Scrum uses Less Meeting Time than Waterfall


shush the secret – Scrum actually takes less meeting time than waterfall

Scrum uses less Non-Dev Time than Waterfall and that is my Claim.

Every team I have ever coached in Scrum and Agile all comment on how much time we spend meeting as a team.  Here is a dirty little secret: Scrum meetings actual use a smaller percentage of time than we use in waterfall projects.  Many Scrum Masters and team don’t realize this because many were not Program or Project Managers and if you have ever really managed multi-million dollar projects you know about the reviews, the weekly meetings, kickoff meetings, demonstrations and transition meetings between the functional transitions.

If you do the number give or take Scrum gives the Dev and Test team as a whole around 7% more time to do what they do.  So without counting any improvement in communication, quality or other aspects of Scrum’s benefit you already get an extra 7% more time to code or do work.  Now isn’t that sweet?

Now people might try and micro analyze my figures but in my simple math and experience in numerous projects the estimates are about right.

They all say do we have to hold the daily scrum, do we really need to have a retrospective or do we really have to spend this much time in our Sprint Planning?  My answer is always yes and they moan and groan.  But that is the coaches job to not let the team give up on the discussion.

Let’s do the math.  Here is a simplified breakdown for a 3 week Scrum Sprint.  I also add some grooming time, as I always get my team do groom or refine future stories in prep for the next Sprint.

3 Week Scrum Sprint

scrum time allocation 3wk sprint

Scrum time allocation 3wk sprint

So by looking at the standard 40 hour work week one can see that the non-Development or writing / testing code activities only take up 12.71% of the available working time.  If you think about that it is really nothing in the scheme of things.

Scrum Time-Box Allocation

Scrum Time-Box Allocation

6 Month Waterfall Project

Now looking at a Waterfall (6 month) Project and from my personal experience I see the following.  Some might question an entire day spent in some meetings, but I would argue the day is fried and you are not going to get any work done that day.

waterfall time allocation 6 month project

Waterfall time allocation 6 month project

Some might say I short changed the Waterfall Dev team, but I factored in 12 weeks or 3 out of 6 months for Dev.  I also provided for just shy of 2 months for Testing.  And we all know the DEV and Requirement team are already going over the plan and in the end shorten the amount of testing time left over.  Any way the number show 20% of the available time is spent on non-Dev (Dev and Test) activities.

So there you have it Scrum uses less Non-Dev Time than Waterfall.

The next time someone says you Scrum people sure do meet a lot, please feel free to reply that it is at least less time than the waterfall model and in 6 months time we will have Demonstrated and promoted code to Production 8 Times in the same timeframe.

8X Demonstrations vs 1X Demonstration, it is a No Brainer!

With Scrum we get 7% more time to code without changing any techniques, tech or other things.  Then add in all the good techniques in Scrum and Agile and it just blows away Waterfall.  Sorry but that is the truth.


Greg Mester