In my last 2 posts from Scrum Events series I described what is Sprint and Sprint Planning. Today I would like to focus on the event that can be easily forgotten or incorrectly transformed into a status meeting. It’s time to talk about Daily Scrum.
DEFINITION AND LENGTH
Let’s start from definition of the Daily Scrum written in the Scrum Guide :
The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team. The Daily Scrum is held every day of the Sprint. At it, the Development Team plans work for the next 24 hours.
First of all, the same as all events in Scrum, Daily Scrum is time-boxed. The maximum duration of the event is 15 minutes. The meeting should be organized daily at the same time and place to reduce complexity and to help the Development Team get into the habit of this daily activity.
INSPECTION, NOT A STATUS MEETING
Continuing the analogy to running, Daily Scrum is like a line that is showing you the distance to the final destination. It is a great tool that helps you to inspect how far away you are. Sometimes it can motivate you to run faster or change your previous running technique.
Daily Scrum is the event dedicated for inspection of how far the Development Team is from achieving the Sprint Goal. It is verification if they are on the right track or they need to somehow adjust the work.
I would like to highlight that this event is for the Development Team to inspect their work, not for anyone else. They work together to accomplish what they planned as a self-organized team. Scrum Master should make sure that event is happening and make sure that the event is not disrupted by anyone else. It’s important to remember that Daily Scrum is not the status meeting for Product Owner or anyone else.
MYSTICAL 3 QUESTIONS?
In the Scrum Guide there is an example of 3 questions that Development Team can answer during the Daily Scrum event:
- 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?
Let’s remember that it is just the guidance. Some teams can prefer discussion - based meetings. The most important for them is to inspect progress towards the Sprint Goal and plan work for the next 24 hours. How will they do it? It’s up to them and that’s why it’s mentioned in the Scrum Guide that 3 questions are just “an example”.
SPRINT GOAL - AGAIN?
I’ve already mentioned and described why Sprint Goal is an important part of the Scrum in my post Sprint Goal in Scrum - why do we need it?
The main purpose of the Daily Scrum event is to discuss progress towards the Sprint Goal. I will probably sound like a broken record, but I need to emphasise Sprint Goal’s value in the event.
It is important to mention it, because the Development Team has a tendency to forget about the Sprint Goal and discuss all work done a day before and planned for the next 24 hours, even if it wasn’t related to the goal. It can obviously impact the length of the meeting and result in forgetting why the team did the work that they did. I believe that reminding yourself why you are doing your work and what is your goal helps you to stay motivated and focused.
The simple but really useful for Development Team can be a visual representation of the Sprint Goal on their Scrum board or anything else that they are using for daily inspection. It will be a reminder for them to always refer to the progress towards the Sprint Goal.
TOO LONG DAILY SCRUM?
One of the most common issues related to the Daily Scrum is extending the 15 minutes length. First of all, Scrum Master should teach the Development Team to keep the meeting within the time frame. It can be challenging, especially with a talkative team. :D
There are simple tricks that can help in keeping the meeting within 15 minutes time-box:
- Focus on the Sprint Goal - talk only about the work related to the Sprint Goal, not everything what you did or plan to do
- No technical details - do not explain technical details of your work or impediments
- Detailed discussions saved for later - if there is a need to discuss some issues or plans in detail, it should be done after Daily Scrum. It will definitely save time for people who will not be involved in the discussed subject.
- Set up time per person - depending on the size, the Development Team can set up the maximum time for talking per each person. They can even use a timer to count it.
- Stand up during the meeting - it is easier to keep the meeting short if people do not sit down.
VALUE OF THE DAILY SCRUM
As a Scrum Master, when I hear the question: “Can we skip the Daily Scrum? We have nothing to talk about.”, I know that it is the time to step in and something is wrong. It is important to teach the Development Team, what is the value of Daily Scrum and how it can be beneficial for them.
- Inspection and Adaptation - it is time for the team to inspect their work and adapt if there is a need for change. They can track if they are progressing towards the Sprint Goal or not. As soon as the team forgets about the Sprint Goal, they lose track of why they are doing their work. That’s why they don’t know what to talk about during the meeting.
- Communication - quick discussion about progress of a team improves communication and helps the Development Team to be on the same page in regards to what needs to be done and what issues they are struggling with. Eliminate other meetings - Team knows what is the plan for the next 24 hours and there is no need for other long, time-consuming meetings.
- Quick fix - Daily Scrum promotes removing impediments as soon as possible. Early recognition of issues can help in finding the quick solution.
- Team support - Daily Scrum is a reminder for the Development Team that all individual’s actions impact the team, but the team can be supportive and helpful in resolving any issues. The most important is to collaboratively strive to achieve the Sprint Goal.
The most important information about Daily Scrum to remember are:
- It is a 15 minutes time-boxed event that happens daily.
- It is an internal meeting for the Development Team.
- Daily Scrum is the inspection event, not a status meeting.
- During the meeting, the team should inspect the progress towards the Sprint Goal and adapt to the situation (change their actions) if needed. Sprint Goal helps the team to realize why they are doing their work.
- The Development Team should keep the 15 minutes time frame.
- The Scrum Master role is to make sure that the team has a meeting and they do not extend 15 minutes.
- Daily Scrum benefits are: better communication, no need for other meetings, quick fix of issues and support of the team.
I hope my explanation of the Daily Scrum helped you to understand the purpose and value of that event. Feel free to share your thoughts about it on LinkedIn or Twitter!