I’m often asked by clients if they should adopt an agile, scrum meeting approach for their meetings hoping that this would increase their overall meeting productivity. As it turns out, scrum meetings can be an extremely effective framework for helping teams to overcome unpredictable obstacles encountered during planning and production. However, not all organizations can benefit from, or are capable of adopting the scrum approach.
Before we start to understand the technical aspects of the scrum approach, it’s important to understand a little history of the Scrum methodology and why it was created.
Where did Scrum come from?
Scrum started as a software development framework in the mid–nineties. Its name refers to the starting formation of players on either team in a Rugby match. A good scrum formation gives a team the best chance at gaining possession of the ball once the game starts. Japanese organizational theorists originally coined the term before it was taken by the American software development industry to label brief, but highly productive meetings that occurred at the beginning of each day of the “sprint” (a ‘period of time’ a project has been allotted for completion).
What is a Scrum meeting?
The Scrum methodology is based on daily 15 minute meetings where members of a given team get together to determine next steps towards their objectives in a current sprint. The idea is that the team will function better when teams “as small and self-organizing units of people, are fed with objectives, not with tasks.” (http://agiletrick.com/scrum-history-2) This way, groups adept at problem-solving and teamwork can use their own brain-power and subject matter expertise to overcome issues in innovative ways. Scrum meetings tend to focus on the following four questions going round-robin with each team member speaking to :
The answers from these questions should give the group enough information to carry on with that day’s work while being able to adapt to any changes or challenges they encounter. The scrum meeting methodology requires certain team roles to function correctly during a sprint.
These roles consist of:
Because scrum meetings are very brief they afford “special status to those who are committed” (e.g. only those who do the work are allowed to talk). (https://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/agile/scrum/meetings/daily-scrum)
Stakeholders, managers and people connected but not included in the team are permitted to attend scrum meetings, but cannot contribute e.g. allowed to speak.
Is Scrum right for your organization?
As you can probably see, the scrum process is designed to minimize hold-ups or bottlenecks in a production-based organization. Therefore, meetings that are designed for Q&A, consultative feedback and decisions that will have long-term effects are not appropriate for the scrum framework. Here are some guidelines for when to implement scrum meetings in your organization:
Scrum meetings work when:
Scrum meetings should be avoided when:
So some food for thought. If you have an expert, highly innovative team that needs to deal with problems and adapt in real time, the scrum methodology might be for you!
Do you have a unique meeting challenge not covered by one of our blog posts? We’re always looking for different dilemmas to discuss in our articles!