The Daily Scrum - By The Team, For The Team

The second event during an Agile Sprint is the Daily Scrum. The daily scrum (sometimes colloquially called the "standup" meeting) is a recurring, 15-minute meeting that is held by the team and is for the team. What I mean by this is that the sole overarching reason for having this meeting every day is to empower the team to be successful. Check out Mountain Goat Software's page for the formal "by the book" description of what the daily scrum meeting is. As for why - the daily scrum gives the team a defined platform to stay in close communication and to help each other as it is needed. To help illustrate this, I reached out to our team members to get some examples of how they have either provided or gained value from a daily scrum meeting.

What kind of unique value have you provided or gained from daily scrum meetings?

Jeff Bubolz

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

I like to use the analogy of a relay race when talking about the daily scrum. In the analogy, the runners are the development team and the baton is the sprint goal. We want to keep our eyes on the baton not the runners. I encourage scrum teams to think about what others on the team care about when they talk in the daily scrum. It doesn’t matter what each individual person did the last 24 hours, what matters is how the team moved closer to accomplishing the sprint goal. Whenever we get alignment around our progress towards the sprint goal, the daily scrum provides value.

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

James Pemberton

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

One the most helpful things I was able to provide for a team's stand-up was changing it from a status meeting to a discussion about the stories in the sprint. I did this by suggesting the team "walk the Kanban board" during stand-up instead of each member of the team reciting the work they've done and they work they planned on doing. The way we “walked the board” is to start with the highest priority item in the sprint and anyone that had relevant information to that PBI would speak then we'd discuss what additional worked need to be done for it to be completed. I encouraged the team to talk about which tasks were moved or stayed in the “completed”, “in process” or “pending” statuses. That process would continue for all the stories in the sprint. This helped the lessen the pressure that team members felt during the stand-up and helped encourage people to talk about tasks and stories more openly.

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

Graham Mueller

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

Since we’re a team with members hopping on and off and working on a variety of projects, having a daily sort of sync up is pretty crucial. We use it both for bringing up impediments as well as tracking the status of our projects. Additionally, since we’re not all physically co-located, it can be helpful to remind people if you need something reviewed or tested that they may have forgotten or not yet seen. Sometimes our conversations devolve into discussions of particular issues which has its ups and down, but helps to get through a lot of conversations that might otherwise just not happen if we weren’t pulled together. Our standup is also a bit later in the morning, so we frequently are already “set” on what we’re going to do for the day, but sometimes it can end up changing your direction for the day if something more pressing has come up.

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

Goutham Pai

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

As a developer, I find the daily scrum meeting to be invaluable as a tool to keep a team on the same page. The general flow of a daily scrum meeting is to go over what was done the prior day, discuss what the team plans to tackle until tomorrow and disclose any impediments that might be holding the team back. A scrum meeting that stands out for me involved the discussion of a particular backlog item that the team was planning on getting through that day. The reason why it stood out for me is that while there were acceptance criteria spelled out for the backlog item in question, everyone on the team had a slightly different vision in mind of how to achieve it. Being able to discuss how we specifically wanted to tackle the development likely prevented lost time later on in trying to resolve issues caused by inconsistent assumptions.

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

Dan Sloan

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

Standup is much more than just a daily status report. It is a time to connect with all members of your team members and discuss any problems encountered, successes achieved, and any changes that need to be made based on newly uncovered information. As a QA it is a great time to hear from the developers on where they might be struggling, which may help identify areas that you will want to specifically target while testing. With a few projects that I have worked we started doing a gut check near the end of this sprint. This gave us a chance us to prioritize which stories were closest to being done then swarm on them in order and allowed us to get an extra story done, as opposed to not finishing both of them.

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

Sienna Bast

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

Although daily stand up meetings are short, they can provide a great amount of value to the scrum team. For example, I was once in a stand up where one of my teammates explained that he was having a difficult time with a particular technology. He was a new member, so he did not know that I had experience with that tech. His call-out allowed us to later collaborate and figure out the issue quickly. Without daily stand up meetings encouraging collaboration between the team members, that interaction may have been delayed or never existed at all.

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

Erin Koth

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

In my previous life as a QA guy, I always found the Daily Scrum to be an invaluable part of the development process. I worked in one organization who didn’t want me going to stand up with the team I was working with, they said it was a waste of my time. I pushed back, saying that I needed the context to understand the work I was doing, and they agreed to let me join. Well, about a week after I joined, I noticed that a lot of the work we were doing as a team was being done in parallel, so things were all being completed at the end of the sprint, causing me to be a bottleneck. Bringing that up, and getting the team to “Walk the Board” and focus on one PBI at a time helped remove that bottleneck and increase the teams flow through the system.

<codeblocktest></codeblocktest>

Are there other techniques or behaviors you have seen during a daily scrum meeting that have been valueable for your teams?

Get your project started today

Get in Touch