Guide to the Four Agile Scrum Ceremonies: Tame the Scrum Framework

Guide to the Four Agile Scrum Ceremonies: Tame the Scrum Framework

By Nathan Cavet
Updated: July 7, 2021, first publication: March 2021

Agile Scrum ceremonies are meetings that are key rituals, punctuating the sprints of an agile project. Discover here the importance of the scrum master, the product owner, and the development of the product in scrum events, all essential elements in project management.

An integral part of the Scrum guide, these practices allow the Scrum team to set a framework and make the development of an agile project run smoothly under the best conditions. More than just sharing information and project progress, these moments of exchange allow sharing a common vision and improving working methods.

Discover the list of the 4 different Scrum meetings and their specificities.

1. The Sprint Planning Meeting

👉 Definition

The sprint planning meeting is a meeting that takes place on the first day of the sprint. The product backlog is analyzed by the participants, who will discuss and agree on the framework and functionalities they commit to delivering at the end of the sprint.

🤝 Who attends this event?

Usually the entire Scrum team. All the important scrum roles are in attendance, including:

🎯 What is its purpose?

  • determining the sprint goal
  • choosing the user stories to create the sprint backlog
  • estimating the time required to complete the project

⏰ Like all the Scrum meetings, the sprint planning meeting is time boxed. Its maximum duration is 2 hours per week of the sprint.

💡 Some good practices to use:

  • Monitor the time and respect the time slot.
  • Break down each user story into concrete tasks.

2. The Daily Scrum

👉 Definition

The Daily Scrum is a very quick meeting that takes place every day of the sprint, usually in the morning. Each participant takes the floor in order to communicate to the rest of the team:

  • the work done the day before
  • the work they will be doing today
  • blocking points they encounter
  • important information

Its particularity? The participants stand up (that is why it is also called the daily standup meeting) and are timed. If a subject goes beyond the timing, a dedicated meeting will have to be scheduled with the people concerned.

🤝 Who attends this meeting?

  • the Scrum Team
  • the Production Team

🎯 What is its purpose?

  • circulating and sharing important information
  • promote communication within the team
  • tracking the progress of the project
  • updating the burndown chart or kanban chart

⏰ The maximum duration of the daily scrum should not exceed 15 minutes.

💡 Some good practices to use:

  • Time carefully the time allotted to each person.
  • Find a way to keep the attention.
  • Apply tips to encourage everyone to limit their time (for example, hold a wind-up position when speaking).

3. The Sprint Review

👉 Definition

The sprint review is a meeting where the project team presents the various completed deliverables to stakeholders. More than a simple presentation, it is an opportunity to demonstrate your achievements in real conditions and ensure that the product meets the needs expressed by the client.

🤝 Who attends this event?

  • the Scrum Team,
  • stakeholders,
  • customers,
  • various other individuals (managers, developers, top management, etc.)

🎯 What is its purpose?

There are various objectives for the sprint review. A few of them are to:

  • take stock of the sprint that has just ended,
  • answer questions,
  • update the backlog,
  • ensure that the product always meets customer expectations and requirements,
  • possibly add new user stories.

⏰ The maximum duration of the sprint review is 1 hour per week.

💡 Some good practices to use:

  • Prepare the meeting in advance to showcase the team’s work.
  • Anticipate questions and queries to better answer them.
  • Make sure the day before that the deliverables work for the demonstration (no problems)
  • Take careful notes of the feedback and comments

4. The Sprint Retrospective

👉 Definition

The sprint retrospective is the meeting that closes the sprint. It takes place at the very end and:

  • after the sprint review
  • before the planning meeting of the next sprint

The Scrum Team meets to take stock of the sprint that has just been completed, to learn from it, and to become even more effective in the next one. The idea is to follow a continuous improvement process.

🤝 Who attends this meeting?

The Scrum Team, that is to say:

  • the Scrum Master
  • the development team
  • the Product Owner

🎯 What is its purpose?

  • Compiling the results to identify what worked and what didn’t work, suggest product improvements.
  • Suggesting improvements on the organizational side.
  • Building an action plan and implementing changes.

⏰ The maximum duration of the sprint retrospective is 1h30.

💡 Some good practices to use:

You should:

  • give all the keys to the team so that they can be completely autonomous
  • use playful methods to animate (speedboat, starfish, etc.).

Product backlog refinement: a Scrum ceremony?

The backlog refinement (also called grooming) is not a Scrum ceremony in the same way as the sprint planning meeting, the daily scrum, the sprint review, or the sprint retrospective. It is considered as such because it usually takes place in the form of a meeting, although this format is not an obligation.

Its purpose? To take one hour per week to refine the selected backlog items, in order to provide a more accurate estimate of the time to be spent on each artifact. This makes it easier to prioritize and focus on the functionalities to be developed first and allows a better organization of the agile development. In the end, you always make sure that the commitments made are realistic.

Agile Ceremonies: the foundation of the Scrum framework

Scrum ceremonies are essential elements in the agile methodology for carrying out projects. Each step can be crucial and brings a contribution to make the final product better. It adds real value to the entire process.

More than that, Scrum ceremonies can be socialization tools for the agile team members. In a time when telecommuting is more and more present, the daily scrum allows collaborators not to feel detached from the company.

So, are you ready to jump aboard the agile process boat?

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