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Agile Meetings: The Starter’s Guide

By 09/09/2019 No Comments

Scrum meetups play a critical role in the Agile processes for software development. These meetings are not typical. Scrum itself has been around for over two decades now, but still, not many organizations understand its nature. Agile meetings have a set structure dedicated to answering the what/why/how questions that allow project teams to cooperate effectively and produce the expected results. Should you fail to organize the scrum meetings agenda, you will have to shift dates in the calendar of releases risking a possible product value drop.

Scrum Meeting Types

Employees in big companies often complain about having “too many meetings.” Software engineers and testers, in particular, are among the least happy with regular meeting routines that steal minutes from their development activities. However, in most cases, the problem is not in having meetings, but rather in having ineffective meetings. Regular quick updates help avoid numerous issues, but when you are spending hours talking instead of doing, something is wrong.

Agile meetings are designed to reduce time-wasting problems and let developers focus on more their actual work activities. Ideally, a company should call massive meetings in one case only – to discuss the features that add value to the project. Scrum does just that. There are five main scrum meeting types:

  • Sprint planning (between 2 and 4 hours max per sprint)
  • Daily standup (15 min)
  • Sprint review (around 2 hours)
  • Sprint retrospective (around 1 hour)
  • Product backlog refinement (up to 1 hour, once or twice weekly)

These five meeting types are designed to replace standard meetings in Agile methodology and maximize the productivity of developers. In Scrum methodology, sprint is a period allocated to the development of a fragment of the final product that is ready for the client to see. It is like a mini project that has a goal, a “how-to” plan, quantity of working hours, and the final target product.

Sprint planning is the foundation for all other agile meeting types. During the first sprint, the team analyzes how much work they can do in one sprint, which often equals one or two weeks taking into consideration the features from the backlog. After several meetings, the team will be able to gauge the progress and calculate velocity.

Daily standups allow keeping up with the scheduled pace and deliver quick updates within a sprint. These meetings happen regularly at the same time and place every day with all team members taking part in them.

When sprint comes to an end, it is time to review the results. By this time, every team must present working features that don’t require any additional work. It can be a demo version, though. Main purpose of this meeting is to separate “things done” from “to be done.”

The sprint retrospective is one of the least intensive scrum meeting types because developers take time to discuss their work during the latest sprint focusing on what worked, what didn’t go as planned and what needs improvements. It helps the team find new solutions that will help them reach the final goal.

As for product backlog refinement meetings, it is rather simple: remove items done, add new things to the sprint, update old criteria and descriptions, analyze the items in the sprint, set priorities. Refinement sessions are usually rather short.

Scrum Meeting Template

Depending on the type of meeting you might need more or less time for preparations. Daily standups or refinements don’t take as much time as sprint reviews or initial planning. Nevertheless, it does not mean that you should pay less attention to smaller meetings. Each type of scrum meetings is equally important to keep you on the right track.

To help you with your preparations, we are happy to share our scrum meeting template designed by professionals who led and attended hundreds of agile meetings. Follow the paragraphs in this template to organize your meetings better. You will learn to focus on the key aspects and keep track of items that require updates. Turn your scrum meetings into an invaluable tool for your development process.

Download the scrum standup meeting template free now.

Scrum Meetings Agenda

Scrum meetings agenda has been around for over two decades now. There are tons of best practices and useful tips that can make you more efficient.

Agile standup meeting template will help you spend less time preparing and make your meetings quicker and more efficient. To prevent your sessions from falling into chaos, develop a healthy rhythm that will set the tone of the meeting with the following questions:

  • What did you do since our last meetup?
  • What are your plans for today?
  • Are there any difficulties or blocks you face that demand immediate solution?

Repeating these questions at your agile meetings will make sure everyone knows what to do. During the meeting, your team should face each other to avoid being distracted by side conversations with others. Highlight the team member that is talking. Doing so will minimize the chances of someone interrupting the presenter. You can introduce a “speaker’s token” to put the person in the spotlight. It can be any object. Use it to “mark” the person who is currently speaking. When the person with the token speaks, others remain silent. Also, ask everyone to put their phones on mute or leave them behind.

People often tend to ramble or dig deeper into their problems while answering questions. Rambling is the first indicator that the speaker came unprepared. The leader’s task is to pull them out of this state. Without answering important questions, you are just wasting everyone’s valuable time. Remind the person to stay on track and focus on the items that are important for the team and project.

…And One More Thing

The nature of scrum meetings makes them more demanding in comparison with all other types of meetings. Using modern meeting software to keep everything neatly organized in one place can help you improve efficiency. Try yoyomeeting – the Office 365 meeting add-in for free! It was developed to help people schedule, take notes, report, and set action items. Start your free trial right now and improve your work life!