Reclaim your Daily Scrum

First things first: why do we need a Daily Scrum? The answer is: Inspect and adapt. The Daily Scrum is a key inspect and adapt meeting as it provides the Dev Team with the opportunity of a “daily mini planning”. It also enhances the team’s self-organisation spirit and confidence in being in charge of their own work. As the Scrum Guide describes, the Daily Scrum improves communication, eliminates other meetings, identifies impediments and allows quick decision making.

It’s quite usual for a Scrum team to turn the Daily Scrum into a status report meeting. Possible signs of such a situation might be the following: 1) a monotonous answer to the three questions of the Daily Scrum 2) a focus on the individual tasks and not on collaboration towards the Sprint Goal completion 3) No Sprint Goal present 4) Developers working on different goals, no cohesion.

Therefore the question is: How do we take the Daily scrum back?

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First of all, don’t insist on everyone standing up. It’s called Daily Scrum, not Daily stand-up. You don’t have to stand up.

Secondly, make sure that you have a Sprint Goal. The importance of having a Sprint Goal has been discussed in a different post.

Thirdly, use the Sprint Goal to achieve coherency. And by coherency, I mean that everyone works for the same cause. Hence, the three questions of the Daily Scrum should be aiming at the Spring Goal; What did I do yesterday to achieve the Sprint Goal? What will I do yesterday to achieve the Sprint Goal? What is blocking me from achieving the Sprint Goal?

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If you want to try something new, consider this: walk the board. Forget the classical three questions of the Daily Scrum, but keep the Sprint Goal in mind. Coach the developers to experiment with discussing the active PBIs (i.e. the ones that are part of the Sprint Backlog and are being worked on) instead of every developer answering the three questions. Make sure thought that the Sprint Goal is understood and seen by everyone involved.

And now the million dollar question: what if the Dev Team works on all PBIs simultaneously and therefore the 15 minute time-box is not enough? The answer is (drums rolling)….don’t work on all items simultaneously and consider having a reasonable WIP.

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