Beyond Scrum Events - Daily Scrum


During an Agile conference, I made the statement below and asked the audience to tell me whether that was true or false:

The three questions that need to be answered during a Daily Scrum:
1.What did you do yesterday?
2. What are you going to do today?
3. Do you have any blocker?
Daly Scrum 1.jpg

In a group of 80+ people, only 3 brave people signalled that as FALSE and everyone else as TRUE!

Before answering that, let’s understand what is and what is not Daily Scrum.

What is Daily Scrum?

It is a daily event where the Development Team gets together for a max of 15 minutes, preferably always at the same place, to inspect the Sprint progress towards the Sprint Goal (see Sprint Planning).

What is not Daily Scrum?

A daily meeting to provide a report to the Scrum Master or anyone else.

By answering the questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday?

  2. What are you going to do today?

  3. Do you have any blocker?

There is a natural trend to provide a status report and justify what you did yesterday even though that is not related to the Sprint Goal, e.g. yesterday I had meetings, went to the doctor, etc. If it is not relevant to achieve the Sprint Goal, it shouldn’t be discussed during this meeting.

In fact, there is an important part missing in each question that makes a big difference:

  1. What did I do yesterday that helped the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?

  2. What will I do today to help the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?

  3. Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the Development Team from meeting the Sprint Goal?

All the three questions are focused on the Sprint Goal. If there needs to be any discussion to take in place to adapt the current plan, the Development Team or team members meet immediately after the Daily Scrum for those details to be discussed, or adapted, or replanned, to the rest of the Sprint’s work.

We don’t have a Sprint Goal, some may say. Well, here it is an issue that needs to be addressed.

But we do need to answer the three questions, don’t we?

No, we don’t!!!! According the Scrum Guide “Some Development Teams will use questions, some will be more discussion based.”

Discussion based Daily Scrums can be very powerful if armed with a shared visual space, like a Scrum board. Scrum boards are a way to make the intangible, tangible.

Having a shared visual space and walk through the work helps the Development Team to keep focus on the work and the Sprint Goal and also avoid having the Scrum Master (or someone else) as the main point for status report.

*Tip for Scrum Masters: if your team is always looking at you during the Daily Scrum as if that meeting was yours, explain the meeting purpose, step back and stay behind them. The daily Scrum is for the Development Team, you are there to help them if needed only!

Therefore, that statement is FALSE! The Scrum Master can introduce different approaches and the Development Team can decide which one suits them better.

If you would like to learn more, Ammeon Solutions will be hosting Scrum Master training on the 11th & 12th of September in Dublin, Click here for more details

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