What Is a Scrum Meeting and How Can You Run One?

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This is the third part of RingCentral’s Make Meetings Matter series. We offer up advice on how to make all meetings purposeful, engaging and effective.

Common in everyday businesses, the daily scrum has been adopted by agile teams the world over. While the essence of a scrum is to drive better productivity, the daily scrum meeting is often misunderstood. A scrum can be misused if its coordinators haven’t grasped the agile project management methodology it originated from.

To understand what a scrum meeting is, we first must outline its origins. Consider this the complete scrum guide.

The scrum came from software or product development disciplines to oversee the backlog of tasks and anticipate challenges. These huddles are the structured, daily meetings that help managers stay on top of progress and drive every team member towards a mutual project goal.

What is a scrum meeting?

A common part of any development team’s toolkit, scrum meetings take the form of brief, disciplined, 15-minute catch-ups. Intended for small, dynamic teams, they support the agile methodology concept of project sprints. A sprint is a short period of productivity with a set sprint goal or team objective. Usually, a set sprint will take around two weeks, with progress monitored every day.

When should a scrum take place?

A scrum meeting should occur first thing in the morning so that teams can efficiently troubleshoot together. Experts often advise having a scrum meeting in the same location every day to help reinforce the routine. Each meeting should have a ‘scrum master’ (the product owner or scrum expert who coordinates the meeting but remains relatively passive throughout) to encourage active team participation. The master can invite people from other teams to listen to a daily scrum meeting, but only as silent bystanders, as team collaboration and focus are the order of the day.

Often called stand-up meetings (because standing up helps keep things short) or daily scrums, a scrum meeting helps improve collaboration and drive focused, productive outcomes that keep dynamic teams aligned every day.

You can translate the concept of a scrum event to suit various industries and disciplines as long as you adhere to the key concept of daily, focused progress. With global companies such as Netflix, Google, HSBC, Spotify, Salesforce, and many others taking to scrum tactics and adopting the agile framework, it’s time for business leaders to look at the benefits of this simple and highly effective review meeting.

A scrum puts the power in team members' hands by encouraging critical thinking and a culture of team openness and honesty. Click To Tweet

What is the purpose of a scrum meeting?

The main objectives of a scrum are: to give clarity, keep team members engaged and focused on their day-to-day tasks, collaborate to practise problem-solving and encourage team progress.

In essence, the scrum meeting is the best way to address complexity in daily project management. A scrum puts the power in team members’ hands by encouraging critical thinking and a culture of team openness and honesty. This type of meeting also enables team members to acknowledge any sprint backlog, own mistakes, rectify them, anticipate project hurdles and proactively solve them as an entire team.

What are the different types of scrum meetings?

Scrum meetings can take several different forms. There are four key meetings that team members must attend during various phases of the agile project cycle.

Sprint planning: 

A sprint planning scrum takes place to ensure every team member is fully aware of their role and teams are aligned before the sprint or project commences.

Daily scrum: 

A facilitator conducts a daily scrum or stand-up meeting to ensure that scrum teams have the opportunity to stay on track, monitor progress, and address potential roadblocks daily.

Sprint review:   

The development team traditionally leads a sprint review. The sprint review aims to present, discuss and review the value of work accomplished during the previous sprint with any necessary team members, project managers and stakeholders.

Sprint retrospective: 

The sprint retrospective meeting is held at the end of the sprint. The development team, scrum master and project manager will occasionally attend the sprint retrospective to discuss how the team might learn and improve processes or tasks for subsequent projects.

All types of scrum meetings revolve around a core objective of open team communication.

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What are the benefits of a scrum meeting?

Scrum meetings play a major part in the agile project management methodology in helping to facilitate the continuous improvement of products and the skills of those that develop them.

Here are some of the key benefits of holding regular scrum meetings:

Continuous improvements in quality

The highly focused framework of continuous improvement means sprint projects are set to accomplish a specific goal. Scrum meetings give teams an outlet for improving the quality of their work and striving for excellence daily.

Time efficiency

Having regular meetings to improve products and development processes means teams are more focused and productive and deliver value to the end customer quickly.

Customer experience

The core focus for agile methodologies is delivering excellence in terms of customer satisfaction and continuously striving to add value to previous iterations of a product or service. Teams that conduct daily scrum meetings and remain focused on adding value will achieve an edge on the competition in terms of customer satisfaction.

Improved collaborations and team culture

Encouraging team members to review, monitor, and manage their priorities and workloads during a daily standup means collaboration and decision-making skills evolve significantly in a short space of time. Regular scrum meetings allow individuals and teams to take ownership of their quality control and project performance.

Better project visibility

Transparency and openness are key to agile project management. With regular scrum meetings, the aim is to facilitate project visibility and access to performance metrics for any project team member. This exposure allows teams to work together to identify challenges, pre-empt future hurdles and improve processes for the future.

What’s needed to run a virtual scrum meeting?

With meetings increasingly taking place virtually, ensuring your team has what they need to participate in daily virtual scrum meetings is crucial if you want to continue with the same goal-focused performance of every sprint project while teams conduct tasks remotely. Here’s what you and your scrum team will need to meet from anywhere:

Sufficient bandwidth for daily scrums

Ensuring teams have Wi-Fi access is crucial for holding any successful video meeting while working from home or hybrid working. Strong connectivity means your team members will be able to log in for daily scrum meetings from wherever they are.

Unified communications tool make scrum meetings easier

Bringing together messaging, video and phone in one platform will allow teams to improve efficiency. This reduces the amount of time spent toggling between platforms. With tools that offer screen sharing capabilities, such as RingCentral, scrum masters can facilitate more visual meetings. This gives people working remotely the chance to look at scrum boards and help dispersed teams see the bigger picture.

Appropriate hardware for scrum meetings

Investing in a good quality headset and a reliable microphone can make regular meetings more efficient. This is especially relevant when teams work from a variety of possible locations. Noise-cancelling headphones can help eliminate disruptions to your daily scrum, keep virtual gatherings on track and help teams stay focused.

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How do I hold better scrum meetings?

For those that aren’t familiar with agile methodologies, it’s worth reading up on the concept of continuous improvement before embarking on regular scrum meetings. Establishing the fundamentals of the original framework will improve the efficacy of daily meetings and help teams get on board.

For project sprints to be successful, every scrum team member must communicate openly and understand the collective goal. Here are a few expert tips on hosting better scrum meetings:

Stick to the agenda: 

Whether you’re holding your daily meeting to prioritise tasks or evaluate your previous sprint, adhere to the agenda.

Set a timer: 

Without a set structure, meetings can be a real drain on resource. Stipulating a particular timeframe or setting a physical timer can help keep meetings concise.

Use a scrum board: 

Visualising workflows, blockers and seeing work projects progressing helps teams see the bigger picture and stay motivated. Using a scrum board is also a good way to review sprint backlogs, and make any adjustments to team tasks.

If you’ve been considering conducting scrum meetings for your team, now might be a great time to get started. With disparate teams looking for ways to connect as we work from home, scrum meetings could help significantly improve processes. The humble daily scrum can help underpin a culture of continuous improvement that outperforms competitors in the years to come.


Read more from Make Meetings Matter:

How to run productive one-on-one meetings

How To Run Effective Meetings: Lessons From Tesla, Amazon and Google

Samantha Clayton

Author

Samantha is RingCentral’s Content Specialist for EMEA Marketing. Before joining the business, she held various roles in content, public relations and communications. She has worked with companies across industries including education technology, marketing and advertising, connected home, telecoms and publishing.

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