Scrum meetings: The do's and don'ts

Scrum meetings are fast-paced and cover a lot of time-sensitive tasks. Here is how to run productive scrum meetings.

9.jpg

Image: iStockphoto/SeventyFour

Scrum meetings are short and focus on the backlog of project management tasks or directly related concerns. Whether you are a Scrum Master, a product owner, or part of a development team, following these key do's and don'ts can help create an optimal environment for scrum meeting success. 

SEE: IT project management: 10 ways to stay under budget (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to run a productive scrum meeting 

  • Identify and invite the relevant attendees to each meeting to avoid wasting time and frustration. All attendees must add valuable input or be directly involved in the tasks at hand. 
  • Send out a firm agenda before each meeting so everyone is prepared to be focused and productive.  
  • Request that all attendees come prepared to discuss these three points (as applicable): 
  1. The status of tasks.
  2. The tasks they will be working on next.
  3. Any anticipated obstacles.
  • Stick closely to the timeline and structure set out in the agenda to allow sufficient time to cover essential tasks and issues. Avoid adding anything to the agenda unless it's vital to the work.
  • Create a comfortable, non-judgemental atmosphere that encourages all attendees to share their thoughts and experiences. 
  • Listen carefully to others when they speak instead of focusing only on what you came prepared to discuss. Sometimes what others are saying might help you understand your next steps better or resolve your concerns. 
  • Strive to be concise to allow everyone who needs to speak adequate time to do so. Scrum meetings should be short and highly productive. Allocate time for each person to talk and adjust as necessary.

Scrum meetings: What not to do

  • Discuss tasks or topics that are not relevant to the current meeting or its attendees. This will cause disinterest and end in everyone feeling frustrated. 
  • Allow the meeting to become a complaints session where people ramble on about personal gripes that impact progress. 
  • Jump randomly from topic to topic. Stay organized to reduce the chance of missing valuable information or issues that are time-sensitive.
  • Just address the authoritative figures such as the Scrum Master or Product Manager. Be fully inclusive—the success of a project relies on input from everyone.
  • Assume everybody understands or remembers how everyone's responsibilities relate to each other. Use a scrum board to track tasks and match them to the larger goals.
  • Move tasks or change a task's status without ensuring that all of the relevant participants have seen the changes. 
  • Defer to other meetings that may have an impact on a task that needs to be covered in the regular scrum meetings; instead, it is better to postpone a scrum meeting to ensure all pertinent information is available before the session.

Although these are not the only do's and don'ts for scrum meetings, keeping these items in mind will go a long way toward making your scrum meetings productive and successful.

Also see