Each Sprint-which is never longer than 30 calendar days-begins with a Sprint Planning Meeting. This meeting is "timeboxed" at eight hours. (Timeboxing is an essential concept in Scrum, in which clear, rigid deadlines are set for most activities.) During Sprint planning, the team and the Product Owner negotiate the portion of the Product Backlog the team will attempt to deliver by the end of the Sprint, as well as a higher level "Sprint goal," describing the purpose of the Sprint. The Sprint goal(s) should be met, even if the team cannot complete all the selected Backlog items.
Immediately after selecting Backlog items and agreeing on a Sprint goal, the team, either with or without the Product Owner present, decomposes the selected Product Backlog into constituent tasks. This detailed list of tasks is called the Sprint Backlog and serves as the team's plan for the next iteration.
The Sprint Backlog
The Sprint Backlog includes all the tasks necessary to turn the Product Backlog into working product functionality. Any team member can add, delete or change the Sprint Backlog as work for the Sprint emerges. On average, tasks should represent one day of work each; those that require more than two days should be broken down into separate tasks. During the Sprint, team members volunteer for tasks-they are not assigned to them-and work remaining is updated daily.
The Daily Scrum
As the name implies, the Daily Scrum occurs each day at the same time. Only team members must attend and participate, but anyone is free to observe. During the Daily Scrum, team members discuss progress toward the current Sprint's goal using three questions:
1. What did I do since the last Daily Scrum?
2. What am I doing until the next Daily Scrum?
3. What are my impediments?
There is the risk that the Daily Scrum will become a perfunctory (and low-value) status report if the ScrumMaster doesn't encourage active discussion. The ScrumMaster should encourage the team to talk to each other (rather than report to just the ScrumMaster) and use whatever techniques are appropriate to keep everyone engaged.