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Myth: Scrum is a Waste of Time

April 24, 2024
Scrum events

One of the first things that people new to Scrum learn about is the five events. The five events in Scrum are 1) the Sprint, 2) Sprint Planning 3) Daily Scrum, 4) Sprint Review and 5) the Sprint Retrospective. When they are listed out like that, it seems like - a lot. When people first start learning about Scrum, it can seem like Scrum requires many meetings. It might even seem like Scrum is a waste of time.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Scrum is used in complex environments where less is known than unknown. In these environments, we need to plan frequently, inspect our work, and adapt based on what we learn. Scrum has just enough structure—but not too much—to enable teams to develop an approach that fosters continuous learning and improvement in complex environments.

Each Scrum event has a purpose, and each event reduces the need for other meetings by ensuring that the team collaborates effectively. The entire Scrum framework is designed to help teams self-manage themselves and align around value.

Here’s how the events reduce other meetings. The Scrum team gets together once per Sprint to plan how they will deliver the work of the Sprint (Sprint Planning). They touch base daily to see how it’s going and to adapt their plan if needed (Daily Scrum). Towards the end of the Sprint, they meet with stakeholders to show what was done and to get feedback (Sprint Review). At the end of the Sprint, the team reflects on how to improve how they work together (Sprint Retrospective). These events need to happen on a cadence of one month per less to ensure that the team is collaborating frequently enough to reduce risk (the Sprint).

Here’s how each of the five Scrum events actually reduces the need for other meetings.


The purpose of the Sprint is to deliver a done, usable increment of product that meets the Sprint goal. The timebox for the Sprint is one month, which means that the maximum length of the Sprint is one month. The most popular duration for the Sprint is two weeks, but any duration shorter than a month will work. Many Scrum teams align their Sprint with other activities within the organization (e.g., a release schedule), but generally, a shorter Sprint is better. The Sprint should ideally be just long enough to allow Developers to deliver a Done increment and just short enough to ensure that the risk is acceptable for the Product Owner.

The Sprint reduces the need for other meetings because it establishes a dedicated work period and ensures that the team collaborates with stakeholders (at the Sprint Review) at least once per month to get early feedback on the product being delivered each Sprint.

In addition, by setting the time box to one month, the Product Owner is assured that a done increment of Product will be delivered at least once per month. The Product Owner may choose to release that increment to the customer to assess the product's value and measure customer outcomes. After all, it’s better to find out early how the customer benefits - or fails to benefit - from the Product that is delivered!

Sprint Planning

The purpose of the Sprint Planning event is to plan the work of the Sprint. This includes selecting which Product Backlog items will be delivered, developing a plan for delivering them, and establishing a Sprint Goal. All of this information is captured in the Sprint Backlog.

The Sprint Planning event reduces the need for other meetings by ensuring that the Scrum team establishes a clear goal and collaboratively plans how to accomplish the upcoming Sprint. This event also ensures that the team is aligned on their approach to delivering the Sprint.

Daily Scrum

Daily Scrum aims to improve the likelihood of delivering a done increment at least once per Sprint. This event is time-boxed at 15 minutes and is only required for Developers.

The Daily Scrum reduces the need for other meetings because it eliminates the need for larger touch-base meetings during the Sprint. In addition, the Daily Scrum ensures alignment and helps the team to identify any blockers early so that they can be resolved with the least amount of time possible.

Sprint Review

The purpose of the Sprint Review is to discuss what was done during the Sprint and to collaborate on what to do next. It’s not juts a demo, it’s an opportunity to inspect the increment that was delivered and to collaborate with Stakeholders on what would add the most value in the future.

The Sprint Review reduces the need for other meetings because it is an opportunity for ongoing feedback from stakeholders. It also provides visibility to the organization and reduces the need for ineffective progress reports or progress meetings.

Sprint Retrospective

The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to improve the Scrum team’s effectiveness. The Sprint Retrospective reduces the need for other meetings because a series of small improvements to how the Scrum team works is much more effective - and has a lot more buy-in - than periodic significant process updates. The Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for issues to be addressed promptly, which reduces the need for larger, time-consuming problem-solving meetings later. The Sprint Retrospective empowers the Scrum team to own their process, minimizing the need for managerial intervention later.


When you first hear that Scrum has five events, it can seem a little overwhelming. Here is a sample meeting schedule for a Scrum team that has elected a two-week Sprint to help illustrate what this might look like.


Scrum events schedule


As you can see, the team would spend 2.5 hours per week in meetings, which isn't a lot when you consider that these events reduce the need for other meetings and that these meetings include planning and collaboration activities designed to foster self-management and maximize value delivery.

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