The Scrum framework defines five Scrum Events or ceremonies,
- The Sprint
- Spring Planning
- Daily Scrum
- Sprint Review Meeting
- Sprint Retrospective
The Sprint is the heartbeat of Scrum. ALL work in Scrum projects is carried out in Sprints.
Sprint is time-boxed, it can’t take more than an agreed amount of time. The Sprint is normally 1-4 weeks long.
Every Sprint starts with a Sprint Planning meetings, and end with Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective meetings (these are two separate meetings). During the Sprint, the Team conducts a short 15 minute meeting, called Daily Scrum (mistakenly referred to as Daily Stand-up meeting, at times).
The work for the Sprint is agreed during the Sprint Planning meeting. The Product Owner and the Team work together to agree the work for the Sprint. The Team does the work during the Sprint.
Once a Sprint starts there are NO changes in
- In the scope of the Sprint (it is agreed during the Sprint Planning meeting). The Team can re-negotiate the scope with the Product Owner under certain conditions, but the Product Owner can’t alter the scope of the Sprint.
- Composition of the Team. The Team remains the same throughout the length of the Sprint
- Length of the Sprint. The Sprint length is never changed once the Sprint has started.
Sprint Planning Meeting
Every Sprint starts with a Sprint Planning meeting. It is a time-boxed meeting also. For a 4-week Sprint the Sprint Planning can not take more than 8 hours (4-hours for a 2-week Sprint etc.).
It is a working session. The Scrum Master facilitates the meeting, and the whole Scrum Team (the Scrum Mater, the development Team and the Product Owner) participate in the meeting.
The Scrum Team focusses on two things during the meeting
- What needs to be done during the Sprint
- How will the Team carry out the work
First, the Team works with the Product Owner to clarify the ‘what’ question. The Team agrees on the requirements (Product Backlog Items) that need to be completed during the Sprint. The Team and the Product Owner agree on the scope of the selected items. The Team agrees on a Sprint Goal with the Product Owner.
Second, the Team works together to formulate a plan, to address the ‘how question. The Team comes up with a plan to deliver the agreed items. It normally breaks down the agreed Product Backlog Items into tasks and estimates these tasks. The Team agrees (or updates) it Definition of Done.
Now, the Team has devised a plan and goal for the Sprint. It needs to verify, continually, whether it is on track to deliver. Scrum provides a mechanism to the Team for this, the Daily Scrum.
It is a short, 15 minute meeting, conducted every day. It provides an opportunity to the Team to inspect and adapt on daily basis.
All Team members attend this meeting. Everyone answers three questions,
- What did I do yesterday?
- What am I going to do today?
- Are there any impediments or problems in my way?
The Team gains an excellent understanding of what work has been completed and what work remains by keeping the focus on what each person did yesterday and will accomplish today.
The daily Scrum is not a status update meeting. Management, stakeholders and the Product Owner may attend the meeting, but they can only listen. They can’t disturb the rhythm of the meeting.
The Daily Scrum enables the team to synchronize their work, remaining informed about the work being done across the Team and raise impediments.
A Sprint Review Meeting is held at the end of the Sprint to inspect the the work that the Team has carried out, and adapt the Product Backlog in the light of this inspection.
Like other Scrum meeting, Sprint Reviews are also time-boxed. The meeting can last a maximum of four hours for a 4-week Sprint. The whole Scrum Team participates in this meeting.
During the Sprint Review, the Scrum Team and stakeholders work together to discuss the work done in the Sprint. This is not a demo meeting, rather it is a working session.
This meeting provides an opportunity for discussing changes in the market place, the technology, or the business landscape that may affect the project. Any possible changes in the product are discussed and the Product Backlog is updated in the light of these discussions.
The Sprint Retrospective is the last meeting in the Sprint, the Sprint ends here.
It is also a time-boxed meeting. It lasts for a maximum of 3 hours for 4 week Sprint, proportionally less for shorter Sprints.
The Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the Scrum Team for continuous improvement.
The Scrum Team discusses the previous Sprint in process terms i.e. what went well during the Sprint, what didn’t go so well and what can they do to improve? The Scrum Team creates a plan for improvements for future. During this meeting the Scrum Team should identifies improvements that it will implement in the next Sprint.
Want to learn more about Agile and Scrum, check out Agile Adoption Mistakes You Must Avoid.