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What Events Should We Put in Place For Iterations (Sprints)?

One the key tools that we use when we work an Lean Agile (Scrum) implementation is the notion of a “cadence”. See What is the Benefit of Having a Cadence of Meetings Etc? for more on why this is important.

The following notes gives you some ideas of what your calendar looks like for a Team would look doing a “normal” Iteration (or Sprint); what meetings you should consider.


Note that there are a couple of assumptions here:

  • Make sure that you understand the purpose of the meeting so that the meeting ends up having value. There is nothing worse than setting up a series of meetings and people just go through the motions.
  • Some of these, like the Iteration Planning (Sprint Planning), the Daily Stand-up (Daily Scrum), the Iteration Demo (Sprint Review) and Iteration Retrospective (Sprint Retrospective) are pretty much “standard Scrum”. Others a “good ideas”. Even if you are not doing Scrum, you will often find the meetings still make sense. Use what makes sense in your situation.
  • If you are starting out with a new implementation, you might want to look at setting up all these meetings and then paring back (or trying new meetings) as you learn. For these situations it is usually better to learn by doing instead of deciding upfront “we aren't going to need / do that”.
  • The setup specifies “max” time for the meeting. This is your time box. You don't have to use all the time. Its OK to reduce the time if you have completed the result.
  • The setup shows a standard two week Iteration (Sprint). Your Iteration (Sprint) might be longer / shorter. Adjust your time boxes and calendar accordingly:-)


When you set up an Agile Team you will see the following events for a 2 week Iteration (Sprint):

Meeting Cadence Length Purpose Comments
Iteration Planning (or Sprint Planning) First day of the Iteration Max 2 hours Team makes a reasonable commitment to complete a set of work by the end of the Iteration For the next Iteration (Sprint), this can be scheduled either on the same day or the day after the Demo and Retro depending the timing of the demo. See How Do We Run Our First Iteration Planning (Sprint Planning)? for more information.
Daily Standup (or Daily Scrum) Every day of the Iteration Max 15 mins Team synchronizes their efforts in order to meet Iteration Goals See What is the Purpose of a Daily Stand-up (Daily Scrums)? for more information.
Mid-Iteration Review Middle day of the Iteration Max 1 hour Team determines whether they are on course or whether they need to adjust Often combined with Backlog Refinement
Backlog Refinement Middle day of the Iteration Max 2 hours Team looks ahead to next Iteration to see if they are ready for Iteration Planning Often combined with Mid-Sprint Review
Iteration Demo (or Sprint Review) Last day of Iteration Max 1 hour Team provides “objective milestone” of progress and gets feedback from stakeholders Create specific meeting that includes your stakeholders. See How Do We Run Our First Iteration Demonstation (Sprint Review)? for more information.
Iteration Retrospective (or Sprint Retrospective) Last day of Iteration Max 1.5 hours Team reflects on how to become more effective and adjusts its behavior accordingly This event typically runs after the Demonstration so you can incorporate stakeholder feedback in your Retrospective. See How Do We Run Our First Iteration Retrospective (Sprint Retrospective) for more information.

Calendar of Events

The following calendar shows the basic setup for a Iteration (Sprint) of 2 weeks.

Note that we try to set up Iteration (Sprint) so they start / end in the middle of the week. If you set things up so they start / end around the weekend, you will find:

  1. Events will often have to be delayed by long weekend holidays
  2. Your team will do non-sustainable things like “working weekends” to meet objectives

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