Does Agile have too many meetings?

Like every headline phrased as a question, the answer is ‘no’! But more important than the answer is the reason for it.

When a large team convert to Agile, they typically are implementing some version of Scrum, which has a set of events (read: meetings) to observe: sprint planning, daily scrum, sprint retrospective, sprint review, and backlog grooming.

On top of that, there are typically cross-team meetings and updates for management that take up additional time from the development teams. This can really add up!

We suffered from too many meetings at one point in our Agile journey, soon after we split our single Scrum team into multiple teams. It took us quite a while to get a handle on the root cause, but ultimately it ended up being a lack of ownership and accountability for the teams, which was a sign that we weren’t doing Scrum correctly. Instead, we had many stakeholders who wanted to tell the teams what to do and how to do it, without taking accountability for the solutions they were pushing.

Once we recognized the issue, we made sure to address it in our next team restructure, and pushed more responsibility and decision making into the teams. And we continuously reinforced that the stakeholders first and foremost need to clearly describe problems, not jump ahead to solutions. This made the meetings that remained much more productive and structured than the ones we had in the past, and also reduced the total amount of time spent in meetings.

If your Agile teams are also suffering from too many meetings, it’s worth considering whether they are being micro-managed or if they are as empowered as they should be.

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