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Overview of Scrum Ceremonies

Updated: Feb 13



You've probably heard of Scrum and Scrum Ceremonies. Scrum is a simple product development/software development framework that breaks down big initiatives into shorter increments, i.e makes a big task much more manageable and achievable.


The Scrum ceremonies have been designed to promote collaboration and transparency amongst team members and frequent opportunities for feedback. Ceremonies are also another name for meetings. The basic idea is that if you're really following scrum, you cannot be omitting these ceremonies and you'll see that they logically make total sense, especially in a product development environment.


There are primarily 4 ceremonies in Scrum, as listed in the sequence below.

Scrum Planning Meeting >> Daily Scrum >> Sprint Review >> Sprint Retrospective.

Scrum Planning Meeting


What is the goal of the Sprint Planning Meeting?

The goal of the sprint planning meeting is to plan the current iteration/sprint. The team is planning which product backlog items they will be building in the current sprint based on the team's capacity.


Who attends the Sprint Planning Meeting?

All key scrum players aka Scrum roles such as the product owner, scrum master and the development team are attending this meeting.


What is accomplished by the end of the Sprint Planning Meeting?

By the end of the meeting, the team should have a good understanding of the product backlog items (PBIs) they will be building by the time the sprint ends. The team may also choose to break down the PBIs into their respective tasks. At least some high-level task breakdown will give the team members a fair idea of what they can accomplish. The key artifact born out of this exercise is called a sprint backlog.


What is the length of the Sprint Planning Meeting?

The length of this meeting is between 4-8 hours for a 2-4 week sprint. As a thumb rule, the sprint planning meeting can run for a max of 2 hours for a 1-week sprint length. Hence, for a 2-week sprint, it's 4 hours and so on and so forth.


Daily Scrum


What is the goal of the Daily Scrum?

This short 15 minutes meeting enables team members to inspect and adapt their work on a daily basis. The team members get an understanding of what got done and what did not and what were the obstacles. The daily scrum which is also called the daily stand-up is followed as a routine and ideally should be done at the same place and same time every day. 


Who attends the Daily Scrum?

This meeting is attended by the product owner, the scrum master and the development team. It's not compulsory for the product owner to attend this meeting but there are several situations where the inputs of the product owner might be necessary so it's better to have the product owner attend this meeting too.


What is accomplished by the end of the Daily Scrum?

By the end of the daily scrum the team members have answered 3 questions:

What did I do yesterday?

What will I be doing today?

Are there any impediments in your way?

The answers to these questions help the team members understand where does each person stands in terms of their work and what needs to be done to remove any obstacles. 


Sprint Review


What is the goal of the Sprint Review?

Towards the end of the sprint, the sprint review meeting is held by the team to demonstrate to the customers and stakeholders the completed product backlog items (PBIs) and get their feedback. This provides an opportunity for stakeholders to determine what is complete and what is not. The customers and stakeholders can also compare what the team accomplished against the commitments given towards the beginning of the sprint.


Who attends the Sprint Review?

The sprint review meeting is attended by the scrum team (product owner, scrum master and the development team) as well as the customers and stakeholders who have an interest in the features being built.


What is accomplished by the end of the Sprint Review?

By the end of the sprint review meeting, the customers and stakeholders have an understanding of whether the team met the sprint goal and whether the completed work meets the "done" criteria (definition of done). The team has feedback about the quality of the product increments from customers and based on this feedback the team can bring about future improvements. The sprint review also provides an opportunity to groom the product backlog based on customer input  which may lead to changes to the product backlog.


What is the length of the Sprint Review?

The sprint review meeting is held between 2-4 hours for a 2-4 week sprint. Hence, the thumb rule is that the length of the sprint review meeting is 1 hour for every week of the sprint.


Sprint Retrospective Meeting


What is the goal of the Sprint Retrospective?

Post the sprint review meeting, the sprint retrospective meeting is held. The primary goal of the sprint retrospective is to enable the team to dissect the sprint that went by in terms of what went well and what did not. The team gains an understanding of the practices that worked for them which they should continue doing and the ones that didn't work for them which should be stopped. The team can reflect on any aspect of the sprint work in the sprint retrospective meeting e.g. communication, processes, development or testing related work.


Who attends the Sprint Retrospective?

The entire scrum team including the product owner, the scrum master and the development team attend should be present in this meeting.


What is accomplished by the end of Sprint Retrospective?

By the end of the sprint retrospective meeting, teams have examined what’s happening, analyzed the way they work, identified ways to improve, and made plans to implement these improvements. 


What is the length of the sprint retrospective?

The sprint retrospective lasts for 1.5 to 3 hours for a 2-4 week sprint. Therefore, the thumb rule is 45 minutes of meeting for every week of the sprint. So, for example, for a 2-week sprint, the length of the sprint retrospective is 1.5 hours.

The information about the ceremonies provided above serves as the basics of scrum and performing these ceremonies is critical in a project managed using scrum, especially for teams learning to work with scrum.

The information about the ceremonies provided above serve as the basics of scrum and performing these ceremonies is critical in a project managed using scrum, especially for teams learning to work with scrum.

To learn more about how CareerSprints can help you kickstart your scrum career, consider registering for our Free 4 hour Scrum Webinar conducted by scrum experts, which covers the scrum basics. Unlike pre-recorded webinars, this one is a live class where you have the opportunity to ask questions to the instructor.

Following the webinar, you'll be able to register for the Foundational Certification in Agile Scrum (FCAS) exam and gain this certification.

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