How To Run Scrum Meetings

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When operating in a scrum framework, it’s important that your entire team is on the same page. As problems arise and team members are forced to re-prioritize tasks in a sprint, it’s imperative that the team is aware and still working toward common goals. One important element of ensuring everyone is on the same page is scrum meetings.

Here’s what you need to know about how to run a scrum meeting, including the types of scrum meetings, benefits, and more.

What Are Scrum Meetings?

Scrum meetings are when your developers meet to discuss different areas as they relate to sprint goals. What’s discussed during a scrum meeting will determine that meeting’s purpose — whether that be planning, a stand-up, a review, or a retrospective.

  • Planning: During planning meetings, the aim is to establish goals for the upcoming sprint.
  • Stand-up: In stand-up meetings, the goal is to ensure developers are on track. If necessary, the team re-prioritizes tasks to meet goals. Some non-essential tasks may be pushed to another sprint. Or, the general order in which tasks are done may be moved depending on unplanned work that’s arisen.
  • Review: In a review, developers showcase accomplishments from a sprint to stakeholders.
  • Retrospective: During retrospective meetings, the team evaluates whether goals have been achieved and how future sprints can be improved.

Who Usually Attends Scrum Meetings?

The people or teams who attend scrum meetings will, of course, vary from project to project and company to company. Who runs the scrum meeting will also vary depending on the type of meeting.

Generally, the people who should be attending scrum meetings include:

  • Developers: Because these are the people working on the project daily, they need to attend all scrum meetings. Developers will offer valuable input on any new work that’s arisen and offer feedback on any changes.
  • The scrum master: The scrum master will typically guide meetings. They are in charge of ensuring that sprints are on track and adhere to the scrum framework. In daily meetings, the scrum master will hear progress and suggestions from developers on needed re-prioritization of tasks. They help guide the team as needed to determine the scope of work during a sprint and ensure essential work is completed to meet goals.
  • Product owners/managers: Depending on the size of the project and company, the project owner or manager may or may not be at each scrum meeting. They may attend daily meetings or may only go to one a week to check in on progress and any needed updates. However, they should always attend meetings at the start and end of the sprint.
  • Stakeholders: Stakeholders would typically only attend a sprint review meeting when developers demo the new features added in a sprint.

Types of Scrum Meetings

Here are the kinds of scrum meetings each software development team should run.

Daily Standup

A daily standup is a brief (usually 15-minute) meeting where developers come together to discuss:

  1. What they worked on since the last meeting
  2. What they will work on up to the next meeting
  3. Any roadblocks or unplanned work

Although brief, these meetings are imperative to ensuring sprints stay on track. They help ensure developers work toward a common goal and re-prioritize tasks as necessary to complete work.

Sprint Planning

This is when the entire scrum team (and the project owner/manager) meet to discuss the goals of a new sprint. You should have a sprint planning meeting each time you begin a new sprint — whether that’s every week, every two weeks, once a month, etc.

A sprint planning meeting should:

  • Outline the tasks that should be completed for the upcoming sprint
  • Anticipate possible problems that may arise
  • Evaluate any tasks that were not completed or overflowed in the previous sprint and discuss how they affect the upcoming sprint
  • Give each developer a clear overview of their daily tasks and how their work fits into the overall project goal

Sprint Review

Some teams also have a sprint review at the end of the sprint. This may also be known as a “demo meeting.”

During this meeting, developers will give stakeholders a live demo of the new features added during that sprint and emphasize how it benefits the company’s app or website.

Developers will also discuss what their goals were, what was accomplished, what still needs to be done, and consider any feedback from stakeholders regarding the project.

Sprint Retrospective

A sprint retrospective meeting is held at the end of each sprint. This is when the scrum team discusses the outcome of the sprint, problems that arose, and possible changes for upcoming sprints.

A sprint retrospective meeting should cover:

  • Tasks that were completed successfully during each sprint
  • What went wrong, and what went well
  • How tasks could have been better prioritized, defined, or estimated
  • Steps the team will take to make the next sprint better

How To Run Scrum Meetings

Here’s what you need to know to run scrum meetings effectively.

Daily Standup

Daily standups are a quick but essential part of ensuring everyone is on target with the current sprint.

Keep It Brief

Because they’re held daily, scrum meetings should be kept short — around 15 minutes. Unless a massive unforeseen amount of work or other major problem has arisen, it’s unnecessary for it to be longer than that.

This is a great way to kick off the day and give your team an overview of a sprint’s progress since the previous work day.

Ensure Developers Discuss the Three Key Points

To keep each meeting short, on track, and ensure you discuss the necessary information, have each developer share:

  1. What they worked on the previous day
  2. What they’re working on currently
  3. Any unplanned work that arose

Adjust Prioritization of Tasks as Necessary To Meet Sprint Goals

Developers are capable and may be able to determine for themselves what tasks need to be re-prioritized to still meet the sprint goals. After all, the team should understand the essential tasks that must be completed during that sprint.

However, the scrum master may need to guide developers on how to ensure those targets are still met. And those changes should be communicated to the rest of the team.

Sprint Planning

Sprint Planning meetings are critical for ensuring your developers understand the essential tasks to complete in a sprint.

Outline Sprint Goals, But Don’t Over-Plan

During a sprint planning meeting, you need to lay out the end goals for the sprint. Rather than laying out the daily tasks on a micro level, focus on macro level, endgame planning.

This gives team members room to re-prioritize tasks as unplanned work arises.

Brainstorm Potential Problems

It’s a good idea to anticipate problems that may occur. This will help you give your team more room to re-prioritize tasks around unplanned work and have a general guide for how they could handle some of those issues.

However, it’s important also to acknowledge that you can’t — and shouldn’t — try to anticipate every single problem or bit of unplanned work that may arise. Instead, focus on the biggest risks. Be prepared and expect that not everything will go perfectly, but, with good planning, unknown issues should be small enough that they don’t prevent the team from achieving overall sprint goals.

Get Your Team Excited

During sprint planning, you want your team excited about what this means for the next stage of the project.

  • Is this the first step in building a new website or app?
  • Is this sprint where your team adds the finishing touches before launching the app?
  • Is this sprint where you implement a new feature users have been asking for?

This is where the project owner or manager should get the team eager to get started on the sprint. You also want your team to understand how their daily tasks fit into the sprint and overall project.

Whether a developer is a junior or a seasoned pro, this will help them stay motivated and excited that their work contributes to something bigger.

Evaluate Backlogged Tasks

In a planning meeting, your team should also discuss any backlogged tasks from the previous sprint that need to be prioritized in the sprint that’s beginning.

Sprint Review

In this meeting, developers should give a demo of any new features added to an app or website and showcase how they improve the app or website. They should show, rather than tell the stakeholders, what they accomplished.

They should give stakeholders a rundown of how the new features work and emphasize how these new features improve the app or site for users.

In the sprint review meeting, developers want to:

  • Give stakeholders an overview of the sprint goals
  • Demo the updates and features implemented to the site or app
  • Outline what still needs to be done in the next sprint (including backlogged tasks)
  • Analyze any existing risks as the product stands
  • Ask for and consider feedback from stakeholders

Sprint Retrospective

Sprint retrospective meetings are important as they allow your team to reflect on what went right, what didn’t, and what they will change going forward.

Evaluate What Went Right, Wrong, and What To Improve

As mentioned, sprint retrospective meetings should focus on:

  • Tasks completed successfully during the sprint
  • What went wrong, and what went well
  • How tasks could have been better prioritized, defined, or estimated
  • Steps the team will take to make the next sprint better

These points are essential to cover as it gives your software development team a strong overview of the project’s successes and roadblocks. It makes your team think critically and figure out how they can be more effective in later sprints.

Take advantage of tools like minware that give an in-depth overview of each sprint and your software development lifecycle. This empowers you and your team to see how daily work rolls up to pull requests, tickets, and sprint goals.

A sprint retrospective meeting is the perfect time to go over in-depth KPIs and analytics to learn how your team can improve. For example, minware can quickly and easily show you how the time spent on tickets compared to estimates. This shows if your team is meeting targets or needs to change processes to improve.

Offer Critiques that Help the Team Work Smarter

The scrum master, project owner or manager, and team members should all take this time to offer constructive criticism on how the team can work better in the next sprint by:

  • More effectively planning tasks to reduce risks
  • Better defining done criteria to ensure that tasks meet expectations
  • Improving team processes and communication practices
  • Better organizing work to achieve shorter cycle times and enhanced flow
  • Implementing new tools or techniques
  • Addressing technical debt that is slowing the team down

This helps the team know how they can improve their work toward that common goal to save time and unnecessary effort.

Give Praise to Developers Accordingly

A key to keeping your software development team motivated and excited about each sprint is to let them know what they did right.

If all you do is focus on what went wrong, they’ll have low morale — and won’t be looking forward to the next sprint.

Have leaders applaud individual developers and offer a chance for team members to give shoutouts to let their peers. This will help them feel valued and excited for the next sprint.

What Is the Benefit of a Scrum Meeting?

There are many benefits to scrum meetings — they ensure good communication, help everyone stay on the same page, and keep everyone motivated to finish the sprint on schedule.

At the start of a sprint, they show team members the overall goals to be accomplished in the coming weeks. At the end of a sprint, they give development teams a chance to reflect on what went right, what went wrong, and how they can work smarter to improve the next sprint.

Overall, scrum meetings benefit software development teams because they help developers understand the progress toward a sprint goal. They assess how new work that arose fits within those trajectories. It helps teams stay accountable and re-prioritize tasks as necessary to still complete the essential tasks in a sprint.

Without scrum meetings, teams would struggle to understand tasks within a sprint, know how to prioritize tasks when unplanned work arises, and see how their daily work fits within an overall project goal.

The Bottom Line

Scrum meetings are essential for keeping your team motivated and on-target with sprint goals.

Schedule meetings for the start and end of each sprint, in addition to brief daily meetings to ensure everyone is on-target as unplanned work arises.

When everyone is on the same page and knows how to work on a common goal, you can ensure your team hits those targets and successfully completes all the essential tasks for each sprint.

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