How to run a Scrum meeting? If you're asking yourself that question, you're in the right place. Scrum is a popular Agile methodology focusing on collaboration, accountability, and quick decision-making.
Daily scrum meetings are quick, focused check-ins that help teams stay aligned, identify and solve problems, and progress toward their goals. So if you want to supercharge your team's productivity, keep reading to learn how to run a Scrum meeting like a pro.
What is a Scrum meeting?
Scrum meetings are the core of the Scrum project management framework, in which the team breaks the project into smaller tasks. By doing so, they can accomplish more in less time and stay on track to meet the project deadline.
Scrum meetings regularly bring the team together to discuss the project’s progress, identify obstacles, and collaborate to find solutions. They help the team maintain a consistent focus and transparent communication.
The framework was developed for improved software development in the early 90s but proved effective in all kinds of teamwork. According to the 2022 State of Agile survey, 90% of the respondents said their teams leverage Scrum, and 78% of them reported improved visibility into the project pipeline.
What is a Scrum team?
A Scrum team follows the Scrum methodology to complete the tasks and projects. It usually consists of the following:
Scrum Master: A Scrum master knows how to lead a scrum meeting—someone who organizes all the Scrum meetings and ensures timely project completion.
Product/Project Owner: The Owner oversees the project and creates a backlog of tasks for the team. They understand the project's vision and guide the team on what, when, and how they should do things.
Development Team: The development team works on the project according to the instructions and tasks set by the product owner.
Type of Scrum meetings
There are four types of Scrum meetings:
- Sprint planning meeting
- Daily stand-up meeting (daily Scrum)
- Sprint review meeting
- Sprint retrospective meeting
Sprint planning meeting
A Sprint is a decided period in which the entire team completes the tasks. The duration of the Sprint depends on the complexity of the project/tasks.
A Sprint Planning meeting is where all the planning occurs, and the team sets a Sprint goal. The Project Owner provides the team with the list of tasks and responsibilities.
Duration: A usual sprint lasts between one to four weeks. Dedicate one hour for every week of the Sprint.
Daily Stand-up meeting (Daily Scrum)
A daily scrum meeting is where the team gathers at a pre-decided time to share updates. These meetings are kept short and to the point, mostly attended standing up (hence the name!).
Here the team reflects on the tasks they worked on the last day and what they plan to do today. If someone faces any issues, they can bring them up at this meeting.
Follow a strict Daily Stand-up Meeting Agenda to make the most of your Daily Scrum meetings.
Duration: Approximately 15 minutes.
Sprint review meeting
After completing a Sprint, the Scrum team holds a Sprint review meeting to discuss the success of the Sprint.
If the team fails to achieve the Sprint goal, they analyze what went wrong and develop strategies to avoid similar mistakes in future Sprints.
Duration: The duration can vary depending on the length of the Sprint. You can allocate one hour for every week of the Sprint.
Sprint retrospective meeting
This meeting also takes place after every Sprint, but the aim is to identify areas of improvement.
How effective was the communication, or were there any problems in collaborations? Was the Sprint goal and backlog transparent?
These are a few questions that the team discusses during the Sprint retrospective meeting.
Duration: The recommended period is approximately 45 minutes for a one-week Sprint.
How to run a Scrum meeting?
Scrum meetings are essential for keeping teams aligned and moving toward their goals.
However, they can also be a source of frustration and inefficiency, especially when they take up too much valuable time. So, how to run a good scrum meeting, you ask? Follow these steps:
- Stick to the agenda
- Don’t dwell on finding a solution
- Prepare talking points in advance
- Always be on time
- Stick to the meeting durations
- Maintain consistency
- Don’t let anyone speak unnecessarily
- Avoid reliance on the Scrum Master
- Include remote workers
- Keep meetings tech-free
Stick to the agenda
It's so easy for conversations to veer off-topic during meetings. But to run successful Scrum meetings, sticking to the agenda is essential.
In Scrum, meetings are brief, focused, and goal-oriented. Carefully craft the agenda to ensure each meeting serves its purpose and moves the team closer to achieving its objectives.
To maintain focus, keep your Daily Scrum meeting discussions limited to:
- What has the team worked on since the last meeting?
- What tasks will the team work on today?
- What are the issues they are currently facing with their responsibilities?
It helps the team understand the individual contribution of every member.
Discuss anything beyond these three questions separately at Sprint review or retrospective meetings.
Don’t dwell on finding a solution
It's vital to remember Scrum meetings’ primary focus is to provide brief updates rather than solving every problem.
It’s tempting to dive into finding a solution to a problem that a team member is facing, but it may not concern the whole team. So, why waste their time?
Acknowledge the issues, and allocate some time to discuss them later.
Prepare talking points in advance
If you want your Scrum meetings to be effective and productive, prepare some talking points beforehand.
It means taking some time before the meeting to think about what you want to share with the team and if it’s relevant to the meeting agenda.
For instance, in the case of Daily Scrum meetings, prepare the answers to the three questions mentioned above to save precious time. Do the same before other types of meetings too.
Always be on time
To run a good scrum meeting, always be on time. Punctuality is key when working in a scheduled time frame.
Join the meeting a few minutes before it starts. If someone fails to adhere to the schedule, don’t wait; start the meeting without them. They can catch up. It's fair to those who joined the discussion on time.
You can also reward punctual people by appreciating them in front of everyone. Also, call out latecomers if you must.
Stick to the meeting durations
The entire point of the Scrum framework and meetings is to do everything within the planned period.
Every meeting has a time frame it needs to follow to avoid wasting even a single extra minute.
For Daily Scrum meetings, follow the 2n + 5 formula, where n denotes the number of teammates. If the Scrum team has five members, the meeting should wrap within 15 minutes.
For the Scrum framework to do its magic, you must stick to it, no matter how hard it gets.
Don’t miss or reschedule the Daily Scrum unless necessary. If the scheduled meeting time is 9 AM, it should start at 9 AM sharp. No excuses.
Have a Sprint review and retrospective meeting after every single Sprint. It keeps the communication going and helps you figure out even minor problems, which generally go overlooked.
Don’t let anyone speak unnecessarily
It might sound like a limitation, but the Scrum team should minimize unnecessary discussions. Only one person should be allowed to speak at a time.
If the Scrum Master feels that a member is speaking off-topic, they should gently ask the member to redirect the conversation to the topic.
In case the stakeholders decide to join the meeting, welcome them. But if they have any concerns, the Scrum Master should discuss them separately.
Avoid reliance on the Scrum Master
A good Scrum Master knows how to lead a scrum meeting without stealing all the team’s focus.
Your answers aren’t just for the Scrum Master. You are telling the whole team about the progress you’ve made and the problems you’re facing. Look at your entire team when you communicate.
It fosters collaboration and promotes a sense of ownership and accountability within the team.
If a Scrum Master feels that the team heavily relies on them, it’s best to leave the meeting and let the team talk.
Include remote workers
Initially, the Scrum meetings were all about physical interactions. But today, it’s possible to have remote teams or employees. That doesn’t mean you can’t run effective Scrum meetings!
Ensure your entire team attends every Scrum Meeting, even if they do it through a voice/video call. Otherwise, they might feel left out, resulting in low team morale.
Follow meeting etiquette rules and check in advance if everyone is okay with the meeting time (they might be in a different timezone).
Keep meetings tech-free
Distractions lead to unproductive discussions.
We all love our phones, laptops, and other gadgets, don’t we? During Scrum meetings, disconnect to stay focused.
Feeling tempted to pick up our phone after hearing a notification chime is natural. So, it's best to keep team members from bringing gadgets that can cause distractions.
Laptops can be an exception if some members join the meeting remotely.
Let's wrap this up in a Scrum-tastic way!
So, there you have it—10 steps on how to run a scrum meeting. Over to you to transform your project management style from "old and creaky" to "lean and mean."
Running successful Scrum meetings is your best shot to get out of convoluted project updates. If you follow the simple steps outlined in this blog, you’ll be Scrumming like a pro in no time.
So go ahead and unleash the power of Scrum meetings: your team and stakeholders will thank you for it!