What Are the Scrum Meetings, and Do You Have to Hold All of Them?

In industry, Scrum teams have four meetings, or rituals, per sprint: Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective. The Planning meetings is self-explanatory, and the Review meeting is essentially a demo of the work completed in the sprint to internal and external stakeholders. Of course, Agile Faculty might choose to use all or none of the ritual meetings, but I find the Daily Scrum and Retrospective meetings most useful in my faculty work.

The Daily Scrum is a stand-up, 15-minute meeting in which each member of the team reports on three questions:

  • What have I done since we last met to work toward our team commitments?
  • What am I working on today to work toward our team commitments?
  • What might be keeping me from completing our commitment (or where could I use some help)?

Conversation is limited to only the answers to these three questions from each team member because Daily Scrum, or “stand-up,” is a commitment meeting rather than a status meeting. These questions remind the team that they are all working toward the same goal and they can help each other achieve it. Agile Faculty can use Daily Scrum meetings with students working on team projects, research collaborators, service project groups.

I have, on occasion, used the Daily Scrum questions on myself, just to reaffirm my goals and review my progress. If I’m stuck, I can articulate that to myself and determine who and how to ask for support.

I love Retrospective meetings because rather than focusing on product, these meetings review the success of current process. Teams meet to discuss how well they collaborated over the previous sprint, held each other accountable and supported each other, practiced trust and respect. Based on that discussion, they commit to one or two specific ways to improve their teamwork in the next sprint.

There are lots of different activities you can use for a lively and honest retrospective. One of my favorites is the starfish because it focuses on a spectrum of activities rather than just good and bad. The website Fun Retrospectives has a host of different activities as does the website of this Agile consultant.


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