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August 17, 2023
8 min read

The 7 Must-Do Events in Scrum and Their Purpose

Understanding the Scrum Events is crucial for the successful execution of the Scrum methodology. Find out in detail about the 7 essential events in Scrum in this article.
Anton Versal
Anton Versal
Let's take a look into seven must-do Scrum events.

Modern-day software development has become complex with technological advancements. Owing to that, Agile methodologies have become increasingly popular among software firms due to their flexibility, ability to develop quality software products, and ability to deliver value to customers timely. Among the many Agile methodologies, Scrum is one of the most widely used methodologies worldwide. Being a lightweight framework, it helps teams become self-organized and ensure iterative-based, timely, and quality deliveries.

One of the key aspects of Scrum is its multiple events, known as Scrum Events, which help teams collaborate, communicate, remain productive, and continuously improve their processes. According to the Scrum Guide, there are five official Scrum Events. However, the teams are also seen to involve some additional events in Scrum. Therefore, this article explores in detail all the must-do events in Scrum and their purpose.

Five Official Scrum Events

The events in Scrum are meant to help Scrum teams streamline the development process and continuously inspect and adapt their work. There are five official Scrum Events in Scrum, each time-boxed with a clear purpose. Below are the details of each of the five official events in Scrum and their purpose:

1. The Sprint

In simple words, every cycle or iteration within a Scrum project is called the Sprint. Basically, the Sprint reflects as the event in Scrum where the Scrum team creates a usable product increment.

In a Sprint, a few items from the Product Backlog are taken, mostly the top priority items (decided in Sprint Planning), and then the Scrum team completes the development of those items within that time-boxed Sprint. For example, suppose a team is working on a mobile app and plans to work on the login feature in the current Sprint. So, the team will keep its focus on releasing a workable version of the login feature before the end of the Sprint.

During the Sprint:

  • Changes are avoided that can deviate from the Sprint Goal.
  • The scope can be reevaluated with the development team and Product Owner.
  • Product Backlog gets refined as required.
  • Quality does not decrease.

According to Scrum Guide, Sprint is the heartbeat of Scrum, which turns the ideal into value. Usually, the length of the Sprint is between 2 weeks to a month. Longer Sprints are not recommended, as it increases the chance that the team might deviate from the Sprint goal.

All the rest of the Scrum events, including Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective, occur within the Sprint. Every Sprint starts instantly when the previous Sprint is completed. Moreover, the team can also terminate the Sprint if the Sprint Goal gets abolished.

2. Sprint Planning

Sprint Planning is what begins the Sprint. As the name implies, Sprint Planning is where the Scrum team plans the Sprint. The Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the development team sit together to discuss the Product Backlog and plan out the Sprint. Below are the main discussion topics in a Sprint Planning meeting:

  • Why is this Sprint valuable: The Product Owner narrates how this Sprint can bring value to the product. Here the Scrum team also collaborates and defines the Sprint Goal.
  • What can be Done in this Sprint: The development team, along with the Product Owner, picks a few items from the Product Backlog. The team might even refine the items for better understanding.
  • How to Complete the Work: The development team discusses each selected Product Backlog item to plan how to accomplish the goal of the item. It may even involve decomposing the item into smaller tasks for better management.

The length of a Sprint Planning meeting is linked with the length of the Sprint. For a one-month Sprint, the Sprint Planning is timeboxed to a maximum of 8 hours. For shorter Sprints, the length of the Sprint Planning can also reduce accordingly.

3. Daily Scrum

Once the Sprint Planning event is completed, the Sprint begins. Now every day, the team will undergo the Daily Scrum event. The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event where the development team answers three questions:

  1. What they did yesterday
  2. What they will do today
  3. Are there any implications hindering their progress

The main purpose of the Daily Scrum is to ensure that the team remains aligned with the Sprint Goal, pinpoint uncertainties/issues, and adjust the Sprint Backlog for the upcoming planned work. Daily Scrum, when done rightly, leads to fast decision-making, improved communications, and better identification of impediments.

It is recommended to conduct Daily Scrum every day at the same place and time to avoid complexity. However, it is up to the Scrum team how it handles Daily Scrum, as they just have to ensure that the event focuses on the progress toward the Sprint Goal and generates an actionable plan for the upcoming work in the next 24 hours.

4. Sprint Review

Once the Sprint is completed, the Sprint Review event comes into action. In this event, the Scrum team demonstrates the work they have completed during the Sprint to the stakeholders, Product Owner, and other interested parties.

The Sprint Review meeting involves the following activities:

  • The team showcases the product increment completed in the current Sprint via live demo or other methods.
  • The team presents the issues they faced and how they tackled them.
  • The team discusses the next tasks they intend to work on.
  • The development team and the Product Owner update the Product Backlog.

Overall, Sprint Review is an excellent opportunity for the team to showcase their progress and get valuable feedback from stakeholders timely. In fact, this is what makes Scrum unique, as it makes feedback an integral part of the development process instead of waiting till the product is completed, as in the case of other traditional development methodologies.

5. Sprint Retrospective

Sprint Retrospective is Scrum’s last event, executed after Sprint Review. The purpose of Sprint Retrospective is to improve the development process and enhance the team's productivity.

In the Sprint Retrospective meeting, the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the development team participate. The main activities involve:

  • Evaluate the commitments of the previous retrospective.
  • Evaluate the processes/practices of the current Sprint.
  • Discuss the good and bad things that happened in the current Sprint.
  • Brainstorm the improvement areas.
  • Finalize the commitments of the current retrospective and prioritize them.

Since there is always room for improvement in every process, the Sprint Retrospective event is very beneficial to have a constructive meeting and improve the development process.

Other Important Scrum Events

Other than the above five official Scrum events, there are two additional events that are also vital in Scrum for effective outcomes. Below are the details of the other two important events in Scrum:

1. Backlog Estimation

One of the main responsibilities of the Product Owner is to create the Product Backlog and prioritize the backlog items. Once the Product Backlog is finalized, it is important to make the development team go through it to better understand the backlog items and estimate the efforts. That is why many teams conduct the Backlog Estimation event.

In the Backlog Estimation event, the Product Owner, Scrum Master, development team, and key stakeholders sit together and estimate the efforts to complete the Product Backlog items. In order to estimate the efforts, the team uses one of the estimation techniques, such as Planning Poker, Async Poker, the Bucket System, Dot Voting, etc.

For instance, if the team uses the Planning Poker technique, the Product Owner narrates the backlog item (as a user story) to the development team. Afterward, the development team discusses the user story to clarify doubts, brainstorm the development approach, and find hidden challenges. Once done, every member provides individual estimates, and then the team estimate is reached by consensus. This way, the team is able to estimate the efforts of the backlog items before heading for the Sprint.

The main benefit of the Backlog Estimation event is that the Scrum team becomes well-prepared about the end goals of all the efforts they will input in the upcoming Sprints. Moreover, the collaborative discussion round before the start of the Sprint encourages a collaborative and trustworthy environment.

2. Backlog Refinement

Backlog Refinement, also called Backlog Grooming, is an ongoing event in Scrum that involves reviewing and updating the Product Backlog. When the Scrum team starts working on the Sprint, they might realize that a few backlog items might need reprioritization or updating. Similarly, some new items, such as bugs, feature enhancements, etc., might need to be added. So, all these changes in the Product Backlog are conducted in the Backlog Refinement event.

The purpose of the Backlog Refinement is to ensure that the Product Backlog remains up-to-date and that the upcoming Sprints become more productive and rewarding. The team can conduct the Backlog Refinement meeting during or after the Sprint. Sometimes they can incorporate the Backlog Refinement event within one of the above five Scrum Events. For instance, the team might discuss and refine the backlog during the Sprint Review meeting. In short, Backlog Refinement is an ongoing event in Scrum until the project is completed.

Wrapping Up

With the growing complexity of software development and the urge for faster time to market, Scrum has become a widely acknowledged methodology among software firms. However, maximizing its benefits requires a thorough understanding of Scrum principles and events. Above, we have discussed in detail all the five core Scrum Events that are essential to follow, along with Backlog Estimation and Backlog Refinement as two unofficial but important events. By leveraging all these events in Scrum, the team can create better-quality products, maximize productivity, and ensure continuous growth and improvement.

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