The importance of Daily Scrum

Thanks to my 11 year old son Anay Kasturi for the illustration

The Daily Scrum– This topic has been written and/or discussed several times in the past. However, the fundamentals and the importance of the daily Scrum remain the same – it’s one of the most important events of the Scrum Frame-work (ok, I will probably say the same thing for all the four events of Scrum).

It’s an important event because the objective of the event is for the development team to plan for the day. It is important for the team members to sync up daily to understand what has been accomplished since yesterday, plan for today and identify if there are any impediments in the way, that are preventing the team to accomplish the Sprint Goal. Hence, the suggested format of answering the three questions for team members who are working on tasks. The focus is on accomplishing the Sprint Goal. During the daily Scrum, the Development Team members explain:

  • What did I do yesterday that helped the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • What will I do today to help the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the Development Team from meeting the Sprint Goal?

The daily Scrum is one of the four key events of the Scrum frame-work. It is an inspect, adapt mechanism for the team, which I wrote in detail on my blog on empiricism. In empiricism, we have controls and one of the key controls is to check at specified intervals. So, we follow this in Scrum where the team gets together to check progress on the work, so they can inspect and adapt. It is time-boxed to 15 minutes, so it’s important to respect this time-box and stick to it. As the team gets better, they can reduce the time to less than 15 minutes. In my experience, I have seen some mature teams complete their daily Scrum in 6-7 minutes without compromising the quality of the daily Scrum.

Tips on conducting an effective daily Scrum

What if someone is done with their work, and they don’t want to come to the Daily Scrum?

We are all in this together, we succeed or fail as a Team. So, the answer should be  “Does anyone need help, I’m done”. That’s the Team spirit!

What if someone is consistently late to the Daily Scrum?

In my experience, I tried a compliance jar for being late, team members who are late more than two times, have to put in a $1 for each late arrival.

What if someone is trying to only speak to me as the ScrumMaster?

Based on the Scrum Guide, the daily Scrum is an event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours.

I have tried turning around if people are only speaking to me as the ScrumMaster, or pretend I am tying my shoe laces and tried to move the attention of that team member to the team.

What if someone who rambles on and on?

I use a timer for people who ramble on, enforce the rule that they get together after the daily Scrum if they are trying to solve problems.

What if someone interrupts the other team member?

I have heard of examples where the team uses a talking stick (like a pen) or a ball and only the team member who has that object is allowed to speak and others pay attention to that team member. Rotate this object. After all, respect is one of the key values of Scrum, right?

I have observed that some of the above tips/recommendations mentioned above may involve extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation works well. I like Daniel Pink’s three elements of intrinsic motivation – Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose. That is a blog post that I would like to write in the future!

Conclusion

The daily Scrum is one of the most important events for the development team to plan for the next 24 hours. The development team is responsible for the conducting the daily Scrum. The ScrumMaster ensures that the development team conducts the daily Scrum and completes it within the 15 minute time-box.

 

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