What are the Types of Scrum Ceremonies and Their Best Practices?

    Scrum includes a series of special meetings, commonly referred to ceremonies, which assist to facilitate all the methodology’s processes.

    Scrum strongly enforces the goals and time boxes for everything, including the ceremonies. This post covers these outstanding events and identifies the goals for each as well as their necessity. Take 7-8 minutes to figure them out.

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    Meetings culture is back


    Business meetings are essential to the proper functioning of projects or companies. These kinds of activities are often despised but still are perceived as helpful to the progress of projects.

    Often employees spend a lot of time attending meetings and like to complain about it. That's why one of the goals of the meeting moderator is to make employees sure that the meetings are a productivity tool, that the team should learn to use better.

    According to one of the statistical researches, 15% of a company’s time is spent in meetings. Another study proposes 37%. In fact, this depends on the industry, companies' objectives, the number of employees, and many other factors. In any case, companies do not strive to say goodbye to meetings, as these business events can bring real benefits.

    If we are talking about the Scrum culture, then, in this case, meetings are mandatory elements of the concept. The ceremonies in Scrum directly affect the entire team’s performance, its productivity, and efficiency.

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    Scrum ceremonies easy explained


    At first sight, Scrum is quite simple but it can be difficult to master. This Agile approach requires self-organizing teams that can quickly solve challenges in unpredictable environments. Holding Scrum meetings provides regular communication and transparency in these conditions.

    All Scrum events are inherent elements of the Agile software delivery process. Scrum masters set time boxes for each group meeting according to the length of the sprints. That’s why people sometimes name them Scrum master ceremonies.

    5 Scrum ceremonies that constantly empower your Agile team


    There are 5 ceremonies of Scrum (four of them are standard and the backlog refinement is considered as additional — aimed to reduce current impediments). All the meetings ensure that everyone in the team (a Scrum Master, Product Owner, and developers) is in-sync.

    1. Sprint Planning


    Everything starts with planning. This is the time when the team meets and decides what they need to complete in the coming sprint.

    During this meeting, the Scrum team and product owner negotiate user stories and other items of a product backlog. The team will attempt to deliver them at the end of the sprint. The product owner focuses on the most important items that will empower business and generate the most return on investment.

    It's crucial for the team to determine its capacity throughout the negotiating process in sprint planning. They estimate the number of story points to attribute to a backlog item that will help to define the relative amount of effort to complete every backlog item.

    Breaking up work into small chunks is a key component of Scrum. If implementing a particular feature requires more than 2 weeks, you need to break it up into smaller features before you can start on it.

    Fortunately, today you may use many software solutions for planning work. An appropriate project management tool will offer convenient Scrum boards for sprint planning with a helpful set of additional functionality.

    2. Daily Stand Up


    The daily standup is a short (usually 15-minutes) meeting that makes sure everyone knows what’s happening. This daily event ensures transparency across the team.

    The detailed status meeting is rather light and fun, but also quite informative. It consists of every person speaking and answering the following questions:

    • What did I accomplish yesterday?
    • What will I do today?
    • Am I blocked by something?

    The reason why the meeting is a “Stand up” is connected with the fact that people who are standing feel uncomfortable. So they less likely distracted with unrelated topics. No laptops, notes, important emails, and urgent issues.

    A Scrum master should attend the event to help facilitate possible impediments if they are reported. Team members should report to the rest of their team members. It's highly recommended for product owners to attend the daily standup.

    The Stands up should be quick to not waste extra time. If you want to discuss long global issues, it's better to appoint a separate meeting with the people involved.

    3. Sprint Review Meeting


    At the end of each sprint, the product owner, scrum master, and the team are meet together to hold a Sprint review and showcase their work. Stakeholders may also be invited.

    Each participant reviews new features or whatever they worked on during the Sprint. They demonstrate the finished work and can provide and get feedback from the stakeholders.
    Unlike other Scrum events, this review can last as long as it takes to demonstrate all the work done by the team.

    In general, these demos communicate the value and nature of your work to your team members.

    4. Sprint Retrospective


    After the release is finished, it’s high time to discuss what worked and what did not, what mistakes were made and what lessons were learned. The main goal of the retrospective is to make the next Sprint better.

    There should be no blames during the discussion. You may anonymize your claims, but after all, we all make mistakes and every mistake is an opportunity to learn something.

    The retro-meeting includes the scrum master, the product owner, and the development team.
    Scrum strives to continuous improvement and the retrospective meeting is the event that makes sure the product and development culture is constantly improving.

    5. Backlog Grooming


    Most Scrum teams participate in a Backlog grooming meeting (also known as a refinement) once per sprint. This ceremony is a recurring event for Agile development teams.

    The key goal of the refinement session is to ensure that the next few sprints worth of user stories are prepared for Sprint Planning. It also guarantees that the right stories are prioritized. During the Backlog Grooming, teams usually:

    • discuss user stories
    • break down large user stories into smaller ones
    • answer any questions to smooth out any ambiguity
    • ensure that upcoming user stories meet the definition of readiness

    Regular arranged refinement sessions keep the overall health of the backlog in check.
    By the way, we've recently shared some insightful thoughts about how to maximize the value of product backlog grooming.

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    Are there other meetings outside Scrum ceremonies?


    Sometimes people involved in a Scrum team may attend a range of meetings outside of the ceremonies described above. That's ok.

    However, a large number of attended meetings can be harmful, because the employee will really spend a lot of working time on meetings (necessary and unnecessary). By the way, very often we cannot avoid participating in such meetings. For example, team meetings run by HRs, bug triage meetings, global product positioning meetings, etc.

    That's why some companies may replace some of the must-have Scrum meetings with ordinary emails or special spaces created on the server or apps.

    Takeaways


    Scrum ceremonies and artifacts are aimed to support the Scrum team in delivering on its objectives.
    All these events and activities are important to Agile software development teams and should be fulfilled to ensure team performance and effectiveness are at their peak. Do not hesitate to spend time on these meetings. Anyway, practice shows that they are worth being held regularly.
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