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Mastering Scrum Events: A Comprehensive Guide to the 5 Essential Ceremonies

Mastering Scrum Events: A Comprehensive Guide to the 5 Essential Ceremonies

7 min read

What are the 5 Scrum events?

In Scrum, we have five Scrum events:

  • The Sprint
  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Scrum
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective

Each of these events is put in place to support the empirical process that Scrum is. During these Scrum ceremonies, we make our work transparent, inspect it and make adaptations where needed.

Scrum events

The Sprint

The Sprint is the heartbeat of the Scrum framework. It has a fixed timebox, typically one month or less, giving the Scrum Team a cadence to deliver a valuable Product Increment to the stakeholders.

All the Scrum Events (Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Retrospective, Sprint Review) are held within the timebox of the Sprint.

During the Sprint:

  • We do not make changes that would jeopardize the Sprint Goal.
  • Decrease our quality to finish the committed work.
  • We do Product Backlog refinement.
  • When more is learned, we can clarify or renegotiate the scope with the Product Owner.

By using the Sprint we create predictability towards the progress of the Product Goal. It makes it possible to inspect progress on a regular cadence.

When the Sprint becomes too long, the Sprint Goal will become obsolete, complexity may rise, and risk will increase.

A Sprint can be canceled when the Sprint Goal becomes obsolete. This can only be done by the Product Owner.

Sprint Planning meeting

The Sprint Planning meeting is the start of a new Sprint.

During the Sprint Planning session, we collaboratively plan the work coming in the next Sprint. We do this by looking at the Product Backlog and getting the Product Owner's priorities.

It's good practice that the Product Owner has prepared the attendees to discuss the Product Backlog. It should be clear to the entire Scrum Team how these Product Backlog Items reflect the progress toward the Product Goal.

The Sprint Planning addresses three topics:

  • Why is this Sprint valuable?
  • What can be Done in this Sprint?
  • How will the chosen work get done?

Create a Sprint Goal

The Sprint goal communicates to the stakeholders why this Sprint is valuable. The Product Owner proposes how the product could increase its value and utility in the upcoming Sprint.

We should have a finalized Sprint Goal at the end of the Sprint Planning event.

Select the work

The Developers select items from the Product Backlog to include in the Sprint. They do this in discussion with the Product Owner. The team can refine these items during this step, which increases confidence and understanding.

Selecting the right amount of work during the Sprint Planning event can be challenging. But when the team matures, they know more about their past performance, their upcoming capacity, and their Definition of Done, making them more confident to forecast their Sprint.

Make a plan for the Sprint

For each selected Product Backlog Item, the Developers plan the work necessary to create an Increment that meets the Definition of Done.

Usually, this is done by decomposing the Product Backlog Item into smaller items that can be done in a day or less. How this is done is completely up to the Development team members. No one else tells the Developers how to turn a Product Backlog item into an Increment of value.

The Sprint Goal, the selected Product Backlog items in the Sprint, and the plan for delivering the work together are referred to as the Sprint Backlog.

The Sprint Planning event is timeboxed to a maximum of eight hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, it's usually shorter.

What is the timebox for Sprint Planning?

Sprint DurationTimebox
1 week2 hours
2 weeks4 hours
3 weeks6 hours
4 weeks or a month8 hours

Daily Scrum meeting

During the Daily Scrum, we inspect our progress toward the Sprint Goal. What did we do to come closer to the Sprint Goal? What will I do today to work towards the Sprint Goal, and what impedes me? We adapt the Sprint Goal to create transparency on how we will achieve the Sprint Goal.

The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event held at the same place and time every day of the Sprint.

Only Developers should attend the Daily Scrum, if the Scrum Master or Product Owner are working on items on the Sprint they should also participate since they now are also considered Developers.

You can use whatever structure during this meeting you see fit as long as you are focused on the progress of the Sprint Goal and producing an actionable plan for the next 24 hours of work.

Daily Scrums improve communications by enabling the team to identify impediments and adjust their work toward the Sprint Goal. It promotes quick decision-making and removes the need for other meetings you'd otherwise need.

The Daily Scrum is not the only time the Developers are allowed to change the adjust their plan. you'll often meet during the day for more detailed discussions and can readjust the work as needed there and then.

What is the timebox for Sprint Planning?

Sprint DurationTimebox
1 week15 minutes
2 weeks15 minutes
3 weeks15 minutes
4 weeks or a month15 minutes

I hope it's clear that the timebox is 15 minutes 😉.

Sprint Review meeting

During the Sprint Review, the Scrum Team members and the key stakeholders inspect the Product Increment created during the Sprint. They determine future adaptations and reflect on the progress toward the Product Goal.

The Scrum Team and the stakeholders review what was accomplished during the Sprint and how has changed in their environment. With this information, everyone collaborates on what to do next.

The result of the Sprint Review could be changed to the Product Backlog or rework that needs to be done. If you need to rework, take this to the Sprint Retrospective. This is not what you want to let happen on a regular basis!

What is the timebox for Sprint Review?

Sprint DurationTimebox
1 week1 hour
2 weeks2 hours
3 weeks3 hours
4 weeks or a month4 hours

Sprint Retrospective meeting

During the Sprint Retrospective, the Scrum Team Members reflect on the last Sprint. They focus on the quality and effectiveness of their work. The Scrum Team decides on actions to take for the next Sprint to improve their work.

The Scrum Team inspects how the previous Sprint went regarding individuals, interactions, processes, tools, and their Definition of Done. The elements the team inspects often vary in their domain of work.

Usually, during a retrospective, the team discusses what went well, what problems it encountered, and how those problems were (or were not) solved. You can use my top retrospective templates to mix up your Sprint Retrospectives.

The outcome of the retrospective should be improvements or experiments they are going to try as soon as possible. If it's a low-effort, high-impact improvement, they can be added to the Sprint backlog of the next Sprint.

The Sprint Retrospective also means the end of your Sprint. It's the final Scrum event. The timebox is three hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, the event is usually shorter.

What is the timebox for Sprint Retrospective?

Sprint DurationTimebox
1 week1 hour
2 weeks1,5 hours
3 weeks2 hours
4 weeks or a month3 hours


To wrap up, the five Scrum events play a crucial role in Agile project management, empowering teams to thrive in their pursuit of success.

Through the Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective, teams establish a cadence that fosters collaboration, transparency, and adaptability.

These ceremonies serve as pillars for iterative development, continuous feedback, and continuous improvement. By harnessing the potential of Scrum events, teams can boost productivity, deliver value, and effectively navigate the ever-evolving project landscape.

Embracing these essential ceremonies is a pathway towards embracing the Agile mindset and propelling projects towards triumph.

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