Agile Events

3 Contributors
Last updated 25 Nov 08:07

TL;DR

Clear and regular Agile Events are important for an effective work. What are the most common rituals? Read more in this article.

What Are Agile Events

Agile Events, (formerly Agile Ceremonies), are several types of meetings prescribed within Agile frameworks. The most common Agile framework with such events is the Scrum. It is recommended for the Scrum framework to hold six key events during every Sprint to ensure efficient work from the team.

The six key events are:

  1. Daily Standup
  2. Sprint Planning
  3. Sprint Review
  4. Sprint Retrospective
  5. Sprint Refinement
  6. The Sprint

Agile Events
Source: Norex.net

Let us explain what those events mean:

  1. Daily Standup/Scrum
    • Usually a daily meeting, lasting no more than 15 minutes.
    • Typical for Scrum and Kanban Agile framework.
    • Team members describe what they worked in the previous day, and what are they intend to work on today. It should not be detailed.
      • Where further discussion is merited, a "Parking Lot" discussion can be held afterwards with those concerned.
  2. Sprint Planning
    • A sprint is a term specific for a Scrum framework, and usually lasts two weeks (Some teams may opt for one or three week sprints).
      • Other types of agile frameworks use “iteration” to define a time-boxed period of development.
    • The team uses this meeting to decide what to do during the sprint. The team has to estimate how much work they can complete from the product backlog and the effort involved, also making a small allocation of effort for any defects that may emerge.
  3. Iteration/Sprint Review
    • At the end of a sprint or milestone, the team reviews their accomplishments against the planned sprint work. The team will often use this meeting to demonstrate the results of their work, and get feedback from stakeholders.
  4. Retrospective
    • At the end of an iteration, the team discusses what worked well, and what could be improved.
      • Scrum and Kanban frameworks use this meeting for creating solutions and developing action plans.
  5. Product Backlog Refinement
    • In this meeting, the team assesses work in the Product Backlog, adds detail and estimates the effort required and priority for each job. The Backlog is updated and the items are prepared for the upcoming sprint. This meeting can be open ended, with the time spent dictated by the amount of outstanding work to be assessed.
  6. The Sprint
    • It is the time-boxed period that contains all the work planned during Sprint Planning, and all other work such as resolving urgent defects that occur.

The events should be chosen wisely. For example, Waterfall methodology is generally incompatible with the term “daily standup”. It is essential that the team understands what are the events for, and that they see benefits quickly. They should then be accepted as smoothly as possible. The team can validate the events retrospectively to see if they are really useful.

Why You Might Want the Agile Events

Every project phase needs its own set of events. Those events help the team to work faster, more efficiently, and closer together. Worklow is simplified and the Product Backlog items are clearer.

Even though the events are designed to help, developers may struggle to find every single meeting useful. The most hated meetings are the daily standups because they sometimes seem like a waste of time even if they last just a few minutes. It is important to recognise that the daily standups are important for sharing knowledge, identifying problems sooner, measuring the progress and last but not least, building team unity by encouraging cooperation. Team members will often realise value from these events aftey they have attended, where they may at first have been reluctant to do so.

Problems the Agile Events Solve

How to Implement the Agile Events

  • Events should be stable, and followed regularly to build habitual attendance.
  • The length of each meeting should be defined to achieve a positive mindset within the team.
  • Events can be defined either by the team or by the team culture.
  • Each Event has its own roles that share responsibilities.
  • Hire experienced professionals to handle Agile Events. The investment can be more beneficial than trying to implement Events in a team without any experience.

Common Pitfalls of the Agile Events

  • Demotivated team The team is confused. They do not understand why they should do the events, the planning does not work.
  • Events are not fun Events are dehumanized, boring, the team members struggle to concentrate. Make the events fun! Be friendly, lightweight your language.
  • Micromanagement Everyday meetings can feel like an additional layer of micromanagement to a regular amount of work. Nobody likes micromanagement. Explain the benefits of periodic meetings to your team.
  • Focusing too much on standups Everyday standups are not always necessary. Focus on the team members’ feel for how often they are needed, rather than on following Agile Events rules. Many teams have three standups per week.

Resources for Agile Events