What to Expect at Your First Scrum Meeting
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Have you just been asked to join your first Scrum meeting? You might be wondering what to expect and what exactly Scrum is anyway. While the name might sound confusing, the actual concept of Scrum is quite accessible. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know for your first meeting and tips for making it a success!
What is a Scrum meeting?
Scrum is an agile framework often used for software development projects. Named for rugby team formations, scrum meetings are designed to help teams collaborate, overcome obstacles, and improve their methods of working for better results. While Scrum meetings can be used for all kinds of projects (and its versatility is one of its greatest strengths), for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on scrum for software development teams.
What makes scrum different from your typical status call? It follows a specific agenda, and as Atlassian puts it , the methodology “describes a set of meetings, tools, and roles that work in concert to help teams structure and manage their work.” As a framework, Scrum helps teams break down bigger projects into smaller pieces for more effective management. The idea is to complete more work at a faster pace without sacrificing quality.
You may have heard of “sprints.” Sprints are essentially iterations. The product at hand is built according to these sprints, which work as short, defined time periods in which they work for the project is completed.
All members of the Scrum team should participate in scrum meetings. The team typically includes a Scrum master, product owner , and development team.
Think of the scrum master as the meeting facilitator and main point of contact. This role considers the overall goal for each sprint. The Scrum master helps to coordinate work, break down tasks, and overcome any blockers. In other words, it’s up to the Scrum master to keep the project moving and on track.
This role also works side-by-side with the product owner to break down epics (a significant portion of work for the project) and stories (end-user requirements) into tasks for the development team. As the facilitator of the Scrum team, the Scrum master will help to drive a consensus toward what can be accomplished during a sprint.
They facilitate daily standup or daily scrum meetings based on three key questions:
- What did you work on yesterday?
- What will you work on today?
- What obstacles are in your way?
These questions are asked not only to hold the team accountable but also to make sure each team member has what they need, the right tasks are being included, and obstacles can be quickly addressed.
The role of the product owner varies some based on the company and product at hand. This role can be completely strategic, fully tactical, or somewhere in between. Common responsibilities include:
- Overseeing sprints
- Assisting the development team
- Serving as the customer advocate during the project and representing their interests
- Prioritizing backlogs
- Servings as a liaison between the product manager and the Scrum team
- Understanding and sharing the product manager’s vision
- Translating the product manager’s vision into actionable tasks for the Scrum development team
- Helping to make sure developers are working effectively and place in the right teams
We can’t forget the team responsible for the tasks from the sprint: the development team. This group is cross-functional in nature. This team doesn’t have to be made up of software engineers alone. It may also include UX (user experience) strategists, content writers, designers, and programmers.
One key attribute of the development team is self-organization. Members are expected to make decisions needed to get the job done. It’s important that the Scrum master and product owner empower the team to do so.
You can expect the development team to:
- Complete tasks during the sprint
- Share updates, obstacles, and progress during meetings
- Prioritize transparency amongst their team during meetings
The 5 main types of Scrum meetings
There isn’t just one type of Scrum meeting; in fact, there are several.
Sprint planning session
Daily standup meetings begin with the product owner. This role is responsible for communicating their vision and ensuring the team is delivering value. The product owner should share suggestions as to how the team will complete the vision during this particular sprint.
The development team will determine how much work they complete during the sprint. Any applicable tasks in the product backlog will move to the sprint backlog. This step requires prioritization of tasks; expect to allot at least a couple of hours to sprint planning sessions.
At the end of the meeting, the team should understand sprint priorities and their responsibilities. They should also have a sprint goal and sprint backlog.
Daily standup meeting
The most common and well-known type is the daily standup. This meeting is also referred to as the standup or daily Scrum. The purpose of this meeting is to help the team prioritize work for the day and pinpoint any obstacles or distractions. Daily standups are usually held first thing in the morning for no longer than 15 minutes. The term “standup” comes from the idea that these meetings should be short enough for team members to conduct on their feet.
Scrum masters are responsible for setting the agenda, starting the meeting on time, and concluding on time. There is some flexibility with the agenda but you’ll want to include the following main points:
- Work completed yesterday that is relevant to the team
- Goals for today
- Pulse check — how close are we to meeting our sprint goals?
Daily standup meetings can feel routine, but that’s the point. By meeting regularly, you can pinpoint any areas that need adjustment and prevent the project from going off course.
During a sprint review, the team reviews the work completed so far. The Scrum Master and product owner may suggest product changes to meet the sprint goal. The team will also share their feedback about the progress made so far and identify any areas of concern.
This meeting takes place after the sprint. The word “retrospective” is key here. The team will discuss successes, failures, and ways to improve. These meetings are often held after product launches. This meeting helps to drive continuous improvement while providing a space to celebrate wins.
During the backlog refinement meeting, team members translate high-priority items in the product backlog into user stories for the next sprint. This meeting is typically held during the end of the current sprint at hand. The Scrum master will facilitate the meeting with the product owner in attendance. Backlog refinement meetings are sometimes used in lieu of longer sprint planning meetings.
The meetings should leave room for members to examine current backlog items before moving them into the sprint backlog and sprint goal.
How to lead a successful Scrum meeting
Each type of Scrum meeting has its own agenda and purpose so the facilitation of these meetings will vary. Look to the following best practices to set your next Scrum meeting up for success.
Scrum team members are busy and working toward a large goal. Show you respect their time by starting and ending meetings on time. It’s easy to waste a few minutes here and there waiting for someone to show up. While these few minutes may not seem like a big deal, they communicate the message that it’s okay to waste time. Instead, prioritize efficiency and consistency.
Have a purpose
Each meeting should have an agenda. Create your agenda around the purpose of your meeting. The agenda should be set in a way that anyone can follow. For best results, send the agenda to the team before the meeting. Finally, keep off-topic discussions in check. They only add to distractions and waste time.
Visualize your tasks
Ideally, your team will have access to a project management tool to visualize upcoming tasks, backlogs, and user requirements. Consider including this tool in each meeting to help get everyone on the same page. We recommend integrating your project management tool of choice with Vibe so you can review, comment, and annotate on the big screen in real-time.
Sprint review and sprint retrospective meetings are opportunities to formally collect feedback and discuss ways to improve. However, you can do the same after every meeting, even daily standups. Take notes on what worked and what didn’t. Do you notice a pattern emerging that needs to be addressed? Is a common obstacle coming up again and again? Make it a point to discuss these matters with your Scrum team and any other stakeholders who can help.
Now that you’ve gotten your feet wet in the world of Scrum, why not browse some tips for running even better daily stand-up meetings ? You’ll find tried and tested ideas for making the most of those 15 minutes each day.
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