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Enhancing Scrum Meetings - an important way to manage the SCRUM workflow

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What is SCRUM?

Scrum, an iterative and incremental Agile methodology was coined from a concept of the game ‘RUGBY’ where the forwards of a team form up with arms interlocked and heads down, and push forward against a similar group from the opposing side. The analogy in a product development process is to work together and move ahead as a team to achieve the goal.

The most noteworthy aspect of an Agile methodology is that it does not follow any rigidness. A fully Agile enterprise would not have a business or technical side rather would work directly to delivering the best business value. Hence, software development companies are shifting towards agile project management.

The scrum team

A scrum team is the group that actually works on a scrum project. It all begins with the Product Owner and his or her vision for the project. Next there is the Scrum Development Team. They are a team which works across various functions in a self-lead and coordinated atmosphere. The Scrum Master is the manager for this team because of his or her authority and leadership inside the group. The job of the Scrum Master is to manage and monitor all the issues that occur during a development process. A scrum sprint is the basic unit of a scrum workflow.

What are scrum meetings?

After the planning of the entire project plan, scrum meetings are held daily to set the day’s work. Usually held in the morning, these meetings are called ‘daily scrums’ and serve as the starting phase of each day’s work.

Daily, before the start of the day’s work, the entire team meets up to have a meeting- which is lead by the scrum master. The sole purpose of this meeting is for each team member to illustrate his or her work for the day and to inform coordination required from peers. This meeting is neither a status reporting session nor an issue solving exercise. Most agile/Scrum textbooks specify that each member of a team should address only three key topics in a daily scrum meeting:

  • What was done on the previous day?
  • What is to be done today?
  • What are the hindrances being faced?

Rules to be followed during a scrum meeting

A general rule of thumb is that a scrum team with ‘n’ members will take about ‘2n+5’ minutes for a daily scrum meeting if the team is well prepared for it. As an example, a small team with 6 members will take 17 minutes for daily scrums, while a larger team will take more time.  Of course, if the project needs a huge number of people, a single scrum team will not be effective. It is broken down into smaller teams. A scrum team should have 7 ± 2 members (i.e., 5 to 9 members).

Ways to have an effective scrum meeting

Most experts and practitioners of the scrum workflow, follow the following steps to have an effective scrum meeting:

  • Daily meetings of scrum are to be conducted at the same time and in the same place. Preferably mornings or if not possible, at the end of the day are the best times to have these meetings.
  • Meetings should be crisp and short but effective. Long meetings become tedious and the team members get distracted.
  • As the meetings are a time bound activity, it should be tech free zones. Use of mobiles or laptops might lighten the concentration and also waste precious time.
  • The scrum master should project the daily data to illustrate as mobiles or laptops should not be allowed.
  • All team members should prepare before hand for the meeting and the scrum master should make a routine of letting who to speak when.
  • The time should be utilized only to capture the discussion during the meeting not to resolve those issues.

Why are Scrum Meetings Necessary?

An important portion to cover in this context is as to why a scrum meeting required if all the information is available in the Agile project management tool like VersionOne. Well, there are a lot of advantages that a real time meeting offers. The summarization of the necessity of scrum meetings is:

  • Information is very specific and tied to stories and tasks in the agile project management tool being used. These tasks need proper planning and prioritization which is to be decided while in the meeting.
  • Any incomplete work of the previous day-not included on the current day’s schedule can be continued. Total dependence on the tool might leave out those tasks.
  • The incomplete task has to be justified with a proper planning for it.
  • The meeting also makes all the team members get a brief idea regarding the current day’s work.
  • The inputs of everyone are an essential takeaway from every meeting.

Scrum accelerates software delivery and business innovation and changes the way project teams work. Its help the software development companies meet client needs, provide value to their customers, and helps the organization deliver effective services quickly.