Scrum meetings are popular with software developers for a reason: they’re short, fast, and effective compared to other types of meetings you might encounter at work. But a good scrum meeting doesn’t just happen. There are rules to follow, notes to take, and several different scrum meeting formats to choose from.
Here’s everything you need to know about scrum meetings: what they are, who should attend, and how to use the right tools and templates to run one.
What Is a Scrum Meeting?
A scrum meeting is a type of meeting that forms a key part of the scrum methodology, a subset of the agile project management technique. It’s held by a development team on a recurring basis, and is sometimes called a daily standup meeting because it usually takes place at the beginning of each work day.
Scrum meetings are time-boxed, which means they have a strict time limit and shouldn’t be treated as open-ended discussions. Their main purpose is to keep your scrum team members focused on their goals and communicating about what needs to get done.
The participants of a scrum meeting may include:
- The development team, or scrum team members
- The scrum master, or the facilitator of the scrum team
- The product owner, who’s responsible for seeing the project to completion and ensuring that it meets the needs of the customer or other stakeholders
Scrum meetings typically take place face-to-face (but virtual meetings are OK!) and your entire scrum team should be there. You can invite additional participants to observe the meeting and get a status update, but they shouldn’t be involved in the discussion.
4 Different Types of Scrum Meetings
Depending on how you apply the agile framework, you may hold several different types of scrum meetings (or “scrum ceremonies”) during the product development process. Here are the four main types of scrum meetings in the scrum framework:
Daily Scrum Meeting
Time required: 15 minutes per day
The daily scrum meeting, or daily standup, is the core of the agile scrum methodology. This type of meeting should happen every day — ideally at the same time and place, and with the entire scrum team present — before any work gets done.
Daily standup meetings only last 15 minutes, so they aren’t an opportunity for in-depth planning or discussion. The main objective is to find out where everyone is at, identify any impediments to progress, and make minor changes to the plan.
Keep your meeting short and sweet by focusing on these three questions:
- What did you do?
- What will you do?
- What’s stopping you?
Although the scrum master is technically the one running the meeting, it’s more of a round-robin in which each member of the development team shares an update.
Sprint Planning Meeting
Time required: 2 hours per week of sprint
The scrum methodology revolves around sprints, a short period of time (say, two weeks to a month) during which developers work together to achieve a sprint goal. But where do sprint goals come from? Sprint planning sessions, of course!
This type of scrum meeting can be longer than a daily standup, and is when the scrum team gets together to decide what to focus on next. You’ll typically choose items from a product backlog — a list of potential products or ideas — and add them to your sprint backlog, or the tasks you’ll focus on during this particular sprint.
Sprint Review Meeting
Time required: 1 hour per week of sprint
The name “sprint review” is a bit of a misnomer; it’s actually more of a demonstration in which you show off the results of the sprint. Ideally, you’ll have a deliverable or a new interaction of an existing product. The product owner can determine if the product is ready to ship or if you should continue to work on it during the next sprint.
According to the Scrum Guide, a sprint review session should last “a maximum of four hours for a one-month Sprint” and shouldn’t be used to plan another sprint right away. Unfinished products go back onto the list of backlog items for later review.
Sprint Retrospective Meeting
Time required: 45 minutes per week of sprint
The sprint retrospective meeting is less about the product, and more about whether or not the sprint itself went well. What bottlenecks did you run into, and were there any challenges along the way? How could you do things differently next time?
You should hold a retrospective even if the sprint went smoothly: the beauty of the agile methodology is that you can make small and frequent changes to your workflow after every sprint. You don’t have to wait for the entire organization to catch up!
Everyone on the team should weigh in during this meeting, and you can highlight any action items in your meeting notes to implement later.
How to Run a Scrum Meeting
The great thing about running a scrum meeting is that it practically runs itself. Because scrum meetings are so standardized, it’s easy to make them a part of your daily routine. Still, that doesn’t mean you can skip key steps like creating a meeting agenda, taking good notes, and documenting action items.
Follow these four steps to run an effective scrum meeting:
1. Refine your backlog
Sometimes, the items on your backlog are too big to be completed within a single sprint. Have regular backlog refinement meetings to break these items down into smaller parts, that way they’re ready to go the next time you have a sprint planning session.
The more precise the items on your backlog, the better: make sure they all have a clear description, priority level, and estimate of the amount of work required.
2. Create a meeting agenda
Since every standup meeting has the same format, you don’t have to create a meeting agenda from scratch each time. Simply create one meeting agenda template and use it for all of your daily standup meetings. Create additional templates for sprint planning meetings, sprint reviews, and sprint retrospective meetings.
Even if a meeting feels routine, sending out a written agenda can help participants think about what they’re going to say ahead of time and follow along during the meeting. It’s especially important for time-boxed meetings, since a good meeting agenda can help you stick to your time constraints.
3. Ask the right questions
Running a scrum meeting is all about keeping it simple and helping your team members get on the same page. It isn’t a hierarchical meeting in which team members deliver a status update to the scrum master, or a problem-solving meeting in which everyone weighs in on how to overcome an obstacle.
Rather, it’s about making sure everyone knows what everyone else is up to and how it contributes to the sprint goal.
For example, at the daily standup, ask each team member what they did the day before, what they plan to do today, and what obstacles they’re facing. Problem-solving (if there is any) should happen after the meeting, and only with the relevant team members, to avoid going over time and slowing other participants down.
4. Use automation to take notes and create action items
Note-taking is an essential part of any team meeting, but it gets tricky when everyone is expected to participate. Who’s job is it to take notes during a daily standup meeting? Is it the scrum master’s job to take notes and facilitate?
One thing to remember is that scrum meetings aren’t status meetings: You don’t have to write down absolutely everything. Sure, you’ll need to document action items and make note of any obstacles, but you don’t have to take official meeting minutes.
One solution is to use a tool like Anchor AI to take automated notes for you. This saves you from having to designate any one team member to take written notes; plus, Anchor AI can automatically identify action items and add them to your to-do list.
Streamline Scrum Meetings With Anchor AI
Originally, scrum meetings were literally “stand up” meetings in which team members stood up in the office every morning to report on their progress toward the sprint goal. But with the rise of remote and hybrid work models, it’s more and more common for scrum meetings to happen in a virtual format like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Tools like Anchor AI make virtual meetings a breeze by using artificial intelligence to take notes and summarize key points. Plus, you can use the Auto-Tasks feature to automatically create an action item with an assignee and a due date based on what you went over in your scrum meeting.
Sign up for free or contact the team to learn more!