Scrum is a framework within which teams work together to deliver products in complex environments. The Scrum framework includes five events:
Each of the five events in Scrum is time boxed. This means that every Scrum event has a maximum (but not a minimum) amount of time the Scrum team will spend on the event every Sprint. By limiting the time spent in each Event, the Scrum framework pushes Scrum teams to maximize the quality of their time together.
Why are events time boxed? Timeboxing is used to reduce waste. According to the 2020 Scrum Guide, Scrum is founded on empiricism and lean thinking. In this context, lean thinking means minimizing waste while maximizing value delivery.
In this article, we will explore how the time box for each event minimizes waste.
1. The Sprint
Purpose: To contain all Sprint events and deliver a potentially shippable product increment.
The Sprint is the most frequently forgotten Scrum event. The Sprint is invisible but critical because it is a container for all of the Scrum events. The Sprint is limited to one month, which determines the frequency of all other events in Scrum. If you consider every Sprint an investment in delivering an increment of product, then by limiting the duration of the sprint to one month, Scrum limits the investment of each sprint to one month, thereby reducing risk.
This time box ensures the timely delivery of value to stakeholders, mitigating the risk of obsolete or irrelevant product features and fostering a sustainable pace of development.
Limits the investment of each Sprint to one month, promoting iterative and incremental development.
Ensures frequent opportunities for inspection and adaptation, reducing the risk of large-scale waste accumulation.
Facilitates timely value delivery to stakeholders, mitigating the risk of obsolete or irrelevant product features.
2. Sprint Planning (Time Box: 8 hours)
Purpose: To plan the work for the upcoming Sprint.
The first event within the Sprint is Sprint Planning. By limiting this event to a maximum of 8 hours, Scrum encourages teams to avoid over-analysis or decision paralysis. The time box encourages swift prioritization and decision-making, facilitating a prompt transition from planning to action and curbing the squandering of valuable time on non-essential deliberations.
Prevents over-analysis and excessive planning.
Encourages the team to prioritize and make decisions efficiently.
Ensures a swift transition from planning to action, minimizing the time spent on non-value-added activities.
3. Daily Scrum (Time Box: 15 minutes)
Purpose: To coordinate the day's activities and ensure progress towards the Sprint Goal.
The Daily Scrum has the shortest time box at just 15 minutes. By keeping this event short and sweet, Scrum promotes focused discussions, preventing unnecessary delays in decision-making and swiftly addressing impediments. By enforcing a strict time limit, teams ensure that discussions remain efficient, enabling them to promptly plan their activities for the next 24 hours and maintain momentum towards the Sprint Goal.
Keeps discussions focused and concise.
Prevents unnecessary delays in decision-making.
Facilitates quick identification and resolution of impediments, enhancing team productivity.
4. Sprint Review (Time Box: 4 hours)
Purpose: To inspect the increment delivered during the Sprint and adapt the Product Backlog as necessary.
At the Sprint Review event, the Scrum team and its stakeholders gather to inspect the increment delivered during the Sprint and collaborate on potential adjustments to the Product Backlog. The time box promotes timely feedback and collaboration, preventing protracted discussions that deviate from the primary objectives. This constraint empowers teams to swiftly determine the next steps based on stakeholder input, maximizing responsiveness and ensuring alignment with evolving requirements.
Encourages timely feedback and collaboration.
Prevents prolonged discussions or deviations from the main objectives.
Enables the team to swiftly determine the next steps based on stakeholder input, maximizing responsiveness.
5. Sprint Retrospective (Time Box: 3 hours)
Purpose: To reflect on the Sprint process, identify areas for improvement, and make adjustments.
Lastly, the Sprint Retrospective, constrained to a time box of 3 hours, provides a platform for the team to reflect on their processes, collaboration dynamics, and the Definition of Done. By imposing a finite duration, this event encourages focused discussions on process improvement, preventing tangential discussions that lack actionable outcomes. The time box facilitates the timely implementation of identified improvements, fostering a culture of continuous enhancement and team growth.
Promotes focused discussions on process improvement.
Prevents dwelling on issues without actionable outcomes.
Encourages timely implementation of identified improvements, fostering continuous enhancement of team performance.
Time-boxing in Scrum limits waste and fosters a collaborative and outcome-driven approach to product development. By adhering to these time limits, Scrum teams optimize their efforts, maximize value delivery, and continuously evolve to meet the changing needs of their stakeholders.