Scrum ceremonies help bring structure and improvements to your Sprints. However, as you set out on the Scrum journey they may be a bit confusing. So, let’s look over what they were intended for and how to run them in the most effective manner.
If you want to know more about Scrum itself, check out this post first:
What are the Scrum Ceremonies?
Scrum ceremonies are 5 specific events that happen in each iteration, during which the Scrum Team delivers a product Increment.
The Scrum ceremonies are designed to help increase transparency and effectiveness in the team. To do so, they define a clear description of how long they should last, who should attend, and what is the goal for each ceremony.
While there is some flexibility to these rules, Scrum Teams should be conscious of sticking to the time limit. According to the Scrum guide, running over the upper time limit means the team is either ineffective in Scrum or possibly too large. The time limits provided in this post, are the maximum values for teams running a 4-week Sprint. If you are working in shorter Sprints, the time allocated to each ceremony should be adjusted accordingly.
Sprint is the largest and most important of the Scrum ceremonies, as everything else happens within it. The other 4 Scrum ceremonies always happen within the Sprint.
The Scrum Team defines their work pace by Sprints – as soon as one Sprint is completed, the next begins. Which makes it easier to estimate and predict when additional value toward the Product Goal will be added. (More on story point estimation)
Ideally, there should be no changes to the scope of the Sprint once it has begun. However, if there is a need and the Product Owner allows for this, changes could be implemented or a Sprint could be canceled altogether.
Participants – Scrum Team
Time-box – 4 weeks
Goal – Potentially shippable product Increment
The first Scrum ceremony that happens within the Sprint is Sprint Planning. This is a meeting held to pull the highest priority items from the Product Backlog (more on Scrum artifacts) and plan their execution. To do so, the team divides them into smaller tasks, estimates their complexity, and assigns estimations.
The team should only add as many items, as it is possible to complete during the duration of the Sprint. Anything outside this limit is left for the following iteration.
To prepare for the Sprint Planning, the Product Owner performs Backlog Refinement and prioritizes its items. (More about this further in the post)
Participants – Scrum Team
Time-box – 8 hours
Goal – Completed Sprint Backlog
Steps to applying Agile for non IT teams.
Daily Scrum is the only of all the 5 Scrum ceremonies that happens daily. This meeting is held to quickly inspect progress towards the Sprint Goal.
Each team member gives a short update on what they have been doing and identifies any issues they have encountered. Then, if needed, the team can adjust the Sprint Backlog in order to meet the Sprint Goal.
Participants – Developers (Scrum team members without the Product Owner and the Scrum Master)
Time-box – 15 minutes
Goal – Sprint Backlog adjustments required to meet the Sprint Goal.
Sprint Review is a Scrum ceremony that happens at the end of each Sprint. Here, the Scrum Team presents their completed work to the key stakeholders and collects their feedback.
This is an important ceremony, as it helps the team evaluate their work together with their clients and make adjustments for future Sprints. As such, creating the most valuable product with their efforts.
Participants – Scrum Team and the key stakeholders
Time-box – 4 hours
Goal – Collecting feedback and making Product Backlog adjustments.
More on the concept behind Definition of Done.
Sprint Retrospective is the last Scrum ceremony that happens during the Sprint. Here, the Scrum Team sits down to reflect on their process and identify what should be improved in the future.
Using various questions, they use this time to discuss, find solutions and decide what process changes will be implemented during the next Sprint.
Participants – Scrum Team
Time-box – 3 hours
Goal – Agreed upon improvement added to the next Sprint’s Backlog.
Monitor current progress through Agile Burndown charts.
Product Backlog Refinement
While not an official Scrum ceremony, Product Backlog refinement is an important event that happens during the Sprint as well. During this event, the Product Owner reviews the Product Backlog, adds new items, and reprioritizes the whole list to update the Scrum Team on the highest priorities.
Product Backlog refinement can happen as a solo effort or could be held together with some of the stakeholders and team members. Depending on whether they would be able to provide important additional information during this meeting.
This Scrum ceremony helps take in the stakeholder feedback, changes in the market and ensure the Product Goal meets all the requirements.
Participants – Product Owner
Time-box – Undefined
Goal – Prioritized and updated Product Backlog
If you are interested in more information on the agenda and questions to ask during these meetings, check out this post:
Learn more about the Evolution of Agile.
How to Keep Scrum Ceremonies Effective?
Ready to get going? Here are a few tips on how to keep these Scrum ceremonies short and to the point at all times.
- Stay under the time box limit. The time boxes mentioned above are the upper limits of your evets. Do not aim to meet them, instead aim to stay under.
- Stick to the topic of the event. It may be tempting to start discussing related issues, but leave them for an appropriate time and place to not extend your ceremony.
- Only invite people that need to be there. There is a reason why the Scrum guide specifies which team members should take part in each ceremony. This keeps them effective and saves time for other team members.
- Use an effective Scrum tool. Take advantage of Scrum software and make your colaboration efforts and Scrum ceremonies easier to plan and execute.
Ready to start? Use Teamhood to make your Scrum ceremonies more effective.
Teamhood is a visual Scrum project management tool that will allow your team to track progress and collaborate easily. Use the built-in templates and Agile project management features to run you Scrum ceremonies with ease.
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