What is the essential difference between planning in SCRUM and a monthly follow up meeting?

While planning in SCRUM and a monthly follow-up meeting might seem similar, there are some essential differences that set SCRUM apart. Here are the key distinctions:

1. Time-Boxed Sprints:
– SCRUM: Work is divided into time-boxed iterations called sprints, typically lasting 2-4 weeks. Each sprint aims to deliver a potentially shippable product increment.
– Monthly Follow-Up: Typically doesn’t adhere to a fixed iteration cycle. The cadence is based on a calendar month rather than a fixed sprint duration.

2. Sprint Planning:
– SCRUM: Sprint planning is a dedicated meeting where the team commits to a set of user stories or tasks to complete in the upcoming sprint. It focuses on detailed planning for a specific, short-term period.
– Monthly Follow-Up: May involve planning but usually on a broader scale, covering longer-term goals and not necessarily breaking down tasks into granular, actionable items for a short period.

3. Roles and Responsibilities:
– SCRUM: Involves specific roles such as Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team, each with distinct responsibilities. The Product Owner prioritizes the backlog, the Scrum Master facilitates the process, and the team self-organizes to complete the work.
– Monthly Follow-Up: Often lacks these defined roles and can involve a variety of stakeholders without specific SCRUM roles. The focus is more on general project management rather than adhering to SCRUM principles.

4. Daily Stand-Ups:
– SCRUM: Includes daily stand-up meetings (Daily SCRUM) where team members quickly discuss what they did yesterday, what they will do today, and any blockers.
– Monthly Follow-Up: Does not typically include daily check-ins. Follow-up on progress might be less frequent.

5. Review and Retrospective:
– SCRUM: At the end of each sprint, there is a Sprint Review to demonstrate the work done and a Sprint Retrospective to reflect on the process and improve.
– Monthly Follow-Up: May have a review of progress and issues but not necessarily a structured process for continuous improvement like a retrospective.

6. Backlog Refinement:
– SCRUM: Continuous process of refining the backlog to ensure that it is up-to-date and prioritized for upcoming sprints.
– Monthly Follow-Up: May not have a structured process for backlog refinement, focusing instead on immediate deliverables and less on future planning.

7. Documentation:
– SCRUM: Emphasizes lightweight documentation, focusing on user stories and acceptance criteria rather than extensive documentation.
– Monthly Follow-Up: Documentation can vary and may be more extensive, focusing on reports, minutes of the meeting, and detailed plans.

In summary, while both approaches involve planning and follow-up, SCRUM is a structured framework with specific roles, ceremonies, and artifacts designed to promote iterative development, continuous improvement, and team self-organization. A monthly follow-up meeting is generally more flexible and less structured, suitable for broader project management but not necessarily aligned with the principles of agile development.

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