In this episode of Trainer Talk – the supplemental series to the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast – Sam Falco, a Professional Scrum Trainer, addresses the complaint: “I don’t like Scrum because there are too many meetings.” At first glance, that seems like an odd thing to say because there are only four meetings, so let’s dive into this topic.
The Meetings in Scrum
Sprint Planning is timeboxed to eight hours for a one-month Sprint, and it’s usually shorter for shorter Sprints.
The Daily Scrum, as the name implies, happens every day but it’s timeboxed to no more than 15 minutes.
The Sprint review takes no more than four hours for a one-month Sprint, and it’s usually shorter for shorter Sprints.
Sprint Retrospectives max out at about three hours for a one-month Sprint. Like the other two big events, it’s usually shorter for shorter Sprints.
In a one-month Sprint event, you’re spending no more than 15 hours in the big events, and for the Daily Scrum, only five or so hours are being spread out in fifteen-minute increments. That’s out of roughly 160 work hours per month. That means that we’re talking about 12-13% of your time in meetings that are designed to make the remaining 87% more effective.
It’s not actually that much time. So, what drives the complaint that Scrum has too many meetings?
Scrum Might be Adding Needed Structure
One driver of this complaint comes when Scrum is being introduced into an environment where there aren’t many existing meetings. Usually, this is an organization that is emerging from a startup culture, where there is a more wild-west style and an informal network of ad-hoc communication. As startups grow, that informal network starts to break down. A framework like Scrum ensures the necessary coordination and collaboration occurs. Otherwise, meetings metastasize across the calendar.
Get Rid of Some Old Meetings
More commonly, I hear the complaint in the context of an organization that already has a ton of existing meetings. Scrum events are overlaid like a veneer on existing processes and meetings, which are retained without examining them to determine if they’re providing value.
The solution is not to add Scrum to existing process and meetings. Scrum is a radical replacement for an ineffective, bureaucratic culture – including all the meetings that aren’t providing value. Odds are, the Scrum events supply the value you need for effective collaboration and delivery. If you find that you really do need more structure than Scrum provides, you can always add it back in.
Regardless of which direction the concern of too many meetings comes from, implementing Scrum requires intentional, thoughtful organizational redesign. That calls for an experienced, effective Scrum Master who is adept at navigating all levels of the organization to help achieve business agility.
Let us know what you thought about this supplemental episode of the Agile Coaches’ Corner. If you’re interested in training, visit agilethought.com/training or call us at 877.514.9180 to learn more. And if you have a question you want us to answer on the next Trainer Talk episode, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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