Avoid 5 Mistakes of the Daily Scrum

Daily Scrum is a meeting that gives a team an organized forum to provide an update and escalate blockers or look for further information. It improves team communication and helps avoid interruptions throughout the day looking for updates.

In my opinion this scrum meeting could be used in every organization and industry not just software development. It brings daily communication between team members in an non-intrusive manner while keeping people accountable and tracking progress.

Daily Scrum

Daily Scrum/Stand-Up Explained

Duration: 15 Minutes

The daily stand-ups are 15 minute event which are held each morning at the team area. It is crucial that only team members speak at the daily stand-ups which is a rule enforced by the Scrum Master. Each person is to answer the following 3 questions and should not take more than a few minutes with their update…

  1. What I did yesterday
  2. What I plan on doing today
  3. Any blockers to report

This daily stand-up is an absolute must in any Scrum development methodology as it improves communication and identifies blockers which can be acted upon quickly.

5 Mistakes of Daily Scrum

Not Setting Ground Rules

A daily standup should be the most consistent of all team meetings.

Same place

Same time

Same bat channel.

If you do not set this precedence and police it that all team members follow the rules you are set for failure. If a member is being continuously late ignore the issue. Instead take him aside and explain to him that being late is delaying everybody else. Find out why is he being late. One instance we discovered it made a team member slife very difficult because he had drop his kid to school. We just moved it an hour later. no harm done.

Not Setting Business People Expectations

Business people have a tendency to only think about themselves when it comes to product development. They don’t consider complexities requests. They are involved but not actually committed unlike the development team. This can lead to built up frustrations.

There is a famous chicken and pig analogy used a lot in Scrum that depicts this relationship.

Pigs, Chickens, and Stand-ups--Oh My! — RGalen Consulting

Chickens have input on the product that will be developed = product owner

Pigs decide how it’s going to be done and the rate at which it can be accomplished = engineering team

Include business people but ask them not to talk unless asked a question as the daily standup is for the engineering to discuss what they are working on. Not to change priorities or add extra scope.

Not Sticking to the Script

The daily scrum has 3 questions you need to answer that is it. Participants are expected to answer these and move on. It is a matter of respecting other peoples time. The daily standup is not a place to discuss your thoughts on nuclear physics or last nights football game.

Not having a Meditator

In scrum we have a dedicated role called a scrum master who is responsible for organizing scrum ceremonies and meetings. They are also responsible for ensuring the meetings go as planned on time following the ground rules.

I have also worked in teams without a scrum master, where the engineering lead or product owner take up the role at meetings. It is all about making sure the daily scrum runs smoothly.

Not Time Boxing

The daily stand up is meant to be 15 minutes. No longer. If its longer you could have a number of issues:

  • Too many attendees
  • Too long updates
  • More conversation than updates
  • Not having information at hand

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