3 Key Agile Meetings: Maximizing Efficiency to Achieve Goals

Hello, and welcome! I’ve heard that as a team leader, you are interested in or may already be conducting agile meetings. That’s great!

Your AI-powered meeting assistant — Huddles

Smarter agenda , valuable conclusions

What’s that? You still have some questions? Let’s hear them:

  1. There are several agile meetings; what’s their relevance, and what value do they bring?
  2. Starting meetings can be challenging; is there a simple version that can be easily implemented?
  3. After getting started, meetings often become formal and lose their effectiveness.

If these are your concerns, that’s excellent because it means you are ahead of the curve, and the process of practical exploration itself is meaningful. Even better, these questions all have answers, and I hope today’s sharing can provide support for you.

01 – The Center of Agile Meetings

You’ve probably already read many articles explaining agile meetings. This collaborative approach, which began more than 20 years ago to help IT teams deliver products and services more efficiently, is now being adopted by an increasing number of non-IT teams.

There are many meetings that support agile collaboration. Based on the practices of the “Huddles” team, you can experience the core value of agility by conducting just these three meetings.

1. Daily Standup                   
2. Sprint Planning
3. Sprint Retrospective

As shown in the diagram above, agile collaboration aims to deliver value to our customers (both internal and external) as quickly as possible. This is achieved by continuously delivering value in short cycles. After each iteration, requirements and priorities are adjusted quickly based on real customer feedback, ultimately delivering products or services that customers/users truly need, maximizing value.

By conducting three key meetings, each cycle follows this pattern: Sprint Planning defines the goals for the current cycle -> Daily Standup tracks progress toward the goals -> Sprint Review ensures more efficient goal achievement in the next cycle.

To simplify this model further, the core purpose of all agile meetings is the same – to achieve goals with maximum efficiency and maximize value delivery.

With this core purpose in mind, I believe you will have a new perspective on agile meetings, and all meeting processes should be designed to serve the ultimate goal of “achieving cycle objectives with utmost efficiency.” When each cycle can be delivered efficiently and with high quality, it means your team is creating more value for customers, and the sense of purpose in your work will be greatly enhanced.

02- How to Conduct the Three Major Agile Meetings Efficiently?

At this point, you might be wondering, “Okay, we need to conduct the three major meetings, but how can we make these meetings truly efficient?”

With the core goal in mind, you can focus on a few key points:

  1. Daily Standup Meeting:
  • Keep your eyes on the goal and efficiently track progress.

The Daily Standup is considered the easiest agile meeting to conduct, but it’s also the one that can most easily become formalized. It may either turn into a lengthy discussion or a reporting session with little added value, and everyone just wants to finish quickly.

In reality, the ultimate purpose of this meeting is to let all team members know whether we are on track to achieve our goals for the current cycle. Updates on everyone’s progress and the resolution of blockers are all about tracking progress.

Here are 3 tips:

1: Update on the results achieved towards the goal, rather than simply reporting what has been done.

2: Don’t just share good news; share blockers promptly and work on clearing them so you can continue towards the goal.

3: Always keep an eye on progress – How far are we from the goal? Can we complete it within this cycle? Do we need adjustments? Add one more question: Confidence level in achieving this cycle’s goal (scale from 1-10)? If it’s 8 or above, great; if it’s below 8, find out why.

Did you notice? The format of updates is not important—whether asynchronous or synchronous, in the morning or evening, what matters most is whether everything is on track and if any adjustments are needed. By making these adjustments with the purpose of responding to this question during the Daily Standup, you can identify what content in your daily meetings can be omitted or discussed outside the meeting, such as further discussions on specific blockers, which can be resolved promptly after the meeting. With these adjustments, you can aim to finish the Daily Standup in under 15 minutes. It’s possible!

  1. Sprint Planning Meeting:
  • Establish consensus on cycle objectives that the team is confident in achieving.

The Sprint Planning Meeting is a moment when team members jointly reach consensus on the objectives to be achieved in the upcoming cycle and feel confident and motivated to work towards them. Here, we emphasize three keywords: team, consensus, and confidence.

I’m sure many of you have experienced the difference in motivation and effectiveness between doing something voluntarily and doing it passively. Therefore, the Sprint Planning Meeting should not only involve handing out tasks but also ensure that the team identifies with the goals and considers them as their own. Only then can you mobilize everyone’s enthusiasm.

Here are 2 tips:

1: The cycle objectives must be clear and explicit. Share the objectives for the upcoming cycle in the first agenda item of the meeting and explain why these objectives were chosen, why the priorities are set this way, and what significance they hold for customers and the team. Everyone wants to do valuable and meaningful work, and this is a crucial moment to give everyone the opportunity to ask questions and clarify, motivating them and fostering a sense of ownership for the same goal.

2: Let the team estimate the workload themselves. For each requirement, invite the relevant responsible person to ask questions, ensure there are no objections, and then estimate the workload. This is a moment where the initiative is handed over to the team members, and the purpose of estimation is to provide each person with enough confidence to complete their assigned work and, at the same time, to accurately assess the periodic output of each team, finding the right rhythm for team deliveries.

From this perspective, it is actually a meeting that revolves around goals and consolidates centripetal force!

  1. Sprint Retrospective Meeting:
  • Review goal attainment and make the next cycle better!

The Sprint Retrospective Meeting is the most easily overlooked but extremely critical meeting. It is often overlooked because people think retrospectives are complex, time-consuming, and tiring. Therefore, retrospectives are usually held on a quarterly or half-yearly basis. Little do they know that precisely because retrospectives are not frequent enough, these problems arise. Think about who can remember what happened three months ago?

If you follow the iterative cycle retrospectives honestly and regularly, a quick 30-minute meeting can help the team quickly identify both the highlights and issues in collaboration, apply new insights to the next cycle, and make the team move faster and better.

Here are 2 more tips:

1: Retrospectives should be timely and focus on goals. Start by sharing the achievement status of the current cycle’s goals, guiding everyone’s reflection based on objective data and facts.

2: Don’t be greedy, focus on the essentials. Discuss 1-2 key points that affect goal achievement, dive deep into problem-solving, and implement the next steps. If you can solve one problem at each retrospective, your team’s collaboration will become as smooth as silk in no time.

Conclusion

So, the significance of a retrospective is not in reviewing the past but in the future. By reviewing the achievement status of the current cycle’s goals, you’ll know how to better achieve the next goal. Now, think about whether the logic of waiting until the project is completed before reviewing is the right approach?

These key points are also the design philosophy of the “Huddles” agile three major meetings – achieving cycle objectives with utmost efficiency. By subtly helping the team cultivate a strong sense of purpose during regular meetings, you can make the team truly aligned and agile!

I hope your agile meetings will shine brightly in the coming year!

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