Here are some thoughts about Daily Scrum. These are notes I created while answering questions from a CSM class or from some of the coaching engagements.
Some of the questions I hear about Daily Scrum are:
Who runs the Daily Scrum Meeting? Who would make sure that developers stay on the topic?
If the Scrum Master do not attend, who would make sure that Daily Scrum starts on time and ends on time?
It is essential to understand that the Daily Scrum serves as a dedicated event for the Developers within the Scrum Team. The Developers have the autonomy to structure and employ techniques that best suit them, as long as their focus remains on making progress towards the Sprint Goal and devising a practical plan for the upcoming day's work. The Scrum Master's responsibility is ensuring that all Scrum events, including the Daily Scrum, are conducted in a positive and productive manner. If, during the meeting, someone speaks excessively or digresses from the intended topics, it does not solely fall upon the Scrum Master to intervene and redirect the discussion. It is crucial to recognize that the Scrum Master is not in charge of leading or managing the meeting. Instead, their role lies in providing the Developers with the necessary resources and knowledge to conduct the meeting effectively and help them create a working agreement within the team. This approach empowers the developers to evolve into a self-managed team. The Scrum Master could help by demonstrating what a successful Daily Scrum looks like or participate as an observer.
One of the key expectations is for the developers to function as a self-managing team. If the Scrum Master is unable to leave the team alone even for a 15-minute meeting, it indicates that the team might not yet be fully self-managing. In such a scenario, the Scrum Master's role shifts towards aiding the developers in their journey towards becoming a self-managing team.
What if the Manager of the team attend the Daily Scrum Meeting?
According to the Scrum Guide,
"The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work."
"If the Product Owner or Scrum Master are actively working on items in the Sprint Backlog, they participate as Developers."
Could anyone else attend the Daily Scrum? Possibly. According to Scrum Guide, It is for the developers and they are the ones participating in in that meeting. Others could attend as a listener.
Here are several reasons why a Manager or other Stakeholders might choose to avoid attending in a Daily Scrum Meeting.
1) Interference with self-organization: The Daily Scrum is for developers to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and possibly synchronize their work and plan their day. When a manager, particularly a hierarchical authority figure, joins the meeting, it can disrupt the team's ability to self-organize. The power dynamic may discourage open and transparent communication among team members.
2) Encouraging micromanagement: If managers attend the Daily Scrum, unintentionally, they might foster a culture of micromanagement. Team members may feel compelled to provide detailed progress updates to impress the manager, diverting their focus from collaborative problem-solving within the team. This can lead to reduced autonomy and motivation among team members.
3) Time inefficiency: The Daily Scrum is meant to be a short, time-boxed meeting for the development team to share quick updates. Involving managers who are not directly involved in day-to-day tasks can lengthen the meeting, decreasing its efficiency and hindering the team's progress.
4) Trust and transparency concerns: The Daily Scrum provides a safe environment for team members to openly discuss progress, challenges, and obstacles. However, the presence of managers might discourage team members from expressing concerns or discussing issues openly. Avoiding manager attendance can foster an atmosphere of trust and transparency, enhancing problem-solving and collaboration within the team.
The Scrum Master should remain vigilant about these potential issues. It is also essential for the Scrum Master to understand the motivations behind a Manager's or stakeholders' desire to attend the Daily Scrum, which may include:
1) Lack of confidence in the Scrum Team or engaging in micromanagement.
2) Management not having alternative ways to stay informed about the team's progress.
3) Unawareness of the impact their presence may have on team members' ability to speak openly about issues.
Our Daily Scrum goes on for much longer than 15 minutes everyday and its mostly a waste of time.
I) Lengthy Daily Scrum Meeting:
If the daily Scrum extends for an excessive duration, it is crucial to investigate the underlying causes. Common reasons for lengthy meetings include developers trying to solve problems during the Scrum, lack of agreed-upon strategies to keep the meeting concise and focused, and treating the daily Scrum as a status meeting. Organizational issues, such as team members working on multiple efforts simultaneously also can contribute to developers attempting to solve all problems during the daily Scrum.
1) Making it as a Problem solving meeting:
During the daily Scrum, while the development team is inspecting their progress toward the Sprint Goal, they will identify impediments and roadblocks that is affecting the progress towards the Sprint goal. They do not necessarily discuss them or try to solve them during the daily Scrum unless they are resolved by a quick exchange between the team members.
There are two reasons for not trying to solve problems in the daily Scrum:
i) all of the developers do not need to be in a meeting to solve every problem.
ii) There may be other parties who are not in the meeting to discuss these problems. The Daily Scrum should not be used to find solutions to problems (obstacles, impediments) raised.
Instead, keep the meeting very short and have those problem-solving conversations afterwards with only those who are necessary.
2)Format of the Daily Scrum: The most common format involves each team member sharing what they have done, their plans for the day, and any impediments. However, this format may resemble a status report and lead to longer meetings. Look for other techniques for conducting a daily scrum.
How is Daily Scrum different from a typical status meeting?
In the Daily Scrum, the developers focus on progress they made towards the Sprint Goal, identify any impediments that are blocking progress, and the plan for the day ahead. The Daily Scrum is a brief, focused meeting that is intended to synchronize the team's activities and identify any impediments to achieving the Sprint Goal. It is not a status meeting reporting status to a supervisor or a manager, nor is it intended to be a problem-solving session. It is a time for the team to collaborate and plan their work. This is how Daily Scrum is different from other meetings.
The Scrum Master plays a vital role in facilitating the Daily Scrum effectively. Their responsibilities include:
* Helping the team understand the purpose and significance of the Daily Scrum.
* For a new team, the Scrum Master facilitate the Daily Scrum and help the developers to learn to conduct the meeting effectively. The Scrum Master could also attend the meeting in order to observe and provide feedback for improvements.
* Assisting the team in selecting suitable structures, formats, and techniques for conducting the meeting efficiently.
What are some Tips for effective/improving daily Scrum Meetings:
Signal for Excessive Talking: Establish a method for team members to indicate when someone has been speaking for too long. For example, use a prop like an Elmo doll to signal "That's enough, let's move on." The responsibility for concise discussions lies with the entire team.
Diversify the Approach: Instead of the traditional format of individual updates, try the "walk the board" technique. Select a prioritized item from the product backlog and have everyone share what they accomplished on it yesterday, plans for today, and any obstacles. Repeat the process for each item.
Maintain Suspense: Keep participants engaged by introducing an element of surprise. Let the current speaker nominate the next person to speak, rather than following a predetermined order.
Shared Ownership: Encourage team members, besides the Scrum Master, to facilitate standup meetings. Rotate the responsibility to promote a collaborative environment and diverse perspectives.
Display the Sprint Goal: Have a prominent visual reminder of the sprint goal during the meeting to prevent repetitive discussions of the standard questions.
Utilize the Sprint Confidence Chart: Adapt Dhaval Panchal's Sprint Confidence Chart. Team members privately reflect on the team's ability to achieve the sprint goal and vote on a confidence scale. Discuss significant differences and collaboratively identify daily activities to improve confidence. Record reasons for changes to foster continuous improvement.
Tips for Facilitating Scrum Events By Brad Swanson
Ten Tips for More Effective Daily Scrums By Mike Cohn
Sprint Confidence Chart by Dhaval Panchal
Scrum Guide - Section Daily Scrum