5 Types of Scrum Meetings

5 Types of Scrum MeetingsMaking the move from waterfall to an agile scrum environment can be a big move, but for many development teams, it’s definitely worth the transition. When you work in an environment that utilizes the scrum methodology, it’s likely this organization values open communication, collaboration and efficiency.

While we’ve already explored the basics of scrum in previous blog posts, and the fact that it features an incremental development process, what we haven’t delved into is the actual format of scrum meetings. Depending on team preferences and styles, these meetings take on different forms and timelines, but they all include characteristics of the scrum methodology.

First let’s meet the “typical” scrum team. These are the actual people involved and engaged throughout this process. It all begins with the “Product Owner” and his or her vision for the project. Next we have the “Scrum Development Team.” This group of cross-functional members works together in a self-organizing, collective atmosphere. The “Scrum Master” is more of the manager for this team because of his or her authority and leadership inside the group. The job of the Scrum Master revolves around facilitating and resolving any issues experienced throughout the entire product development process.

The Agile Process and Different Types of Scrum Meetings

Now that there is a basic understanding of the team and scrum qualities, it is time to move on to the actual scrum process. This process becomes more of a cycle in terms of movement. If there is an issue or a setback, the process might move backward to resolve such issues. This cyclical process allows the project to easily continue forward as well. This is where the agility of this method becomes vital. But for more of a visual, the scrum process begins with the sprint planning meeting and proceeds from there. Here is an overview of the different types of scrum meetings:

1. Sprint Planning Meeting: This meeting begins with the Product Owner. This is where he or she explains her vision for the project as well as ways for the team to meet this goal. During this meeting, team members decide the amount of work they can complete in a timely manner. This is also when the team moves work from the Product Backlog to the Sprint Backlog. This step requires a lot of planning and usually this takes around 8 hours for the group to decide on a finalized 30-day Sprint.

2. Daily Scrum and Sprint Execution: From the planning meeting, we move into the daily scrum meetings. Every single day for about 30 minutes, the team gathers together to report any issues or progress on their tasks. Though brief, this meeting is an essential part of the scrum process. It is designed to keep all group members on track in a cohesive manner. Normally the Product Owner is present during all daily scrum meetings to assist in any way.

3. Sprint Review Meeting: This meeting is used to showcase a live demonstration of the work completed. During this meeting the Product Owner, Scrum Master and stakeholders are present to review the product and suggest changes or improvements.

4. Sprint Retrospective Meeting: This meeting is held to facilitate a team’s reflection on their progress. The team speaks openly about their organizational concerns and teamwork. During this meeting, dialogue should remain friendly, non-judgmental and impartial. This review session is a key part of team building and development and it’s also very important for future scrum projects.

5. Backlog Refinement Meeting: The last type of scrum meeting reviewed in this article is the backlog refinement meeting. Team members focus on the quality and skill work involved during sprints. This meeting is necessary for the business owners to connect with the development team and is used to assess the quality and development of the final product. This meeting involves important reflection on the team backlogs. These backlogs are often written in User Story form and specify what makes the product useful to the consumer.

Scrum meetings involve so much more than these brief descriptions. There are many additional pieces of the scrum process including things like burndown charts and scaling, but the point of this post is to provide an overview of different kinds of scrum meetings. Regardless of the type, all scrum meetings encourage organization, progress and resolutions. With this incremental and cyclical software development process, all members have the ability to communicate openly and honestly. With the process of scrum and the sprint timeline, projects are now efficiently completed with the help of a capable and cooperative team and Product Owner led by a skillful Scrum Master.

Costa Rica is a Setting for Success

Costa Rica is a beautiful country filled with rich culture, a comfortable tropical climate and truly breath-taking scenery. This hot tourist attraction is also the setting for the new blockbuster release, “Jurassic World.”  Only 22 years after the destruction that occurred at Jurassic Park, a new fully-functioning dinosaur theme park, called Jurassic World, is captivating visitors of all kinds.Dinosaurs

This truly entertaining movie is quickly making its way across the $1 billion line at the global box office with an energetic and talented cast that includes Jimmy Fallon, Katie McGrath, BD Wong, Omar Sy and Jake Johnson, to name a few. And even better – it’s projected to make this move faster than any other blockbuster in history! The innovation and ingenuity throughout the film is what makes it so successful.

Without spoiling the plot for any of you who haven’t seen it yet, the movie takes place at Jurassic World, a luxury resort that features a special habitat for numerous dinosaurs that have been genetically engineered (including a particularly smart and dangerous Indominus rex). Of course the movie is complete with an escape scene that sets off a whole host of additional problems…leading to help from animal experts and the military.

Some of the best scenes throughout the movie showcase the technological advancements and genetic discoveries featured in the park. This movie sparks a lot of thought and research. While watching the movie, viewers feel as though they are getting to walk through this incredible theme park, filled with magnificent creatures. While the graphics played a huge role in the success of this movie, the creation of the story line is what keeps you on the edge of your seat!

Dinosaurs 2With business operations in the U.S. and Costa Rica, we are often in a position to champion all that is great about Central America, and more specifically Costa Rica. To all of us at number8, it is really exciting to see a popular movie take place in one of our favorite locations. Cocos Island, designated as a National Park just off the coast of Costa Rica, is the actual island used for filming the movie.

While in “Jurassic World” people are flocking to Costa Rica in search of dinosaurs, in real life this country has become a hotspot for business opportunities. The combination of a talented and dedicated workforce, easy accessibility from many US cities, and a business-friendly culture rich in beauty and history make Costa Rica an excellent choice for all types of industries including the film industry.


Software Development Costa Rica

reasons why we love software development costa ricaWhen we decided to apply our expertise in software development outsourcing to a nearshore location, we considered a lot of different options, making visits to numerous countries.

Having been in the tech business for many years, we were already keenly aware of information technology operations in places like India and China. But we knew we wanted something different, especially since we had become deeply engaged by the agile scrum approach to software development.

Why We Love Software Development in Costa Rica

Communication challenges and major time zone differences were just a couple of the reasons why we explored alternatives to places like India for software development outsourcing. After a lot of looking, we settled on San Jose, Costa Rica, as the perfect location for our nearshore headquarters. And we did this for a number of important reasons. Here are 8 of them:

  1. Convenient location. Finding a location that is easy to access from the United States was top on our list when we started looking for a great location for offshore software development. Costa Rica was a great fit with affordable, convenient flights from many U.S. cities including Atlanta and Miami.
  2. Same time zone. Before we even started looking for an international location for software development, we knew that we wanted to be in location that shared our time zone. This is very important to us given our emphasis on an agile approach to software development. Our nearshore team regularly participates in client meetings with ongoing communication throughout the day. We would not be able to have the business that we do if this regular communication was not possible due to time zone differences.
  3. Great technical talent. The success of our company has been based on our ability to attract and keep people with the very best technical talent. Costa Rica is a country committed to developing a strong technical workforce. With several top educational institutions in Costa Rica offering advanced training in software development, we have connected with a talented pool of software developers who use all the latest tools to deliver high quality code and create cutting edge software.
  4. Excellent communication / bilingual. The majority of people in Costa Rica are bilingual speaking both Spanish and English very fluently. This was an essential part of our decision to open offices in Costa Rica. Due to the close communication required for an agile scrum software environment, we placed top priority on this.
  5. Safety and security.  Comparatively speaking, Costa Rica is considered quite safe. According to the 2014 Latin America Security Index, Costa Rica is one of the most safe countries in the region (along with Chile and Uruguay). The majority of crime involves acts of petty theft. Violent crime is much less common. Costa Rica has long been considered a stable democracy and it has not had an active military presence since 1948.
  6. Friendly culture. Working with the people of Costa Rica is truly a joy. The culture tends to be known for its friendly and open style. We hear over and over again from our clients how much they truly enjoy working with our team in Costa Rica. This is another huge part of our success.
  7. Strong cultural ties. Historically the relationship between the U.S. and Costa Rica has been very strong. This solid relationship is excellent for business, making it easy for us to operate office locations in both countries. In fact, estimates from the U.S. State Department suggest that around 120,000 private U.S. citizens live in Costa Rica, and more than 1.2 million travel there each year.
  8. Beautiful country. Not only is Costa Rica easy to get to from the United States, but it is also a beautiful place to visit. This is an added bonus for us and for many of our clients who enjoy the opportunity for occasional business travel to a place with some of the most lovely beaches on earth.

If you are consider nearshore software development in Costa Rica, contact number8 today. We’d love to talk with you more about the many benefits of software development in Costa Rica, which go far beyond the excellent value you’ll receive.

5 Important Insights from the Latest Research on Teamwork

One of the best ways a business can succeed is by having a strong sense of teamwork. Without communication and collaboration on the job, time becomes money. This strong connection between employees does not only benefit the business, but individual team members as well.

The quality of a team affects an individual’s performance, as well as their personal well-being and job satisfaction.

So what factors go into creating high quality teams? How are high quality teams nurtured and encouraged? We turned to the latest research to understand the intricacies of teamwork and found five  important insights.Teamwork Tips

  1. Communication impacts creativity: Many of the best ideas spring from good conversations. A supportive dialogue between team members helps encourage creativity and innovation.
  2. Good teamwork increases individual and team energy: Interaction between team members should be energetic and understanding. With this balance of support and enthusiasm, the team thrives. It’s true that people feed off of the emotions of others, especially while on the job. An overall positive team spirit has lasting effects.
  3. Motivational dynamics influence the team’s performance and well-being: Work engagement, on both an individual and team level, has a powerful impact on a team’s productivity and success. Providing an open mind and needed encouragement can improve team performance significantly.
  4. Engagement is unique to each team: Understanding the way a specific team works together is almost always better understood by the team members involved, rather than someone on the outside. This means that changes within the team should occur within the team. Trying to change the dynamic of a team from the outside might end up doing more harm than good.
  5. Conflict must get resolved: Every team will face conflict or disputes at some point in time. The most important way for a team to overcome this conflict is by finding a solution and working through the issues at hand. Never let this conflict interfere with established goals and always keep a high morale.

Teamwork is one of the most challenging, yet successful parts of a business model. Managing and leveraging teamwork to achieve goals is very rewarding. Looking at some of the key points identified by researchers studying team dynamics, it’s easy to see that teamwork has the power to bring a whole team up or to put individuals down. The best way to create this balance is by continually striving to improve communication between team members and to cultivate a support system that addresses both individual and group needs.