Evolution of the Daily Scrum: From Status Meeting to Self-Organizing Developers Check-In.
The Daily Scrum is the 15-minute huddle where the developers come together to check if they're on track to meet the Sprint goal. It's been around since the first version of Scrum, and while description of Daily Scrum and the questions asked during the meeting have changed over the years, its purpose has remained the same.
In the older description of Daily Scrum, it specifically started with saying “Each Scrum Team meets daily for a 15-minute status meeting called the Daily Scrum. The Daily Scrum is at the same time and same place throughout the Sprints. During the meeting, each Team member explains: (formatting of the word "status" and "explains" are mine)
As you can see the intent of the Daily Scrum from the earlier version of the definition of Scrum is to inspect if the team can meet the Sprint Goal or not.
In 2011, the language changed a little bit, I think, towards the worse side. The change in the first line looked really good though. It stated “The Daily Scrum meeting is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours.” The status part is gone and it is not for the Scrum Team but for the Development Team. However, the questions remained the same. But the worse thing was what it said in the later part. It stated “Every day, the Development Team should be able to explain to the Product Owner and Scrum Master how it intends to work together as a self-organizing team to accomplish the goal and create the anticipated increment in the remainder of the Sprint.” Doesn’t that sound like a status meeting every day to report not only to the Product Owner but to the Scrum Master too?
In 2013, the description of Daily Scrum got much better. It still had those three questions. But the questions were tweaked to emphasize the team meeting the Sprint goal.
In 2020, the three questions were dropped altogether. This was a good move to make the framework in line with Scrum being a minimally sufficient framework. Removing this prescriptive language finally recognized that the three questions are not the only way to accomplish what we want to accomplish in Daily Scrum. Another welcome change is that, the guide do not say, as in the previous versions, that “The Development Team or team members often meet immediately after the Daily Scrum for detailed discussions, or to adapt, or replan, the rest of the Sprint’s work”. It may sound like developers need to have scheduled meetings in order to collaborate. In the latest version the statement is “The Daily Scrum is not the only time Developers are allowed to adjust their plan. They often meet throughout the day for more detailed discussions about adapting or re-planning the rest of the Sprint’s work.” This is line with the intent that the Developers are a team and they collaborate all the time.
The good thing is that the purpose of the Daily Scrum never changed. It has always been “ to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.”
It is a good thing that the Scrum Guide itself continued to evolve - by inspecting and adapting and making changes. Unfortunately the world haven’t changed. I still meet a lot Scrum practitioners who think that the Scrum Master is to ask those three basic questions and that the Developers are to answer those so that Scrum master can make decisions - just like a status meeting with a team lead or a manager - every day, while standing up, possibly even before having a coffee. That sounds horrible. Shouldn’t we treat our team members as responsible adults? These people voluntarily signed up to work toward the spring goal, supposed to be self organizing. Hum.... what did the Agile Manifesto say?
Maybe we should trust the developers for a week or two while providing all the support they need and stay out of their way. At the end of the Sprint, every one get to go to the Sprint Review and see if they got the job done. The developers will get to explain what happened. And then the Product Owner and Scrum Master get to go to the Sprint retrospective together with the developers and they could come up with a plan for improvement (or may be adjust the expectations?).
What are your thoughts?
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