Agile Project Events
The scrum framework consists of a fixed number of events. Each event provides the scrum team transparency into either the product or their processes in order to enable regular inspection and immediate adaptation. In addition to these fixed scrum events, we have also found several other common agile events that complement and increase success of projects under a scrum model. Each of them, combined with the scrum framework are outlined in Platinum Edge's Roadmap to Value:
Stage 1: Agile Strategy Meeting - Vision
The first event held on an agile project is the strategy meeting. Its purpose is to kick off the project and is driven by a vision associated with a strategic business need or goal. This first stage of the Roadmap to Value is not part of scrum, but is commonly and successfully used to establish direction for an agile project. By establishing the product vision, the scrum team clearly defines the end goal of the product aligned with the company strategy, i.e., the 'what' and the 'why' of the product. It should be concise like an elevator pitch, so it is easy to refer back to at any stage of development to ensure that tactically a scrum team is aligning with the overall strategy. Establishing the product vision is the first stage of agile project planning.
Stage 2: Agile Strategy Meeting - Product Roadmap
After your agile project team has created the product vision your next step is to start brainstorming project requirements at the product feature level. This can occur either during the same agile strategy meeting where the product vision was created, or as a separate meeting. Once the initial product feature-level requirements have been created, usually in the form of epic user stories, they are organized by creating a product roadmap. Unlike the product vision, which outlines 'where' you want to go with the product, the product roadmap outlines 'how' you’re going to get there. It is a holistic view of product functionality required to realize the product vision.
These first two stages are vital to ensure an agile project under a scrum model is strategically stable. The following stages provide for tactical flexibility to empirically deliver the highest value possible to the customer.
Stage 3: Release Planning Meeting: Release Plan
After your product vision and product roadmap have been created, you then move on to the product release planning stage. Although not an event specific to scrum, release planning is implicitly part of the agile planning process. During this meeting the agile project team plans the next set of product features to release, and identifies a product launch date around which the team can mobilize. Each release goal establishes the mid-term boundary around specific functionality that will be released to customers to use in the real world. Agile teams plan one release at a time, because the feedback from customers at each release may fundamentally impact what is planned for each subsequent release. Each release goal aligns with the product vision, and the product roadmap also contains the basic structure of future releases if there is more than one release on the project.
Although not a specific stage of the Roadmap to Value, the sprint is the container for each of the other scrum events. Scrum teams create potentially shippable functionality in short cycles, or ‘iterations’ of development called sprints, in which the team creates potentially shippable product functionality. Sprints are no longer than a month, typically last between one and two weeks, and in some cases are as short as one day. Consistent sprint length is important under an empirical model to reduce variance so that a scrum team can confidently extrapolate what they can do each sprint based on what they have accomplished in previous sprints. Sprints give scrum teams the opportunity to make adjustments for continuous improvement immediately, rather than at the end of the project. Instead of course correcting by months, scrum teams course correct by weeks, and sometimes even by days.
Stage 4: Sprint Planning Meeting
Each sprint begins with a meeting where the scrum team establishes a sprint goal aligned with the release goal. They also identify the requirements from the product backlog that support the sprint goal and plan the individual tasks it will take to complete each requirement to deliver potentially shippable functionality by the end of the sprint. The general agile term for this event is the ‘iteration planning meeting’.
Stage 5: Daily Scrum Meeting
Each day of the sprint, ideally at the same time each day, the scrum team members coordinate and plan the day’s work to be done in less than 15 minutes. Based on what was accomplished the previous day, the development team establishes who will do what during the next day to move closer to accomplishing the sprint goal. Unlike a status reporting meeting, the daily scrum is used to empirically plan, adjust and remove roadblocks. The general agile term for this event is the ‘daily standup meeting’.
Stage 6: Sprint Review Meeting
At the end of every sprint, the scrum team meets together with the project stakeholders to inspect and adapt the product by reviewing the sprint goal and demonstrating the working product functionality completed during the sprint. The sprint review meeting is the opportunity for the product owner to gather feedback from stakeholders to help determine if the scrum team is delivering the desired value to the customer. The feedback received is added to the product backlog and prioritized by the product owner for consideration in future sprints. The general agile term for this event is the ‘iteration review meeting’.
Stage 7: Sprint Retrospective Meeting
The scrum team inspects their processes at the end of every sprint during the sprint retrospective meeting. By exploring what went well and what did not go well, the scrum team gathers data and insights of the previous sprint to establish an action plan for improvement, and then executes the plan during an upcoming sprint. The general agile term is the ‘iteration review meeting’.
Product Demonstration Meeting
Although not a specific stage of the Roadmap to Value, the product demonstration meeting is held at the end of each release on an agile project that has more than one release. During this meeting, the agile team 'demonstrates' working features at the release level to the customer, product owner, and any other interested stakeholders. This differs from a sprint or iteration review meeting, where a product component is demonstrated at the end of each sprint or iteration.