Learn the Events of the Scrum Framework
Now that you understand the roles of the Scrum Framework, let's look at the dynamics of how the team works together by organizing a defined set of Scrum events.
Overview of the Scrum Events
There is a set of prescribed events in Scrum, each serving a specific purpose. These events are designed to reduce the need for other events (Scrum does not specify that). They are all timeboxed, which means that they have a maximum length.
There are five main Scrum events:
Apart from the Sprint, the other events are an opportunity for transparency, inspection, and adaptation. They allow teams to examine what is working and to improve efficiencies. Therefore, not scheduling these other four events would result in less inspection, less transparency, and less opportunity for the team to improve.
Remember that Scrum is based on empirical process control theory. The three pillars of this theory are: 1. Transparency 2. Inspection 3. Adaptation
1. The Sprint
The Sprint is the heartbeat of Scrum. It is the cadence of the team and should be respected by everyone involved with the Scrum Team.
A Sprint is usually 2 or 3 weeks (although 1-week or one calendar month Sprints are acceptable). The team will attempt to begin, finish, and release work during this time. The team should maintain the Sprint length unless it decides to experiment with a different one. Sprints should not be terminated early or extended to fit a team's needs. The constraining nature of the Sprint timebox is one of its biggest benefits.
Some characteristics of Sprints:
Each Sprint lasts for the same fixed duration (e.g., 2 weeks). The next Sprint begins immediately after the previous one. The team attempts to begin, work on, complete, and release shippable features. The Scrum Team creates a Sprint Goal as the single objective for the Sprint. They then create a Sprint Backlog, which which they will use to achieve the Sprint Goal.
The Scrum Sprint
2. Sprint Planning
Creating a Sprint Goal and selecting which items to work on during the Sprint is done during the Sprint Planning meeting. Sprint Planning is timeboxed to a maximum of eight hours for one calendar month Sprints.
My personal experience is that 2-3 hours is a good length of time for Sprint Planning.
Sprint Planning focuses on answering the following questions:
What can we deliver in the upcoming Sprint? How will we achieve the necessary work to deliver these items?
The Product Owner begins the planning session by discussing the Spring objective (the Sprint Goal) and which items, if delivered, would meet the goal.
The team discusses how it will deliver these backlog items. It typically does this by breaking the items into smaller tasks and estimating them. By crafting a plan for delivering these items, the team will then determine if it can confidently deliver the goal.
Only the team can decide how many items to choose for the Sprint (i.e., accepted into the Sprint Backlog) in this way. No manager or Product Owner can tell the team what it must achieve.
The Product Owner will discuss these items with the team during planning, answer questions, and often make trade-offs. For example, perhaps a feature cannot fit into the Sprint, but part of the feature could be done. The Product Owner would decide whether that is a good approach. At the end of the meeting, the team agrees and commits to achieving the Sprint Goal through delivering a Sprint Backlog plan.
Note that once the team chooses a set of items as the Sprint Backlog, the Product Owner should not change the Sprint Goal. Doing so would invalidate the team planning. Although they can clarify the scope and re-negotiate as the team learns more during the Sprint (e.g., a certain task is more complicated than expected), the idea is to keep the priority and focus constant. If there are substantial changes in scope, it is possible to cancel a Sprint, but this rarely happens.
3. Daily Scrum
The Daily Scrum is a meeting of no more than 15 minutes where the team inspects their progress towards the Sprint Goal and decides if they need to make any adjustments to their plan (i.e., the Sprint Backlog). The secondary purpose of this meeting is to listen for opportunities to help teammates while requesting help if needed.
Some organizations may call this meeting a “daily stand-up,” but the actual name is the Daily Scrum. Standing up isn’t mandatory, nor is it always helpful!
It is more common to have this meeting in the morning, although some teams working across multiple time zones may schedule it for later in the day. The best time is when the team finds it useful and effective.
It is important that the meeting takes no more than 15 minutes. If it goes longer, the team should consider why they cannot keep this meeting within the timebox. One possible reason is that members are facing an barrier. The team should discuss this and how best to overcome it. If they cannot remove the impediment on their own, the Scrum Master may need to assist.
A Scrum Team member will often refer to an impediment as a "blocker."
Ideally, Daily Scrums will be more valuable if they are held in the same place and at the same time. The meeting can be held in front of a Scrum Board if one is used. That way, members can update the board and see the status of the whole Sprint in one place.
A Daily Scrum often happens at a progress/status board!
Benefits of Daily Scrum Meetings
Although the benefits of keeping each team member up-to-date may seem obvious, it is worth looking at how the Daily Scrum can positively impact the team’s performance:
Each team member can listen to how their teammates are doing in achieving the Sprint Goal. It allows them to offer help or modify the plan as needed. Team members will know if someone is working on something that might be affected by what they are currently working on. Team members can give input on other team members' tasks, helping them if they are blocked or stuck. Each team member can surface blockers that can quickly be remedied. When the team works together, it creates a self-managing culture, solving problems together and unblocking each other. You may hear conversations such as “If you pick up that task, then we can get this done,” or “I can help with this if you're stuck or if the team needs it."
4. Sprint Review
At the end of a Sprint, the Scrum Team will hold a Sprint Review to show key stakeholders the completed items. Many organizations choose to have an open invitation for Sprint Reviews. Anyone who is interested can watch the team demonstrate what they have built and discuss how the Product Backlog adapts with the Product Owner. Generally speaking, the Product Owner will know who to invite to the Sprint Review, especially initially.
Holding Sprint Review at the end of the Sprint has many advantages:
It gives the team confidence to show their work and receive feedback from the stakeholders. Stakeholders will see features before they are released. This allows them to give input if they see something seriously wrong or misunderstood before it affects customers. Feedback can come from many sources if the many different groups in the organization are invited. For example, someone on the support team, marketing team, or similar, can deliver valuable insight to help the Scrum Team. When the Scrum Team knows they have an upcoming Sprint Review, it encourages members to keep value in mind while working.
5. Sprint Retrospective
Scrum Teams will hold a Sprint Retrospective meeting at the end of each Sprint so that all members can give input on what is working well and what is not. The team can discuss any topic in the spirit of continuous improvement at the Sprint Retrospective. This could be how the team communicates, collaborates, solves problems, engages customers, or anything else!
The events aren't the only thing that characterizes Scrum; next, we will explore some key artifacts that help the team share information in Scrum.
Additional Resources • Tips for . • Some that make retrospectives more interesting.
Scrum prescribes five events to support empiricism and the Scrum values. The five Scrum events are the Sprint, Sprint Planning, the Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and the Sprint Retrospective. The primary purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress towards the Sprint Goal. The Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective are there to help review Sprint accomplishments with stakeholders (Sprint Review) and how members work as a team (Sprint Retrospective).
Are you all set with the different Scrum events? Let's now discover the Scrum artifacts!