast majority of product backlog items are the ones that users have requested. Use the roadmap dashboard to visualize the backlog items, as well as user feedback, and prioritize features for the next sprint.

Make the most of Scrum meetings

Implementing Scrum best practices mentioned above requires seamless communication between the scrum master, product owner, and the development team. Together, they’re supposed to become one Scrum team.

With these practices backed by the right mindset, you can be sure that team members will be regularly communicating with one another, refining their understanding of the Scrum process, and channeling real self-organization.

Are you looking for a development team which is well-versed in agile best practices like Scrum? Get in touch with our consultants; we build our products following global industry standards and best practices.

 

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Krzysztof Sowa

Technical Project Manager in Concise Software with excellent developer background, especially in mobile apps (Google Certified Associate Android Developer) and automotive systems. Scrum lover & certificated AgilePM, who loves sharing their knowledge with IT communities (e.g. GDG). Husband, father and passionate photographer @ The Owls Photography.

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