How to run efficient Agile meetings [+ templates]

Written by 
Bryan Kitch
May 8, 2024
An illustration of a Scrum master balancing a variety of priorities represented as objects
How to run efficient Agile meetings [+ templates]
Written by 
Bryan Kitch
May 8, 2024

It's true — some meetings should be emails. But Agile meetings shouldn't.

The whole point of Agile project management is the make sure that every team interaction is meaningful and impactful, building team alignment and directly ‘moving the needle,’ to borrow from the corporate lexicon. But how do you make sure your meetings are as efficient and effective as possible? 

This guide offers tried-and-tested frameworks and tips to help you do just that. But first, let’s start with the basics. 

What is an Agile meeting? 

Agile methodology is used in both product development and project management and uses fast and focused ‘sprints’ (short time spans — typically 1-4 weeks — with clear tasks and goals) to deliver results. Each Agile team schedules ‘Scrum’ meetings to align and assess the tasks needed for the next sprint.

Agile meetings are usually composed of a group of people who work full-time on one project with shared accountability. They can be virtual or in-person, with the goal of reaching project alignment. 

What does an efficient Agile meeting look like?

An efficient agile meeting should be frictionless, where teams clearly understand the focus of the meeting and the current state of the project. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Each participant should leave a scrum with a clear understanding of their next tasks, the current state of the project, and the goals of the upcoming sprint.
  • Efficient Scrums create a place for clear communication and transparency on the tasks required. With Scrum meetings, teams are hyper-focused on their tasks and can be honest about the state of these tasks. This allows teams to pivot quickly when faced with problems. 
  • Efficient Agile meetings also have clear accountability, with each participant understanding their responsibilities and impact on the team’s effort. This is because Agile meetings continuously communicate with team members on the state of their progress. 

4 types of Agile meetings and how to run each one effectively 

There are four different types of Agile meetings, each one serving a unique purpose. 

1. Sprint planning

Sprint planning is for the Scrum team to discuss their tasks in the upcoming sprint. 

The goal of this meeting is to have a clear definition of the sprint’s goals and to divide tasks between the team. This often involves the need for a backlog list to prioritize tasks between the team. 

How to run a sprint planning meeting

The sprint planning meeting sets up the foundations for the next sprint's work, so it requires the attendance of the development team, the product manager, and the Scrum master — a team member or collaborator whose job is to make sure the scrum process is smooth and that the team understands the scrum practices and framework.

  1. Define the goal of the upcoming sprint.
  2. Prepare and refine the backlog. Here, you’ll want to ask your teams what tasks are achievable in the sprint.
  3. Designate and plan work tasks.
  4. Discuss the inputs or resources needed for the sprint to be successful.
  5. Define clear expectations for the output of the sprint.
Related: Use the free Mural Sprint Planning template to kickstart your planning and research

Tips to improve efficiency in your sprint planning

Sprint planning requires more time and preparation than other Agile meetings. This is because the meeting calls for past tasks and resources, so the Scrum master and product manager must do research beforehand. 

Here are a few tips to help ‌sprint planning move smoothly and keep your team on track:

  • ‍Keep track of time: Timebox the sprint planning for no more than two hours. Time management will make sure that the meeting is focused on the tasks at hand and respects the team's working time. This is the scrum master’s responsibility, and they can use timer tools to keep the team on track. 
  • Define clear goals:‍ Creating a sprint without a goal is like looking at a map without a compass. It has no direction. 
  • Use a digital whiteboard‍: Using online whiteboards enables teams to visually understand the sprint and the tasks at hand. Teams can centralize information on the whiteboard and use it as a reference for the sprint. Additionally, remote Agile teams rely on these tools for reaching alignment and coordination projects on a daily basis.
  • End the meeting with a Q&A: Keep time at the end of the meeting for the team to ask questions or for clarification. This keeps everyone on the same page. 

2. Daily Scrum ('standup' meeting)

Daily Scrum, or standups, are fast meetings used to keep the team informed of everyone’s progress from the previous day. 

Daily Scrums help teams inform the Scrum master about any challenges to their tasks. This gives the team transparency on roadblocks and allows the Scrum master to devise a plan of action. 

How to run a daily Scrum standup 

Daily Scrums are quick, 15-minute meetings that kick off the team’s daily tasks. By the end of the meeting, each team member is informed of their team’s progress and any roadblocks to look out for. 

  1. The Scrum master fills out the scrum’s information and sprint number on a Daily Scrum template 
  2. The Scrum master calls out the participants and asks three questions. These are: 1) "What did you do yesterday?", 2) "What will you do today?", and 3) "Do you have any blockers?"
  3. The Scrum master fills out the Daily Scrum template, marking each task as accomplished, in progress, or on hold. 

Tips to improve efficiency in your daily Scrum standup

Daily Scrums need to be quick and focused on task progress rather than discussing strategy. 

Here are a few tips that'll keep your daily scrum quick and efficient:

  • Focus the conversation: Daily scrums inform the team on the status of tasks, not how to fix them. Any problems raised must be assessed outside the meeting time.  
  • Use a timer: Use a timer to keep participants within their talking time limits. This makes sure the meeting is quick, so everyone can communicate their progress and carry on with their daily tasks.
  • Keep the same update order: Scrum masters should call out members in the same order daily. This ensures everyone is ready and prepared for their turn, avoiding delays like “unmuting mics” or outside distractions. 

3. Sprint review

Sprint reviews are for team members to demonstrate their output, completed tasks, new features, and how they fixed any bugs or issues. 

The sprint review is conducted after the first sprint. The goal is to learn from one another’s tasks and experiences. The aim is to adjust inputs and timelines to improve output quality.  

It’s also an opportunity for team members to ask questions and provide feedback on what's been done.

How to run a sprint review 

Sprint reviews spotlight each team member’s task progress and accomplishments. 

  1. Do a quick 15-minute team check-in to understand your team’s current energy. This will help build team camaraderie before giving feedback to one another. 
  2. One by one, each team member presents their finished tasks and what tasks are in progress. Each team member should go over what they did and if they faced any issues. 
  3. If possible, the participant should show a demo of their product.
  4. The floor is open for questions and feedback for the team to discuss and improve the quality of future output.
  5. The scrum master should write down all the items and feedback on a sprint review template for future reference.

Tips to improve efficiency in a sprint review

The following tips will help your team feel comfortable participating in the sprint review. In turn, increased communication will improve work quality, team knowledge, and project success. 

  • Hand out a meeting agenda beforehand: Send each participant an agenda before the sprint review. This helps the team prepare the documents and products they’ll need before the meeting and makes sure no documentation or product is left out in the review. 
  • Share information: Centralize information, documents, and materials in one place. This will help the team individually access materials and knowledge. Having a shared digital space makes it easier to keep track of all your progress. 
Pro-tip: Try this Sprint Review template from Mural to easily facilitate an effective sprint review.

4. Sprint retrospective

A sprint retrospective occurs at the end of the sprint and after the sprint review. It gives the team the opportunity for honest reflection and feedback on the project and the process for future improvement.

How to run a sprint retrospective 

The purpose of a sprint retrospective is to focus on project improvement. 

  1. Start the meeting with some friendly icebreakers (don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, whether you just need icebreaker questions, or your team is remote, or it’s a small group).
  2. The Scrum master asks the product owners and product manager the following questions: What worked? What didn't work? What can be improved?
  3. All the feedback is added onto a sprint retrospective template. 

Tips to improve efficiency in a sprint retrospective

Sprint retrospectives provide valuable insights for project quality improvement by understanding each stakeholder’s opinions and experience.  

  • Start with connection: Team-building exercises like warmups or icebreakers (see above) can quickly bring a team closer together and build psychological safety — a crucial element for constructive feedback and project improvement. 
  • Ask probing questions: Don’t ask your team questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.” Dig deeper and ask questions that require well-rounded answers. For example, instead of “did you encounter any challenges?” opt for “ what challenges did you encounter?”
  • Avoid groupthink: Use a virtual collaboration tool like Mural to run retrospectives, which offers features like private mode, where each team member can write on sticky notes that are only visible to the scrum master. Once all the notes are in, the scrum master shares the diverse thoughts with the group. That way, no idea or feedback is influenced by other team members. 
Related: How to avoid groupthink in teams: 5 tips for better teamwork

The real work begins after you’ve finished the meeting

Agile meetings are a great touchpoint between team members to understand one another's progress and work in unison. However, the real work begins the moment the meeting has finished.

To help support your team, you need information and documentation. You need to keep good track of your meeting outcomes, to-dos, and backlogs to support your team. Each meeting will give you insight into which team members need more resources, support, or time.

Mural makes it possible for enterprises to implement and scale Agile methodologies in a visual, collaborative way. Contact our Sales team to learn more about how Mural powers enterprise collaboration.

Looking for more resources to help you run more efficient Agile meetings? Mural's Agile templates help you easily run retrospectives, sprint reviews, and much more!

About the authors

About the authors

Bryan Kitch

Bryan Kitch

Content Marketing Manager
Bryan is a Content Marketing Manager @ MURAL. When he's not writing or working on content strategy, you can usually find him outdoors.