Daily Scrum, The Details

The Details

During the course of a sprint there is a daily meeting called the Daily Scrum. This meeting is normally held in the same location and at the same time each day, morning being the most preferred. This allows the team to know what all of the team is working on for the day and if they are running into any issues. The meeting should fit within a very strict 15 minute window to keep discussion brief but relevant.

At every daily scrum the team and Scrum Master are required to be there to answer three simple questions. What did you do/accomplish yesterday? What will you do/work on today? Is there anything that is getting in your way (impediment) to you doing your job?

The first two questions are important for the team to be able to understand exactly where they are during the sprint giving everyone an understanding of what work has been completed so far and what work remains unfinished towards that sprint's goal. The first question is just a quick highlight before getting to what each team member is "committing" to have done for tomorrow's Daily Scrum.

The last question pertains to impediments. Impediments are anything that becomes a hindrance or obstruction in completing your work. These are brought up in the Daily Scrum so that the Scrum Master becomes aware of them and becomes responsible to resolve them as quickly as possible. Thus being able to be a high functioning team. This also gives opportunities for other team members to step in when they hear a teammate having issues with something they might already know how to do.

Some Pitfalls...

We keep having one or two team members show up to the Daily Scrum a few minutes late...

This is troublesome because team members are having to wait or start without people which can cause strife having to repeat things that were missed especially if it becomes a chronic problem. If this is the case with your team bring it up in your sprint retrospective.

Does the Scrum Master use the Daily Scrum to track the team's progress?

Misusing the Daily Scrum - The daily scrum isn't a status update meeting or a meeting that is to micromanage the team members. The meeting also isn't only for the Scrum Master it is for the entire team so in order to return to the collaborative atmosphere when speaking you should look at the entire team not just the scrum master.

So it is not a status meeting - does that make it kindof like a mini-planning meeting?

There must also be careful consideration that the Daily Scrum doesn't become a planning meeting for new or adjusted requirements or technical discussion for how to handle them. These types of discussions can be "tabled" in order to make sure the team members can finish their three question discussions. The daily scrum does provide the forum for these questions to surface (helping the team identify any ambiguity or changes that come up during the sprint) the team can identify the need during the standup and make sure the people who need to be involved in that conversation get together following the Daily Scrum to resolve the issue.

Can I look at my phone or check emails while it isn't "my turn" during the Daily Scrum?

This problem stems from being distracted or not paying attention to what people are discussing and doing day in and day out. This can lead to a team that doesn't function well together missing opportunities to work together pair programming or solving issues as a team. So in order to fix that move away from your desks or ask that phones are left at the computers or whatever you need to get undivided attention.

If nothing else, remember that the Daily Scrum is a meeting that is meant for the team and held by the team to empower the team. This helps the team be as successful as possible fostering communication on a daily basis.

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