Meetings are an important component of our professional lives. With the sheer number of meetings that are taking place every month, it is imperative to make meetings more fruitful otherwise; it would be nothing but a waste of time and resources. Before we go any further, it is essential that we understand what scrum meetings are and then look at some of the scrum best practices to make your meetings more effective
What Are Scrum Meetings?
Scrum is an agile project management methodology. Scrum meetings are short, stand-up meetings conducted daily in the morning at the same place and time. Roadblocks and current task progress come under discussion in scrum meetings. Usually, Scrum meetings include team members who are working on a single project.
Keep It Short
The first rule to get the best out of your scrum meeting is to keep it short. If you want your meetings to be effective, you should not let it exceed the 15-minute mark. The longer the meeting will be, the lesser will be the participants’ engagement level. Attention span will dwindle quickly and a feeling of discomfort will creep in, as participants have to stay standing.
Have an Agenda and Stick to It
One of the secrets behind fruitful result-oriented meetings is that they have an agenda. Having an agenda is not enough. Communicate meeting agenda clearly to every participant in advance and then sticking to it during the meeting is what makes all the difference. Not having an agenda or following a clear, pre-defined agenda are the characteristics of useless meetings.
What makes Scrum meetings different from other meetings is that all the meeting participants have to remain standing throughout the meeting. In fact, standing on your feet is the core principle of Scrum meeting. When meeting participants are standing still, they can focus on things in a much better way. To ensure all meeting participants stay standing, keep chairs out of the way or conduct a meeting in a room where there are no chairs.
Prepare In Advance
Continuing from the point of having an agenda and sticking to it, prepare for the meeting in advance. This would only be possible if the meeting agenda is clearly communicated to all team members in advance. When all the participants have made preparation for the meeting, they would be in a much better position to respond to questions and constructively participate in the scrum meeting. Lack of preparation is one of the reasons why most meetings fail to meet its objectives.
Liven up Meetings to Increase Engagement
No one likes to attend boring meetings loaded with technical discussions. To make sure all the participants stay engaged and alert, you should consider adding humor to meetings to keep the meetings lively and pleasant. Give your scrum meetings a small dose of humor and it will make a huge difference in the engagement of participants. Knowing how much humor is adequate is critical. Do not let humor sway your meetings away from its objectives.
Follow “No Gadgets Allowed” Formula
The key to successful meetings is a distraction-free environment. To ensure your meeting participants do not lose focus, it is important that you maintain a tech-free environment at the scrum meetings. Inform all the participants in advance that the meeting will be sans any mobile devices and gadgets. When there will be no gadgets around to distract meeting participants, they’ll be able to better focus and lively participate in the meeting.
Analyze Sprint Backlog Items
Use scrum meetings as an opportunity to evaluate backlog items. There are bright chances that your team members might have missed a backlog item and moved forward. Most team members do not like to go back and complete a backlog item. Although these backlog items are independent, it is critical to integrate all the backlog items at the end of a project.
Leave Unresolved Issues for Other Meetings
Scrum meetings are short so you could not discuss everything in it. Just focus on few core issues in scrum meetings and leave any unsolved problems for later. You can schedule a separate meeting to overcome other problems with only those members who are directly related to the problem but do not discuss them in scrum meetings.
Just like any other meeting, having an agenda for scrum meetings and sticking to it helps. Keep distractions such as gadgets at bay and do everything you can such as adding humor and making participants stand to ensure that all your team members stay focused. Be prepared for scrum meetings in advance to give useful suggestions.
Try to keep your scrum meetings as short as possible to achieve highest levels of engagement and never discuss complex problems in scrum meetings. Scrum meetings are not for that purpose. Scrum meetings are for discussing current progress and roadblocks team members are facing. To address these issues, organize a different meeting.
Good concise article. One correction: daily scrum meetings focus on the sprint backlog, not the product backlog
Thanks for appreciation and correction.
A Daily Scrum is a planning and coordination time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours. This is done by inspecting the work since the last Daily Scrum and forecasting the work that could be done before the next one. During the meeting, the Development Team members explain:What did I do yesterday What will I do today Do I see any impediments. They are the team’s meeting, what agenda is there to prepare? If you have distributed team, how are we to deny computers and ‘gadgets’? Delaying issues to another meeting (what other meeting) is a sure fire way to postpone resolutions. The Scrum Master is responsible for resolving issues ASAP
Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge. Indeed scrum master is responsible for all of the duties as you mentioned. Distributed teams are operated by online tools and softwares. There is a increased trend of remote working these days so remote project management is also getting advanced day by day.