Agile Scrum Ceremonies

A Guide to Scrum Ceremonies: Everything You Need to Know

Those familiar with Agile project management methodology have likely heard of Scrum ceremonies. But what are they, exactly? And why should your team embrace them?

Scrum ceremonies are the central meetings of an Agile team. They are at the heart of the Scrum framework and are intended to help your team and stakeholders stay connected and know what’s part of the current Sprint.

Scrum ceremonies are also becoming known as Scrum events, but in the simplest terms, they are meetings for Agile Scrum teams.

Scrum ceremonies: An overview

The basics of Scrum

Before diving into the different Scrum ceremonies, it’s essential to understand the basics of Scrum to use ceremonies correctly. Here’s a quick refresher.

Scrum is one of the most popular Agile project management frameworks.

It first rose to fame in software development. However, its simplicity and efficiency have made it a well-known approach across different businesses and teams.

Scrum is designed to help teams quickly respond to change and new information, foster open communication, and embrace collaboration.

The power of Scrum comes from the fact that it builds on the development of a project through iterations, known as Sprints.

Understanding Sprints

Some experts consider the Sprint itself to be one of the ceremonies. Each Sprint focuses the team on completing a specific set of tasks. When they are finished, this is considered one iteration followed by trials and assessments.

It consists of all the activities conducted from Sprint Planning to Sprint Retrospective, including the actual items from the Product Backlog that have been completed.

Only after the Sprint is completed can the team continue on the next iteration, bringing in a new set of tasks.

Hubstasff sprints

The benefits of Scrum ceremonies

Each Scrum ceremony has a specific purpose that furthers the project's overall goals. These meetings are less free-for-all than other project management meetings, such as a weekly status. In other words, implementing Scrum ceremonies will reduce time-wasting and unnecessary meetings.

Benefits of scrum ceremonies

Further, Scrum ceremonies increase the collaborative power of your team. The meetings help the team maintain a high level of transparency and openness.

Ceremonies are crucial in keeping teams flexible and open to change. Since they happen on a planned basis, new information can be shared quickly and easily with those who need it.

You can expect productive, fast, and efficient meetings when you embrace the Scrum framework.

Who attends Scrum ceremonies?

The Scrum ceremonies are intended to bring in all the Scrum roles.

This means that the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Development Team are typically present at the meetings, with some exceptions.

Remember: The development team includes anyone whose skills will be used for this project, not just a software developer.

The Product Owner, who represents the customers and stakeholders and is responsible for ensuring the project delivers value, can keep a complete overview of the work.

The Scrum Master contributes to ceremonies as the expert on the Scrum framework. This role helps clear roadblocks, prioritizes work, and upholds Agile processes.

The rest of the Development Team naturally has to be a part of the meetings to stay in the loop on any changes to the project.

For the Sprint Review, stakeholders are also invited to participate.

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What are the 3 artifacts of Scrum?

For the overall understanding of Scrum and its ceremonies, it’s worth noting the concept of Scrum artifacts, as well. They are:

  • Product Increment: The tasks that the team has managed to finalize within a Sprint, building on the increments of the previously completed Sprints.

  • Product Backlog: A list that contains the features and tasks that a Scrum team needs to complete for a certain product or project.

  • Sprint Backlog: A selection of tasks from the Product Backlog that are planned for the upcoming Sprint.

The types of Scrum ceremonies

The four typical Scrum events are:

  • Sprint Planning

  • Daily Scrum

  • Sprint Review

  • Sprint Retrospective

Agile scrum project management

Sometimes, the Sprint is also considered the fifth ceremony, but there are only four central meetings.

The best practice when getting started is to have a fixed timeframe for each ceremony. Limits keep meetings focused and productive. If any item needs further discussion, those involved can table it and pick it up with a smaller group.

If you’ve ever been in a meeting that went off on a tangent that didn’t involve you, you’ll appreciate the timeboxed nature of Scrum ceremonies.

Sprint Planning

  • Goal:

    Agree on what will get worked on and dive into details.

  • Duration:

    One hour for every week in your Sprint.

  • Participants:

    Development team, Product Owner, Scrum Master

What is Sprint planning?

Sprint Planning happens before the Sprint starts. In this project management meeting, the team discusses the details around how the work is actually going to get done. Diving into each task that the team is committing to for the next Sprint gives you a higher chance of completing work on time and as planned.

Who should you invite to Sprint planning?

All Scrum roles have to be present. They need to outline the specific items from the Product Backlog that will make up the Sprint. The Product Owner suggests the exact tasks, known as User Stories, and the whole team needs to agree on them. The Scrum Master acts as a facilitator.

How long is the Sprint planning meeting?

Set aside one hour for every week in your Sprint. For example, a one-week Sprint needs a one-hour meeting. Are you using two-week Sprints? You’ll need two hours for Sprint Planning.

Daily Scrum

  • Goal:

    Describe what was worked on yesterday, what will be worked on, and any roadblocks.

  • Duration:

    15 minutes

  • Participants:

    Development team, Scrum Master — Product Owner is optional

What is daily Scrum?

The Daily Scrum is also known as the Daily Stand-up meeting. The purpose of this event is to update everyone on what’s being worked on that day. It’s intended to be quick and light, and is organized by the Scrum Master. It is not a detailed status meeting.

Pro tip: Remote and distributed teams move their Daily Stand-up online, submitting what they worked on for the day, what’s coming up tomorrow, and notifying the Scrum Master of any roadblocks using an app. Hubstaff Tasks, for example, has a built-in, automated Stand-up that reminds everyone to submit theirs daily.

Who should you invite to daily Stand-up meeting?

The whole team must participate. The Product Owner is invited, but not obliged to attend.

How long is the daily Stand-up meeting?

It’s often held in the morning and is limited to 15 minutes. Many teams stay standing (hence the name Stand-up) to keep it short and engaging.

Sprint Review

  • Goal:

    Review what was accomplished during the Sprint. Celebrate success.

  • Duration:

    One hour for every week in your Sprint.

  • Participants:

    Development team, Product Owner, Scrum Master

What is Sprint review?

The Sprint Review ceremony is held just after each Sprint, and is where the team reviews whether the Sprint goals have been met. The Product Backlog is then updated accordingly.

How you implement this ceremony depends on your team. This could be an opportunity to let team members celebrate work and showcase their projects to larger groups. Maybe you record the meeting or have everyone create recap videos to share with the company.

Who should you invite to Sprint review meeting?

Everyone should be present, including project stakeholders. The team members showcase their work and everyone reviews what was completed.

How long is the Sprint review meeting?

The Sprint Review ceremony is typically no more than an hour for each week of a Sprint.

Sprint Retrospective

  • Goal:

    Discuss improvements to make for the future.

  • Duration:

    One hour for every week in your Sprint.

  • Participants:

    Development team, Scrum Master — Product Owner is optional

What is Sprint Retrospective?

The Sprint Retrospective ceremony is a dedicated time to discuss how to improve processes and tools after the Sprint ends. Team members assess what went well and what obstacles should be addressed for the next Sprint.

Who should you invite to Sprint Retrospective meeting?

The whole Scrum Team is invited, but the Product Owner does not need to attend.

How long is the Sprint Retrospective meeting?

The typical timeframe is 45 minutes for each week of a Sprint.

Streamlining Scrum Ceremonies with Hubstaff Tasks

Now that you understand the four Scrum Ceremonies and how they work with Sprints, automate the whole process.

Hubstaff Tasks is an Agile project management software that can facilitate better Scrum ceremonies.

Take the automated Daily Stand-up feature, for example. If everyone’s working in different time zones or if it’s hard to nail down a daily meeting, Hubstaff Tasks can replicate the Daily Stand-up for you.

Hubstaff Standups

Each day, Hubstaff Tasks will prompt your team members to answer three questions and submit them before wrapping up.

With Sprints, everyone can see what’s on their plate currently, what’s coming up next Sprint, and even plan into the future or move tasks into the backlog.

Integrate with Hubstaff time tracking and you’ll get daily recap emails that show you how many of the budgeted hours have been spent, which tasks are overdue, and what’s been completed.

You don’t need to pour energy into sustaining the framework when Hubstaff Tasks can do it for you. You and your team can just focus on your Sprints instead of building the right system to manage them.

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Find out how Hubstaff Tasks can help you ace Sprints and Scrum ceremonies.

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