No time for agile meetings

Daniele Davi'
7 min readNov 7, 2021

One of the most recurring topics in many organizations is time spent on meetings. If you are a Scrum Master, you may find yourself rolling your eyes like in a Robert Downey Jr meme and you wish you would get a euro for every time you hear someone saying in agile there are too many meetings.

Here we are again

Some managers may ask you to exempt their subordinates from attending some Scrum meetings but to invite them to others. Often business stakeholders, sales, customers, security, operations, legal do not attend sprint reviews. They usually appear with some extra costly request for change (RFC) a few weeks before a first or major release.They would like to have a say in what in their mind is a waterfall-like final sign off. Despite being invited, these types of stakeholders usually don’t want to waste time attending meetings, inspecting the backlog, reading documents, interacting with Product Owners or Scrum Master, staying updated, providing feedback.Few days before the due date they are going to put a veto on deliverables and trigger emergency meetings.

After reading this article you will learn or refresh basic concepts on how scrum helps reduce unnecessary meetings, keep everyone in sync, improve efficiency and quality throughout the whole SDLC.

Scrum events are time-boxed which means they have a maximum duration. Whenever the purpose of the meeting is achieved before, the meeting ends saving time and costs.
I avoid using terms like “ceremonies”, “rituals” or “liturgies” to describe scrum meetings. I simply call them scrum events or scrum meetings. Most of the people I work with know very little about Scrum and using a simpler terminology helps.

One misconception around “Agile” meetings, especially when they are called “ceremonies”, is that they are meetings dedicated to Agile rather than core business activities. Agile is not the ultimate purpose. Agile is an enabling mindset. Scrum is not the ultimate goal. Scrum is a framework. Agile and Scrum support organizational objectives also through their meetings.

Let’s synthesize what time is really spent on during scrum meetings:

Sprint Review — max 4 hours/month:Team meets with stakeholders to get feedback on what has been done and to gather what is expected at the end of the next iteration.

Daniele Davi'

Author | Coach | CTO | Human | Explorer | Traveller | Photographer ...