The Definitive Guide to Scrum Ceremonies or Scrum Meetings

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS GUIDE:

  1. What is Agile Scrum Ceremonies or Meetings?
  2. What are the types of Scrum Ceremonies or Meetings
  3. Sprint Planning
  4. Daily Scrum Standups
  5. Sprint Review
  6. Sprint Retrospective

What is Agile Scrum Ceremonies or Meetings?

To answer what Scrum Ceremonies or Meetings are, let us first take a step back.

Scrum is an agile software development framework that lets you build and deliver value to customers iteratively by running Sprints, where the team timeboxes a collection of work items and completes them.

To ensure that a Sprint runs smoothly and the team doesn’t lose focus, multiple meetings, known as Scrum Ceremonies, are held during the lifecycle of a Sprint.

It is divided into the three main categories — Scrum Roles, Scrum Ceremonies (also known as events or meetings) and Scrum Artifacts.

Scrum roles define the responsibilities of each person who will be in the Scrum team. Primarily, it will involve these three roles:

  • The development team: a group of individuals who have the technical knowledge to build useful software.
  • The product owner: who prioritizes product improvements and works with the development team and other stakeholders.
  • The scrum master: who facilitiates multiple the team’s work through processes.

Scrum artifacts includes three things.

  • The product backlog: a ranked list of items that is requested by the customer or a stakeholder in the product.
  • The sprint backlog: is derived from the product backlog, but contains only the prioritized items that will be worked on in the current sprint.
  • The product increment: is the sum of all the Product Backlog items that was done during a Sprint and the value of the increments of all previous Sprints. What this means is, whatever was the result of the sprint is an increment. Of course, for it to be considered as an increment, it should first meet the pre-defined definition of done i.e. the end result should be a usable product can be “shipped”.

Scrum ceremonies are organized meetings designed to organize the work of a sprint, so that you can quickly adapt to the changing needs of the software development and stay in sync. By running scrum ceremonies, teams can ensure what they build is useful to customers and ultimately move the needle for the business.

If you are someone who questions the importance of several meetings, I can understand and I don’t blame you.

There are creatives - designers, marketers, and developers - who cringe at the thought of attending a meeting. And then, there are product managers, engineering leaders, and executives who see value in attending several meetings every day.

To be fair, both camps have some rather compelling points.

Run meetings for the sake of it, you risk frustrating your team. From unplanned agendas to “why am I in this meeting?” and everything in between, you’ve heard them all…

Banish meetings altogether, you’ll end up with a team optimizing on low-value bugs when you’ve got important features prioritized.

If you have perfect people and they are perfectly misaligned, the result is zero progress. ~ Dharmesh Shah, Founder at Hubspot

So, how do you run meetings that brings your team together and doesn’t bore them to death?

Scrum meetings aims to do just that - By running meetings at different phases throughtout the lifecycle of your Sprint with specific goals.


What are the types of Scrum Ceremonies or Meetings

There are four types of scrum ceremonies or meetings:

  1. Sprint Planning
  2. Daily Scrum
  3. Sprint Review
  4. Sprint Retrospective

The good news is, most teams follow a variation of these meetings already. Unfortunately, they are neither structured nor productive.

The internet is overflowing with blog posts that cover the basics from why you should send an agenda before meetings, to how to conclude a meeting on time. But the key to getting maximum bang out of each scrum meeting isn’t just about sending an agenda before the meeting.

With each scrum meeting focussed on achieving a specific goal, everything from who attends it to best practices will vary.

So, how do you make each of your scrum ceremonies productive, effective, and efficient?

Let’s jump in and find out.


Sprint Planning

A Sprint Planning Meeting is held before the Sprint begins. All members of the scrum team are involved in the sprint planning meeting to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

The goal of the sprint planning meeting is to prioritise user stories in the backlog, come up with a goal, and align the team on the goal. This is achieved collaboratively, but it is the product owner’s responsibility to come with the highest priorities of the product (at least for the next two sprints). This will then be further prioritised to decide which user stories will be worked on in the coming sprint.

The sprint planning meeting is timeboxed to eight hours for a one month sprint.

This allows the rest of the team to ask questions during the Sprint Planning meeting, estimate with better accuracy, chime in with suggestions, and ultimately help the team to come up with sprint goal.

Related helpful resources:


Daily Scrum Standups

The Daily Scrum (or Standups) meeting happens every day for 15 minutes after the Sprint begins. It is held to ensure that everyone knows the progress of the Sprint and is always in-sync to enable the team to course-correct if needed.

It is held for all members of the Development Team and is facilitated by the Scrum Master.

During the Daily Scrum meeting, each member of the development team answers mainly three questions:

  1. What did I do yesterday?
  2. What will I do today?
  3. Are there any impediments to continue working?

Related helpful reading:


Sprint Review

The Sprint Review meeting is held once the Sprint is completed, but before it is pushed to production. This meeting is held by the Development Team, Scrum Master, and the Product Owner with other stakeholders invited to take part.

In this meeting, the Scrum Team will demonstrate to the stakeholders what they built and achieved in the sprint. The stakeholders who are invited will then give feedback to the team and help the team measure the final product against the initial sprint goal.

The sprint review meeting is two hours long for a two-week sprint.

Related reading:


Sprint Retrospective

Sprint Retrospective meeting is held after the Sprint review meeting. The scrum master and the development team participate in the meeting with the goal of improving themselves for future sprints.

For a one month sprint, the sprint retrospective meeting lasts for three hours.

The scrum team reflects on their recently concluded sprint and tries to answer:

  1. What went well during the last sprint
  2. What could have been done better in the last sprint

The team usually tries to come up with what they’d like to do differently in the next sprint by trying to understand the above two points. Typically, when trying to come up with actionable takeaways, only one or two aspects are changed in order to help the team improve processes gradually. After all, when rapid changes occur it can be more detrimental than being helpful.

Related helpful reading:



Vikash Koushik

Vikash Koushik

Product Marketing at Zepel.io