Sprint Ceremonies: What are They and When Do They Happen?

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At GearedApp, we use an Agile Project Management methodology. Agile comes with it’s own set of processes, methods and ways of working. Throughout any Agile project we hold what are referred to as Sprint Ceremonies. Each sprint ceremony includes different members of the team, has its own unique purpose and is held at a different stage in the process. 

Read on to find out all about sprint ceremonies, when they happen and how we use them to foster communication with our team and clients.

What is a Sprint?

Starting from a rough idea, we produce work in small bursts of two weeks – these are referred to as sprints. Working in sprints allows us to constantly iterate and evaluate our client’s needs throughout the process. Sprints foster communication and help us to get the final product just right. 

How we use Agile at GearedApp 

In every project we work on we like to start off with the necessary features of your product. This is referred to as the Minimum Viable Product, or MVP. Similar to building a house, creating an MVP is like laying the groundworks before extending the kitchen and adding a sun-room.

An MVP helps us to test and validate our clients’ ideas before further development cycles and investment are put into the project, and it creates flexibility throughout the entire project. By starting off small, we can develop with every sprint allowing us to iterate and evaluate finding the right solution – it’s not a marathon, it’s a sprint.

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What are the Sprint Ceremonies?

Throughout the development process, we have what are referred to as Sprint Ceremonies. Ultimately these are progress meetings with the team and client to evaluate how things are going and our next steps. Due to the iterative nature of Agile, it means that communication is essential throughout every project. Each of the four Sprint Ceremonies are held at various times throughout the project and have their own purpose in terms of pushing the project forward.

Daily Standup

What’s the point in a daily standup?

Daily standups are light and informative, tending to last no longer than fifteen minutes. Every person has the opportunity to speak and let the team know what they were working on yesterday, what they will be working on today and if there is anything blocking them in the process. We find that daily stand-ups mean greater collaboration between us all, and generally make us work better together.

Who attends it?

The development team attends the daily stand up to help the project move forward without any roadblocks. 

 When does it happen?

It is what it says on the tin – unsurprisingly daily standups happen every day. Well, every morning to be specific. They set us up for the day ahead and let each other know how we’re getting on with our tasks.  

Sprint Planning

What’s the point in Sprint Planning?

Sprint planning is the first event in our process kicking everything off. During sprint planning, estimates and forecasts are created for the project outlining how much work the team thinks will be involved. It’s a chance for the team to assess what needs to be done and put together a sprint backlog. 

Who attends it?

At this stage it is pretty much essential that the entire team attends to ensure that everyone is on the same page and communicating effectively from the get-go. Sprint planning is run by our Scrum Master but the Product Owner and development team are also present. To find out more about the roles in Agile read our blog post.

When does it happen? 

Sprint planning doesn’t just happen at the start of the project, but it occurs every two weeks at the start of a new sprint. It’s really important to have a meeting like this at the start of each sprint as it is a chance for us to plan our activities for the two weeks ahead. 

Sprint Refinement

What’s the point in Sprint Refinement?

Sprint refinement sessions are held to make sure we’re on top of any changes, refine tickets, and to plan and prepare for the next sprint. Sprint refinement is a really important part  in our process to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Who attends it?

At this stage, the team presents as opposed to the Scrum Master – it is informal and everyone is invited. 

When does it happen?

Sprint refinement happens halfway through each sprint to review the progress of the sprint and assess how to move forward. Iteration is everything. 

Retrospectives

What’s the point in a Retrospective?

Continuous improvement is a key aspect of the Agile way of working. Throughout each project we hold retrospectives, also known as retros, to reflect on how to become more time-efficient, collaborative, and ultimately work better together. We view retrospectives as a safe place where the team can be super transparent and chat about improvements. For us, it provides the opportunity to just be honest. Without these, speaking up openly about how things are going would be much more challenging.

Who attends it?

The development team and scrum master attend retrospectives. 

When does it happen?

There is no set time scale for when retros should happen, and every development team schedules them at a different time. For us, we tend to hold them throughout the project at various points. 

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Iteration and Communication with GearedApp

At the end of the day, our main goal is to get our client’s needs just right, and that’s why we use Agile. Agile project management helps us communicate throughout every project and helps us foster flexible relationships with the team and our clients. To find out more about our methodology, head to the Agile tab on our blog for plenty of resources on how we operate. 

Choose Agile Development with GearedApp

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