Scrum - Events

Scrum Process Framework can be viewed by means of a sequence of events and the corresponding artifacts. The Scrum events are time-boxed events. That means, in a project, every scrum event has a predefined maximum duration. These events enable transparency on the project progress to all who are involved in the project. The vital events of scrum are-

  • The Sprint
  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Scrum Meetings
  • The Sprint Review
  • The Sprint Retrospective

The Sprint

During a Sprint, a working product Increment is developed. It is usually of duration two weeks or one month, and this duration remains constant for all the sprints in the project. We cannot have varying durations for the different sprints in a project. A new Sprint starts immediately after the conclusion of the previous Sprint.

The Sprint Goal is an objective set for the Sprint. It provides guidance to the Team on why it is building the Increment. It is created during the Sprint Planning meeting. The scope of the sprint is clarified and re-negotiated between the Product Owner and the Team as more about the requirements is learned. Thus, each Sprint is associated with it, a definition of what is to be built, a design, and the flexible plan that will guide building it, the development work, and the resultant product increment.

A Sprint should be cancelled if the Sprint Goal becomes obsolete. This might occur if the organization changes direction or if market or technology conditions change. A sprint can be cancelled only by product owner, though others have an influence on the same.

Due to the short duration nature of Sprints, cancellation during a sprint rarely makes sense. As the sprint cancellations consume resources, for getting re-organized into another Sprint, they are very uncommon.

If a Sprint is cancelled, and part of the work produced during the sprint is potentially releasable, the Product Owner typically accepts it. All the incomplete Sprint Backlog Items are put back into the Product Backlog.

Sprint Planning

The work to be performed in the Sprint is planned in the Sprint Planning Meeting. Sprint Planning Meeting is of duration of maximum of four hours for two weeks sprints and eight hours for one month Sprints. It is the responsibility of the Scrum Master to ensure that the meeting takes place and that all the required attendees are present and understand the purpose of the scheduled meeting. The Scrum Master moderates the meeting to monitor the sustenance of discussion and closure on time.

Sprint Planning focuses on the following two questions -

  • What needs to be and can be delivered in the Sprint Increment?
  • How will the work needed for the execution of Sprint be achieved?

The inputs to this meeting are -

  • The Product Backlog
  • The latest product Increment
  • Projected capacity of the Team during the Sprint
  • Past performance of the Team

The Scrum Team discusses the functionality that can be developed during the Sprint. Product Owner provides clarifications on the Product Backlog items. The team selects the items from the Product Backlog for the Sprint, as they are the best to assess what they can accomplish in the Sprint. The Team comprises of analysts, designers, developers, and testers. The work is carried out in a collaborative fashion, thus minimizing re-work.

The Scrum Team then comes up with Sprint Goal. The Sprint Goal is an objective that provides guidance to the Team on why it is building the Product Increment. The Team then decides how it will build the selected functionality into a working product Increment during the Sprint. The Product Backlog items selected for this Sprint plus the plan for delivering them is called the Sprint Backlog.

Work during a sprint is estimated during sprint planning and may be of varying size and/or effort. By the end of the Sprint Planning meeting, the work is divided into tasks of duration of one day or less. This is to enable the ease of work allocation, and tracking the completion. If the Team realizes that it has too much or too little work, it can renegotiate the selected Product Backlog items with the Product Owner.

The Team may also invite others (not part of Scrum Team) to attend the Sprint Planning meeting to obtain technical or domain advice or help in estimation.

Daily Scrum Meetings

The Daily Scrum Meeting is a 15-minute meeting for the Team, conducted daily to quickly understand the work since the last Daily Scrum Meeting and create a plan for the next 24 hours. This meeting is also referred to as Daily Stand up Meeting.

The Daily Scrum Meeting is held at the same time and same place every day to reduce complexity.

During the meeting, each Team member explains -

  • What did he do yesterday that helped the Team meet the Sprint Goal?

  • What will he do today to help the Team meet the Sprint Goal?

  • Does he see any impediments that prevent him or the Team from meeting the Sprint Goal?

Daily Scrum is mistaken to be a status tracking event, though, in fact, it is a planning event.

The input to the meeting should be how the team is doing toward meeting the Sprint Goal, and the output should be a new or revised plan that optimizes the team’s efforts in meeting the Sprint Goal.

Though the Scrum Master coordinates the Daily Scrum Meeting and ensures that the objectives of the meeting are met, the Meeting is the responsibility of the Team.

If necessary, the Team may meet immediately after the Daily Scrum Meeting, for any detailed discussions, or to re-plan the rest of the Sprint’s work.

Following are the benefits of Daily Scrum Meetings -

  • Improve communication within the Team.

  • Identify impediments, if any, in order to facilitate an early removal of the same, so as to minimize impact on the Sprint.

  • Highlight and promote quick decision-making.

  • Improve the Team’s level of knowledge.

Sprint Review

A Sprint Review is held at the end of every Sprint. During the Sprint Review, a presentation of the increment that is getting released is reviewed. In this meeting, the Scrum Team and the stakeholders collaborate to understand what was done in the Sprint. Based on that, and any changes to the Product Backlog during the Sprint, the attendees arrive at the next steps required that could optimize value. Thus, the objective of Sprint Review is to obtain feedback and progress unitedly.

The Sprint Review is normally held for two hours for two week sprints and for four hours for one month sprints.

The Scrum Master ensures that -

  • The meeting takes place.

  • The participants understand the purpose.

  • The meeting is focused on the required agenda and is completed within the required duration.

The Sprint Review includes the following aspects -

  • Attendees include the Scrum Team and key stakeholders, as invited by the Product Owner.

  • The Product Owner explains what Product Backlog items have been completed during the sprint and what has not been completed.

  • The Team discusses what went well during the Sprint, what problems it ran into, and how those problems were solved.

  • The Team demonstrates the work that it has completed and answers questions, if any, about the Increment.

  • The entire group then discusses on what to do next. Thus, the Sprint Review provides valuable input to Sprint Planning of the subsequent Sprint.

  • The Scrum Team then reviews the timeline, budget, potential capabilities, and marketplace for the next anticipated release of the product increment.

  • The outcome of the Sprint Review is an updated Product Backlog, which defines the probable Product Backlog items for the next Sprint.

Sprint Retrospective

The Sprint Retrospective occurs after the Sprint Review and prior to the next Sprint Planning. This is usually a one hour meeting for two-week duration sprints and a three hour meeting for one month duration Sprints.

The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to -

  • Combine the learnings from the last Sprint, with regards to people, relationships, process, and tools.

  • Identify the major items that went well and potential improvements.

  • Creation of a plan for implementing improvements to increase product quality.

The Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the Scrum Team to introspect and improve within the Scrum process framework so as to make the next Sprint outcome more effective.


Scrum Guide © 1991-2013 Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, All Rights Reserved.