How to Conduct an On-target Daily Scrum Meeting?

How to Conduct an On-target Daily Scrum Meeting?
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Utpal Vaishnav

Published on August 10, 2012


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Daily Scrums are one of the most important ceremonies in Scrum projects. Many Scrum teams are coached to value this ceremony and provided with “how” this meeting should be conducted. However, it’s not uncommon to see such meetings go off-target. Sometimes, people also confuse Daily Scrum with Daily Status Meetings that are practiced in conventional, command and control powered project management world. That’s a mistake.

Certainly, Daily Scrum is not a project status meeting. In Scrum, status of the project is accessed via looking at the working software, not by attending such a meeting. For a successful execution of a Scrum project, it is very important to ensure that your Scrum ceremonies – including Daily Scrum – are carried out the way it should be. Well, here is my understanding of Daily Scrum that has been helping me to keep my Scrum teams on-target.

1. Why Daily Scrum?
Daily Scrums are carried out to ensure that all the team members are on-target. Team members publicly share their commitment and convey the impediments if any.

Continuously challenging the self to be on-target is one of the common key behaviors of successful Scrum teams. Publicly sharing the commitment makes it even more achievable. Conveying impediments is the first step towards solving them.

2. What it requires?
Discipline.
Daily Scrums are strictly time-boxed to 15 minutes, generally done on a fixed time, fixed location and facilitated by Certified Scrum Master. Although it may sound simple, don’t presume that Scrum is easy. It requires skin in the game – complete commitment – from each team member. ‘Push’ from the department heads or the project managers will not work. It requires a motivated team who pulls the work and does everything possible to accomplish it.

3. Where to conduct?
Anywhere.
Preferably at the same location, in the same meeting room. In case of distributed offshore Scrum, if the location is virtual, then using the same online meeting software.

4. Who participates?
In every Scrum Meeting, Every Scrum member participates including ScrumMaster and Product Owner. Yes, your VP of Engineering or the Marketing Manager can also participate but only in the listening mode Only the pigs, the performers – who do the actual work – speak. And yes, Product Owner and Scrum Master – both are pig roles. Refer to Chicken and Pig Story to know more about this.

5. When to conduct?
Ideal time to conduct Daily Scrum is in the beginning of the workday – it sets the ground for the coming day’s work. It helps you keep on target for most part of your day. Makes sense, isn’t it?

6. How to conduct?
Each team member answers the following questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday? (Announce that you were on target)
  2. What will you do today? (Announce that you’re committed to be on target)
  3. Are there any impediments in your way? (Convey if anything is stopping you from being on-target)

Impediments discovered during the Daily Scrum meeting become the Scrum Master’s chief responsibility. In the cases where Scrum Master is not able to resolve the impediments on her own, she still assumes the responsibility and makes sure that someone from the team (or the VP or the Department Head or whosoever) resolves the impediments. Daily Scrum is not a problem-solving meeting. Problems raised during the meeting are dealt offline usually just after the meeting is over.

Now please read this carefully
Many Scrum teams fall into the trap of solving the problems during the Daily Scrum Meeting – that’s counterproductive and may waste time of other team members unnecessarily. Daily Scrum is also not an hour-reporting meeting or a project status meeting in which the team members convey the hours and project status to their boss or the scrum master. ScrumMaster is not the boss but the facilitator. Click here to know more about this. Daily Scrum is a disciplined Scrum ceremony, which is carried out to ensure that the team is on-target and to deal with and remove any blockers that team may encounter.

Question:
How do you conduct your Daily Scrum? Share your experiences in the comments.

About the Author

Utpal Vaishnav, Certified Scrum Master. He also blogs about his experiences of Scrum.


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