Four meetings and a sprint

Four meetings and a sprint

When most people think of Agile, they really mean Scrum or include Scrum as part of what they envision.  Scrum is a fairly simple framework whose origin is attributed to Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber. There are numerous overviews of the history and evolutions of the framework;  those at and (where my CSM certification comes from) are two good ones.  The framework is simple. In its basic form it is comprised of three roles, five events and four deliverables.

The roles of the core team called out by Scrum are:

  1. The product owner who represents the voice of the business,
  2. The development team that transforms ideas into functionality and
  3. The Scrum Master who facilitates the team and process.

In Scrum there are no other roles identified.

The five events are sometimes explained as four meetings, with the sprint, which is an intrinsic part of Agile techniques. The five events identified in the framework include:

  1. The sprint which is the time box for developing potentially implementable functionality,
  2. Sprint planning which is a meeting for the team to plan the work they will commit to during the sprint,
  3. The daily scrum, the daily planning session that generally begins the team’s day,
  4. The sprint review which is the meeting at the end of a sprint for the product owner and stakeholders to interact with the functionality, provide feedback and acceptance and
  5. The sprint retrospective where the team reviews their performance and identifies opportunities for improvement.

The three deliverables identified in Scrum are:

  1. The product backlog which includes all of the known units of work in priority order,
  2. The sprint backlog is the breakdown of tasks and activities required to deliver the units of work the team committed during the sprint and
  3. The increment is the functionality completed during the sprint.

Putting the pieces together, Scrum follows a consistent pattern beginning with sprint planning where the product owner identifies the priorities for the sprint and the team plans the work they can commit to being able to complete. On a daily basis the team meets in a daily scrum to review progress and re-plan for the day   At the end of the sprint, the team holds a sprint review for all units of work that meet the agreed upon definition of done. The review is to ensure that what was completed meets the expectations of the product owner and other stakeholders. That generally means that they need to interact and exercise the software.  Units of work can be done, not done or spawn new units of work.  New work or units that are not complete are put back on the backlog to be reprioritized.  After the sprint review the team holds a retrospective so they have an opportunity to reflect on how they are working together in order to deliver the maximum value.

Scrum is a simple framework.  This simplicity makes it easy to adopt and adapt and can lead to many different variants to meet organizational needs and constraints.