When you’re managing a team, there are a variety of ways you can go about daily operations. The two main methodologies used by teams are Scrum and Kanban. While some businesses decide to come up with their own solutions, these are the most popular choices, with Scrum being the most popular because of the structure that it provides.
One of the principles stated in Scrum is the daily stand-up. Ask anyone what they think of first when they hear Scrum, and you’re likely to get “the daily stand-up” as the answer.
Having set meetings is one of the pillars of using Scrum, but for Scrum to be effective, the meetings have to be productive, which is the goal of this article. Once done reading, you’ll be equipped with templates that can help your team operate an efficient and effective Scrum meeting.
Why Use Templates
It’s not unreasonable to wonder why you want to have templates for your meetings. It’s not as if Scrum meetings are incredibly complex, and everyone who’s used it for a while knows what you need to do.
The daily stand-up has to run through the typical cycle of “what I did do yesterday,” “what I’ll do today,” and “what blockers I have, if any.” During the backlog refinement, you have to look at the tasks in the backlog and refine them.
The purpose of having templates isn’t to make team members remember what needs to be done, although if you have team members who are new to Scrum, that can be beneficial. The purpose is to make the meetings effective. When you’re provided with a good template, the Scrum leader can point to the next part in the template and say, “This is what we need to think about.”
Without a clear agenda, you’re more than likely to have your meetings derailed and start discussing things not related to the agenda. Templates keep the meeting relevant and effective.
Scrum Meeting Templates
Now that you’ve been caught up on why you want to have templates for your meetings, let’s take a look at some. One last thing to note before diving into them is that these are templates. While they are a suggested solution and are meant to work for as many teams as possible, you will perhaps have to modify them slightly to make sure that they work for your team. These templates have been chosen as they are the ones that will fit the majority of teams using Scrum.
The daily stand-up is the most well-known part of Scrum because it’s a daily thing but also because it’s one of the easiest templates to follow. The points that need to be covered are few and simple:
Daily Stand-up Template
What did I do yesterday?
Use a few minutes to talk about what you did yesterday. Remember, this does not have to be in detail, but rather, this should be an opportunity to catch up with your team members on what you’re working on. On top of that, it forces you to summarize what you did yesterday, which can quickly make you realize whether yesterday was productive or not.
What am I going to do today?
This point should be kept short and simple. See it as an opportunity to help your team members be informed and to allow your team members to help you. It also forces you to make a plan for yourself.
Do I have any blockers?
This is a question where it’s fair to simply say no. But if you have anything that’s blocking you from accomplishing what you’re going to do today, this is your chance to ask for help from team members or simply let them know that you may be needing more time than what was scheduled.
Using this template should allow you to get each team member through their portion of the daily stand-up in about five minutes.
Although not as common as the daily stand-up, sprint planning is arguably one of the most important parts of a good sprint. A good sprint, in this case, is one that will help the team accomplish the goals that have been set by the road map and by stakeholders. Carrying out a good sprint planning meeting allows the team members to know exactly what needs to be worked on and why.
Sprint Planning Template
Road map review
Before the meeting, the Product Owner should review the road map and ensure that the team is on track to meet the goals.
The Product Owner should also prepare the backlog as much as possible before the meeting. This ensures you don’t waste time on this task during the meeting.
When the meeting starts, the team should agree on what the backlog looks like, making sure everything is prioritized. Most of this should be done during the backlog refinement meeting. But if you have a gap between these meetings, it’s good to spend five to ten minutes reviewing the backlog.
Once the backlog is in order, the team should coordinate what the goal of the next sprint is. Preferably, the Product Owner has prepared this before the meeting.
With the backlog prioritized and the goal determined, the team should start estimating the time needed to complete each backlog item. This can be done according to whatever standard the team uses, like Planning Poker.
Once the time needed to complete backlog items has been estimated, you can go ahead and determine the capacity of the team for the duration of the sprint. This should include any planned time off or other activities that decrease the effective hours of the team. Combined with your team’s average velocity, you should be able to get to a target amount of story points.
Sprint planning finalization
Once finished with all the previous points, the team can go ahead and finalize the sprint planning by determining what backlog items should be part of the sprint.
Use this template to get through your sprint planning meetings effectively.
Once the sprint is done, it needs to be reviewed. Some teams tend to get the sprint review confused with the sprint retrospective, but they are, in fact, separate meetings. The sprint review is about the product.
Sprint Review Template
What were the goals?
Review what the goals of the sprint were to make sure everyone is on the same page.
What did we complete?
Everyone with a distinct set of tasks, like implementing a certain feature, should demonstrate what they’ve worked on.
What did we not complete?
It’s important to go over the tasks that were not completed in the last sprint, as that can help bring to light any complications that were unexpected or other factors that need to be considered when planning the next sprint.
What is the feedback?
Once everyone has demonstrated their features, the floor is open for feedback. This includes the development team, stakeholders, designers, or anyone else who may have a say in the sprint.
This template is fairly short and should be kept informal.
The sprint retrospective is one that’s being carried out after the sprint is done. Here, you reflect on the team itself and what can be improved.
Sprint Retrospective Template
What was good?
Start out by listing out what went well during the last sprint. This doesn’t have to be limited to the work environment and can include personal items.
What can we do better?
Arguably, the most important part of a sprint retrospective is listing out what you believe could be done better. It’s not necessary to have a solution in mind; this part is simply about listing out what could be improved.
What are the possible solutions?
Next, you should take a look at the things listed under “what can we do better?” and try to come up with solutions to improve those things.
Which solutions should we work on?
Once you’ve come up with solutions, you need to determine which specific solutions you want to work on. You can also add the solutions as backlog items if you want to.
Using this template, you should be able to complete a sprint retrospective and finish with ideas for improvement.
It’s very common that backlog items are added sporadically throughout a sprint as team members come up with new good ideas. This is, of course, never a bad thing, but it can often lead to a messy backlog.
Backlog Refinement Template
Over time, some tasks end up being either redundant or obsolete. Start by cleaning up the backlog to make sure that there are no duplicated or irrelevant tasks.
Once the backlog has been cleaned up, it’s time to refine the tasks in it. Make sure that all tasks include the proper details needed, like a title and description. It’s at this point you may want to also take a look at reestimation. Over time, estimations can change due to a variety of factors, such as new tasks being completed or the team gathering more knowledge on a subject.
When all the individual tasks in your backlog are refined, you can start reordering them so they’re prioritized for the next sprint planning meeting.
After using this template in your backlog refinement, you should be ready to complete your sprint planning.
At this point, you have some templates that you can start using in your future Scrum meetings. These templates should help you get through your meetings more effectively, making sure no time is wasted and everyone leaves the meeting feeling that it’s been productive.
Remember that the point of these templates is to give you a foundation to work on, and while Scrum is known for being very strict and having multiple rules to follow, you’re always allowed to make variations that will enhance your team’s productivity.