The 5 types of Scrum meetings and best practices

A group of co-workers talks about the 5 types of Scrum meetings and best practices.

Communication and good project management go hand in hand, but without structured face-to-face meetings, a sprint can derail and fall apart. Learning about the different types of Scrum meetings can help your team establish the sort of effective communication that’s necessary for keeping projects on track.

In this article, you’ll learn about Scrum meetings, including best practices and how to improve your Scrum meetings or project lifecycle processes.

This post will explain:

What are Scrum meetings?

Scrum is a framework based on the Agile project management methodology. Stakeholders, management, and project teams are all involved in Scrum meetings.

Scrum meetings are a vital part of a work environment that adopts the Scrum methodology. These gatherings are valuable opportunities for collecting basic information and feedback from a development team. Stakeholders use this feedback to keep teams aligned with the goals of each sprint.

A defining feature of the Scrum method is its emphasis on team collaboration and decision-making. Scrum depends on frequent face-to-face communication to allow for short working cycles.

While the Scrum framework employs several types of meetings, none are unnecessary. Every Scrum meeting or ceremony is valuable, focused, and critical to the success of a development project.

Within the Scrum methodology, a meeting is held at each step of the project development lifecycle. Every meeting is designed with a specific purpose in mind, such as gathering feedback about the recently completed sprint or planning the next cycle of work.

The most common types of Scrum meetings

Let’s take a closer look at the five core types of Scrum meetings and the purpose behind each gathering.

Sprint planning

Usually, the full team is present during this meeting, along with the product owner and the Scrum Master. The Scrum Master is tasked with streamlining collaboration and communication between team members.

However, the Scrum Master is integrated into the team, meaning they don’t function as a supervisor or manager but rather to ensure that the team adheres to the Agile methodology and stays focused on core objectives during the sprint.

The sprint planning session is overseen by the product owner at the start of every work cycle, after the review, and during the sprint retrospective. This meeting should be one of the longest Scrum ceremonies the team holds. Generally speaking, you should expect to devote two hours per week toward sprint planning.

The purpose of the sprint planning meeting is to establish the goals you and your Scrum team want to accomplish in this cycle and assess the bandwidth each team member has available.

The product owner will kick things off by reviewing each user story in the prioritized backlog. They’ll explain the potential value of each story to the technical team. Next, designers, developers, and testers will segment each user story into subtasks.

Finally, each participant will score user stories based on an agreed-upon point system. These points indicate how many resources will be required to complete each story.

Scrum meetings are valuable opportunities for collecting basic information and feedback from a development team. Stakeholders use this feedback to keep teams aligned with the goals of each sprint.

Daily standup

The Scrum Master hosts the daily standup, also known as the daily Scrum. Only the Scrum Master and their team members attend. This daily gathering gives team members a chance to review their goals and bring up any bottlenecks they’ve discovered.

As the name suggests, the daily standup happens every day and is conducted with members standing up to deliver information. These meetings need to be brief, no longer than 15 minutes.

While your team doesn’t have to host the meeting first thing in the morning, you should strive to keep the time consistent during each sprint. For instance, you may find it best to conduct the daily standup at 11:45am every day and then break for lunch at noon.

During your standup, every team member should answer three questions:

  1. What actions did I perform yesterday to contribute to our current goals?
  2. How will I contribute to sprint goals today?
  3. What roadblocks exist that could impede our progress toward existing goals?

Answering these questions requires each team member to conduct a self-assessment of their productivity and helps keep them focused on upcoming work.

Sprint review

The sprint review, also known as the sprint demo, is led by the development team. The entire Scrum team and outside stakeholders typically attend these meetings.

At this session, the developers will present the work they accomplished during the sprint. If the sprint lasted a week, the presentation should be about an hour. If your team completed a one-month sprint, the presentation could last up to four hours.

The aim here is to highlight the value the project delivers to the company and demonstrate the functionality of the deliverables. Attendees will also have an opportunity to evaluate the work and provide feedback to the development team.

Setting up a sprint review is relatively simple. First, send a detailed meeting agenda and an invitation to all relevant parties so attendees can prepare ahead of time. Once the meeting begins, the Scrum team will recap which user story items they completed and which still need to be done.

Next, the development team will discuss what went well, what problems they encountered, and what solutions they implemented. Developers will then showcase their work and field questions from stakeholders.

At the meeting’s conclusion, the product owner will discuss the product backlog to bring everyone up to speed on outstanding tasks that need to be completed.

Sprint retrospective

The Scrum Master and development team attend sprint retrospective meetings. Sometimes, designers, testers, and product owners will participate as well.

The retrospective ceremony acts as a meeting in which the team can bring up constructive criticisms of various components of the sprint itself without assigning blame to team members. The sprint retrospective typically lasts approximately 90 minutes for a 2-week sprint.

Retrospective meetings are primarily for the benefit of your Scrum team, so there’s usually no need to get outside parties involved.

During this critical evaluation process, you and your team should evaluate what went well and reflect on anything that must be improved upon to improve delivery efficiency. You should address questions such as:

  1. What went right with this sprint?
  2. What went wrong with this sprint?
  3. What could we do differently next time?

Make a note of the feedback you gather from your team so you can use these insights to optimize your delivery processes going forward.

While the Scrum framework employs several types of meetings, none are unnecessary. Every Scrum meeting or ceremony is valuable, focused, and critical to the success of a development project.

Product backlog refinement

Also referred to as “product backlog grooming,” product backlog refinement meetings are attended by some or all of the team and the product owner. During this meeting, attendees will review backlog items together to prepare for the next sprint planning session.

Backlog refinements don’t adhere to a specific schedule. As such, you don’t have to schedule them at all, but you can host as many as needed to meet your business goals.

These meetings offer a chance to add details, determine deliverables, and prioritize any tasks in your backlog. The team can consider the backlog items they fully commit to the sprint goals.

If you choose to host these optional meetings, start by having a technical discussion with the team. This discussion will ensure that the team understands the full picture of the deliverables and requirements of each backlog project. Then, begin categorizing and prioritizing backlog items based on organizational needs.

Scrum meeting best practices

Now, let’s shift our attention to some dos and don’ts that will help you keep your Scrum meetings productive and on track.

  1. Do begin and end all meetings on time. Always start every Scrum meeting on time and never push past your predetermined end time. Tightly adhering to your meeting schedule will promote better efficiency and productivity.
  2. Do ensure that meeting objectives are aligned with sprint goals. The issues discussed in each meeting must be relevant to and aligned with overall sprint goals. Staying goal minded will guarantee that each meeting is focused, valuable, and productive.
  3. Do follow the recommended time frame. When setting meeting start and end times, be mindful of recommended time limits. For instance, keep your daily standups to 15 minutes at the most and your planning sessions to two hours or under.
  4. Do prepare an agenda and stick to it. Creating and following a detailed agenda will help you address all relevant concerns within the allotted meeting time limit.
  5. Do include a virtual Scrum board to help keep meetings organized and team members informed. A virtual Scrum board can boost attendee engagement and keep everyone on the same page, especially during fast-paced meetings like daily standups.
  6. Don’t wait for latecomers. If you want to begin and end on time, avoid unnecessary pauses or delays. This may mean starting sessions without members who can’t adhere to the agenda or schedule.
  7. Don’t introduce new ideas. Designate some other day or time for this type of discussion. Scrum meetings should only discuss current work or backlog items that will be a part of an upcoming sprint.

By applying these tried-and-true best practices to your Scrum meetings, you can increase efficiency and derive maximum value from your Agile project management framework.

Help your team stay agile and on track

Learning about the different types of Scrum meetings can help your team develop the kind of effective communication that’s necessary for keeping projects on track. When you’re ready to incorporate Scrum meetings into your project management workflow, integrate Adobe Workfront for unmatched project execution.

Workfront provides out-of-the-box support for a variety of collaborative work methodologies, including Scrum. This robust platform has the tools you need to keep everyone in the loop, streamline project management, and get more work done.

To learn more about Adobe Workfront, take a product tour or watch the overview video.