First things first, what are Scrum Events? You can think of Scrum Events as the key meetings for a project. Scrum Events are an essential part of implementing the Scrum Framework and allow the Scrum Teams to discuss the product development progress. Scrum Events are carefully designed to improve productivity and prevent impromptu meetings that may create obstacles during The Sprint. The power of the Scrum Events is in the way they’re time-boxed and in their purpose.
There are five Scrum Events (occasionally also referred to as ceremonies), that occur in each Sprint. The five comprise the below:
- The Sprint
- Sprint Planning
- Daily Scrum
- Sprint Review
- Sprint Retrospective
Each Event depends on the successful completion of the previous Event. Let’s take a closer look at each, and how they work together as part of a Sprint.
Scrum is a framework designed to help people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems. It’s worth understanding Scrum before getting stuck into the Scrum Events. You can read more about Scrum in our What is Scrum? article.
The Five Scrum Events
A Product Backlog Item (PBI) is a single unit of work that exists within the Product Backlog. They can range from specifications and requirements, to use cases, bugs or time-boxed research tasks, but most commonly they are formulated as User Stories. These are the individual items that need to be reviewed and prioritised by the Product Owner. And they are also the units that the Development Team pulls from the system to deliver on.
Having an individual PBI is beneficial as it helps to identify the work required to complete the Sprint. It also helps to anticipate when an item is likely to be delivered.
The Sprint is at the core of Scrum, where ideas are turned into value.
Of the five Scrum events, The Sprint is unique as all the work to achieve the Product Goal including the remaining four events all occur within the Sprint.
Sprints are a fixed length of one month or less. One starts immediately after the conclusion of the previous Sprint. Each Sprint may be considered as a short project.
Sprint Planning is the first event carried out in the Sprint. This is a fundamental event and as the name suggests, its purpose is to plan out the work which needs to be completed by the entire Scrum Team.
Sprint Planning usually addresses three key topics which are outlined below.
- Topic 1: Why? This topic involves the Product Owner to propose how the product can increase in value and collaboration of the team to determine a Sprint Goal and why it is valuable to stakeholders.
- Topic 2: What? During this topic, the Scrum Teams select items from the Product Backlog to include as part of the current sprint.
- Topic 3: How? The final topic involves how the Scrum Teams plan to get the work done through an actionable plan.
This element has a time-box of 8 hours for a one-month Sprint and usually reduced in length for shorter Sprints. The entire Scrum Team are mandatory attendees.
The Daily Scrum is a maximum 15-minute meeting held at the same time each day. Its main purpose is to allow the team to ask the three below questions.
- What have I achieved since yesterday?
- What will I do today?
- What are the obstacles in my way?
As such, the development team are the only mandatory attendees for the Daily Scrum. Reviewing these questions daily helps to prevent any issues which might arise and thus enables the Sprint to stay on track.
The Sprint Review is an opportunity for the Scrum Team to present their achievements to the key stakeholders. This event is a working session, which usually includes a hands-on demonstration of the product.
This is a key opportunity to collate feedback from stakeholders. Based on the information and feedback provided, attendees can collaborate on what action to take next. And if necessary, the Scrum Team incorporates relevant feedback into the Product Backlog.
The Sprint Review is the second from the last event performed in the Sprint and is timeboxed to a maximum of four hours for a one-month Sprint. However, the event is usually shorter if the Sprint is less than on-month.
The final event in the Sprint is Sprint Retrospective. And last but not least, the purpose of this concluding event is to plan ways to increase quality and effectiveness.
The Scrum team reviews how the last Sprint went including what went well or not so well with regards to individuals, interactions, processes and tools. Having these kinds of discussions helps the team to take learnings and implement improvements for future Sprints.
The Sprint Retrospective has a time-box of 3 hours and requires the mandatory attendance of the Scrum Team.
Summary of the five Scrum Events
The five Scrum Events provide formal opportunities for inspection and adaptation. The framework encourages focus, efficiency and the reduction of waste.
Scrum events exist to replace other meetings, not add to them.