If you work in the startup world, you’ve likely heard of Scrum meetings. But you may not understand exactly what they are or how they work. If this is the case, you’re not alone. While Scrum meetings are an incredibly valuable asset for remote teams, they can be confusing to understand. In this post, we’ll break down exactly what Scrum is, the various meeting types that come with this framework, and more.  

What is Agile methodology?

Before we define the term Scrum, it’s important to understand what Agile methodology is first. 

Agile methodology is an approach to project management. You’ll also hear about it in the context of software development. With Agile, teams work in short cycles that are often referred to as sprints. The goal is to take an iterative, collaborative approach in order to deliver the most value to the customer in the shortest time possible. 

But you might be wondering how this is different from other methodologies. Doesn’t every team follow this approach? While Agile is very popular, it’s not the only option available to organizations. 

For instance, with the Waterfall Method, you create and follow a sequential plan that’s made up of multiple phases. For example, you may have analysis, research, design, and testing phases. Each phase must be completely wrapped up before moving on to the next one. 

Understanding the basics of Scrum

Now that we’ve established the differences between the methodologies, let’s define what Scrum is. Scrum is one of many types of agile methodology. Other examples include Kanban, Extreme Programming, and Crystal. According to The Scrum Guide

“Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems.”

It’s also important to understand the three pillars that Scrum operates on, which are: 

1. Transparency

With Scrum, transparency is vital. And it’s not just about having high visibility within the team—it’s about making the work visible to all stakeholders of the project. A lack of transparency may lead to poor decisions, diminished value, and increased risk. 

2. Inspection

Scrum also operates on frequent check-ins, or inspections. The purpose of this is to detect potential problems early on and give the team a chance to iterate as needed. That’s why Scrum has four meeting types, which are crucial to this project management approach. We’ll discuss these more later in the post. 

3. Adaptation

Finally, adaptation is key to any teams that use Scrum. Unlike other frameworks that commit you to a specific path from start to finish, Scrum is all about adjusting as you go. So if a process isn’t working or the resulting product fails to achieve its goal, the team has to make adjustments as needed. 

The pros and cons of Scrum

Like any other framework, Scrum has its strengths and weaknesses. If you’re trying to evaluate whether Scrum is the right approach for your team, check out this list of pros and cons first:

Pros

  • Helps teams complete projects quickly and efficiently
  • Creates more visibility for key stakeholders
  • Saves time, money, and resources 
  • Leads to a more collaborative, feedback-focused process 
  • Great option for both in-person and remote teams 
  • Can reduce the chances of significant mistakes

Cons

  • Deadlines may be more uncertain 
  • Disagreements among stakeholders can slow down the process
  • More meetings 
  • Challenging to implement with larger teams
  • Highly dependent on the skill level and commitment of individual team members

 

Now that we understand the basics of Scrum, let’s explore one of the most critical aspects of this framework: the various meeting types. 

What are the 4 Scrum meeting types? 

Meetings are one of the most important features of Scrum. These checkpoints—which can be in-person or remote—are essential to the collaborative, iterative process that defines this Agile methodology. Here are the five types of meetings to be aware of: 

1. Sprint planning meeting

Time required: A maximum of eight hours for a one-month sprint, but less for shorter sprints

The Scrum framework uses sprints to define the start and end of its projects. These sprints can be anywhere from one to four weeks. The planning meeting kicks off the beginning of a sprint and lays out all the work needed for the project. During this meeting, the team should be able to answer the following questions: 

  • Why is this sprint valuable?
  • What can we accomplish during this sprint?
  • What does success look like (for all stakeholders) at the end of this sprint? 
  • How will we complete the work that needs to be done during this sprint?
  • Who will be responsible for what during the sprint? 

2. Daily standups

Time required: A maximum of 15 minutes per day 

The purpose of daily standups is to check in on progress toward the goal. Daily Scrum meetings are valuable because they improve team communication, identify issues early on, promote quick decision-making, and potentially eliminate the need for other meetings. 

Typically, each team member shares a brief update of what they’re working on, how things are going, and the obstacles they’re facing. These standups also provide an excellent opportunity to problem-solve with the rest of the team. 

For instance, let’s say one of your team members is struggling with an obstacle and shares their dilemma during the meeting. You dealt with the exact same problem the week before and figured out a simple solution. So you offer to walk your colleague through the steps to unblock them. This saves your teammate a ton of time and keeps the project moving forward smoothly.

3. Sprint review meeting

Time required: A maximum of four hours for a one-month sprint, but less for shorter sprints

At the sprint review meeting, all the stakeholders get together to share the results of their work. Rather than presenting the outcomes, this type of Scrum meeting will benefit more as a working session or an open conversation. This creates the right environment to share feedback and discuss potential changes. Here are some phrases you can use during the sprint review to make suggestions to your teammates in a helpful way: 

  • “What are your thoughts on approaching the problem this way?” 
  • “Have you considered this particular edge case that could occur?” 
  • “I really like how this turned out and think it could be improved even more with this addition. What do you think?” 

4. Sprint retrospective meeting

Time required: A maximum of three hours for a one-month sprint, but less for shorter sprints

The last type of Scrum meeting is the sprint retrospective. Think of this as a postmortem. The goal is to inspect the project outcomes and discuss what can improve for future sprints—whether in terms of individual work, processes, tools, or even communication. During this Scrum meeting, everyone should: 

  • Review what went well and what didn’t 
  • Share feedback about their overall experience with the sprint
  • Identify potential solutions to the problems that were identified
  • Discuss ways to incorporate changes to the next sprint 

The retrospective is critical because it helps you continually improve their project management approach—allowing teams to become more efficient, collaborative, and in tune with one another moving forward. 

5 tips to have more productive Scrum meetings

Regardless of the type of Scrum meeting, there are best practices you can follow to get the most out of your time with your teammates. Here are five of our best tips to improve productivity during your meetings: 

1. Respect the time allocation

Scrum is about efficiency. Even though there are frequent meetings, the goal isn’t to drag them out for as long as possible—it’s about using the time wisely for their intended purpose. So if your standup meetings are limited to 15 minutes, respect that timeframe. It’ll keep everything running smoothly and minimize frustration from team members. 

2. Have an agenda

On a similar note, it may help to go into some of your Scrum meetings with an agenda, which outlines the goal, topics of discussion, and action items. This will help keep the conversation on track and serve as a North Star to refocus the meeting. If people raise topics that don’t align with the agenda, they can find additional time outside of the meeting to discuss them with the appropriate stakeholders. 

3. Be open minded

Since Scrum is all about taking an iterative approach to project management, all the meeting types leave room for feedback. Knowing this, it’s essential to go into these conversations with an open mind. Try not to take it personally when someone suggests improvements to your ideas. And be receptive to learning new ways to approach a problem.

If you find yourself getting frustrated or offended during a meeting, take a deep breath and shift your mindset to one of curiosity rather than judgment. Remember: the goal is to choose the process, tools, and approach that will lead to the best outcomes. 

4. Use the right tools

When you’re trying to maximize efficiency as a remote team, the last thing you want is to run into technological issues. That’s why it’s critical to choose the right tools, depending on the type of Scrum meeting you’re having.

For instance, if you’re looking for a daily standup tool, consider a noise-cancelling software like Krisp. By using artificial intelligence, our product removes unwanted sounds from both sides of a call, creating a smoother meeting experience. You can also use tools like Slack to share virtual updates if there are days when everyone is heads down or pressed for time.

5. Change it up

Some Scrum meeting types, such as the daily standup, can get old after a while and cause people to lose interest. So don’t be afraid to change things up occasionally! Change up the order of who speaks, start with a quick virtual icebreaker, or even have everyone physically stand up when sharing their updates. These small changes can help your teammates feel more engaged and attentive during the meetings. 

Incorporate the Scrum meeting types into your next project

Now that you’re familiar with Scrum and the different meeting types, you’re ready to start implementing the framework with your own team!

While there are tons of different ways to approach project management, there’s a reason why Scrum is one of the most popular methods out there. Use this agile methodology to get your project deliverables done more efficiently and with better outcomes—for both the team and your customers. 

If you want to enhance the quality of your virtual Scrum meetings, request a demo of Krisp. We’d love to hear from you.