Inevitable for all projects but still a bit of a nightmare, meetings are easily one of the most time-consuming activities for agile project managers! Although some would go as far as to say meetings are a waste of time, you have to admit, ticking the actions off is a great feeling! But you just wish it didn’t, well, suck so much time out of your day.
There are many project management methodologies, but agile project management stands out for its focus on autonomy and flexibility for better results; maximum productivity with minimum constraints which is ideal for fast-moving businesses. Agile methodology meetings cater to this too and help alleviate the above mentioned ‘time suck’ from your day! They’re used to keep meetings on track, to the point and improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of a team, this keeps your overall project on track. Just like regular meetings, there isn’t just one kind, with agile working there are 5 different kinds, each referred to as a ‘scrum ceremony’.
What is a scrum ceremony or scrum meeting?
A scrum ceremony may have a strong name, but in reality, it’s just a series of meetings relevant to agile working – no gongs involved (although if you do use gongs, we would be very interested to learn more!).
A scrum ceremony is held at regular intervals throughout the agile working project cycle. These meetings are designed to help agile project management teams stay aligned and focused on the project goals, and to encourage continuous improvement through regular reflection and feedback. The scrum framework is built around the concept of iterative development, which means that the team is constantly refining and adapting their approach based on the feedback they receive. The five types of a scrum ceremony help teams to achieve this by providing a structured approach to planning, execution, review, and reflection.
The 5 types of scrum meetings for Agile project management
Effective planning is vital for a project’s success and the first ceremony for agile project management meetings is sprint agile meetings. These are held at the beginning of each sprint. During this meeting, the team decides what work they will commit to completing during the upcoming sprint. The product owner presents the prioritised product backlog to the team, and the team collaborates to define the scope of the work that will be completed during the sprint. The outcome of this meeting is a sprint backlog, which is a list of items that the team will work on during the sprint.
With agile working, and any project management methodology, it's important to set realistic deadlines, you don’t want to fall behind before you’ve even begun! Fluid sprint boards help you to visualise work as it progresses through the workflow and always keep your team in the loop. It can also help a project manager to understand the resources they have available at any given time and use points and impacts for better prioritisation and management.
The daily scrum, or daily stand-up, is usually what most people think of when it comes to agile project management meetings. Daily scrums are short 15-minute meetings at the start of each day during a sprint, with the time frame short as its designed to be efficient and effective as is the intention of agile meetings and agile working in general. The purpose of this meeting is to give the team an opportunity to discuss progress, identify any obstacles, and plan for the day ahead. Each team member typically answers three questions:
What did you accomplish yesterday?
What are you planning to work on today?
Are there any obstacles in your way?
This meeting is designed to be quick, focused and even standing up (hence the name) to ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page and the meeting is efficient as possible. Whether you’re standing up or not, daily stand-ups are useful and boost productivity and have the advantage of being done virtually too. With Fluid, you can share your customised project dashboard, so the entire team understands the project progress, increasing transparency and accountability.
The sprint review is a meeting held at the end of each sprint and is instrumental to agile project management. It’s an opportunity for the team to demonstrate the work that has been completed to key stakeholders, receive feedback on what has been done and test the progress. This feedback is then used to inform the next sprint planning meeting.
Testing of the product increment (the changes you made during the sprint) is essential to ensure the project has met the requirements it was set out to. If not, you may have to adjust your backlog accordingly. To help sift through your backlog appropriately, it’s best to have a PPM tool which is clean and simple to use. Fluid is intuitive and makes it easy to work through your backlog and move tasks to the forefront to begin working on.
The sprint Retrospective is held after the sprint review and is an important part of agile project management, as it gives the team a chance to reflect on the sprint that has just ended. The team has a meeting to discuss what went well, any pending problems, what could have been improved, and what actions they will take to improve in the future. This meeting is designed to be an open and honest conversation, where the team members can share their thoughts and feelings about the sprint.
This retrospective can be sectioned into four key takeaways:
- What went well?
- What areas could be improved?
- What commitments can be made to improve in the next sprint?
- What backlog adjustments need to be made?
To truly be able to reflect on a sprint, a project manager needs to have insights into the sprint. When recording the sprint on Fluid, you can go back and analyse the performance e.g., were goals met, were they completed on time etc. This ensures that there is merit to the sprint retrospective, and you are using true data to make informed decisions going forward – a must when it comes to agile working.
During this meeting, the project team reviews the product backlog and discusses the items that need to be added, removed, or modified. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that the backlog is up-to-date, and that the team has a clear understanding of the work that needs to be done in future sprints. The backlog refinement meeting is an optional ceremony but it’s an important one to ensure you have a sense of direction with the next sprint. It also isn’t an agile meeting that follows the sequential patter of meetings in the agile project management process. In some cases, depending on the outcome of some of the other meetings, backlog refinement may need to be addressed earlier during the sprint.
The Fluid sprint boards allow you to store your product backlog, providing clear visibility to agile working teams of all work that needs completing. Work requests can also be submitted, approved and added to the backlog to an end-to-end approval process and effective work management flow. Backlog items can easily be moved to the forefront of your board and ready for you to begin work, with any previous notes added to the work item remaining to inform your next sprint.
How long should an agile meeting be?
Agile meetings are designed to be timeboxed with the duration of each meeting being determined by the needs of the team, size and complexity of the project. If the agile project management meeting isn’t achieving its objectives or if it is taking longer than expected, the team should re-evaluate the process and adjust the duration accordingly.
- Sprint planning: Typically, between 2-4 hours for a one-month Sprint.
- Daily Scrum: 15 minutes, unless you have an XXL team! Remember, it’s only 3 key questions.
- Sprint review: Usually between 1-2 hours for a one-month Sprint.
- Sprint retrospective: 1-2 hours for a one-month Sprint.
- Backlog refinement: Between 1-2 hours for a one-month Sprint.
How agile working teams can use a scrum ceremony for productive meetings
The scrum ceremony is designed to help agile project management teams be more effective and efficient in their outcomes. To ensure that agile working is productive as it’s intended to be, there are a few key things that your teams can do during the meetings:
Stick to the timebox: Each ceremony has a set timebox, and it is important that the team sticks to these times. This helps to ensure that the meeting is focused and productive.
Engage in open and honest communication: The scrum ceremony is designed to encourage communication and collaboration among team members.
PPM software and agile meetings
A great PPM tool is useful to project teams for so many reasons, a key one in this case is its ability to achieve seamless collaboration which is essential for agile working teams. The extensive planning abilities and advanced sprint board features that Fluid possesses makes agile project management more efficient and productive.
As an all-in-one PPM software, Fluid covers all day-to-day demands of agile working, with a heavy emphasis on schedule which is ideal for organising time for a scrum ceremony. Fluid is set up to record meeting minutes from each scrum ceremony and distribute the minutes automatically with team members. Customisable dashboards are perfect for sharing with teams during a scrum ceremony to keep everyone on track.
Fluid enables you to understand sprint progress through clear visibility and transparency with all agile project management team members. Effectively handle each task in your backlog and add logic to the priority of tasks during the agile working process by allocating appropriate points of effort and impact.
There are plenty of ways that Fluid can help with agile working and making your agile meetings more effective. Drop us a message to chat about the ways we can help your agile project management team.