Daily Scrum Best Practices from a Scrum Master Perspective

Author: Şahap DAYIBAŞ, Technical Team Leader – Embedded Systems

 

The Daily Scrum, aka the daily stand-up, is the 15-minutes meeting that helps scrum teams to be more productive and efficient, improving the quality of the project as well within the agile methodology.

Let’s take a brief look at the Scrum Framework itself firstly and then continue with the tips for conducting an effective Daily Scrum meeting.

Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile software development framework within people can deal with complex problems while delivering products effectively and creatively. According to Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland who are the developers of Scrum Guide, Scrum is (1):

  • Lightweight
  • Simple to understand
  • Difficult to master

Scrum Events

The following meetings must take place within scrum framework:

  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Scrum
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective

Daily Scrum is one of the most important among the others because it is crucial for achieving sprint goal and enhancing collaboration among scrum team (Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team). In order to perform Daily Scrum effectively, we should prevent ourselves from doing some common mistakes during the meeting. Below, you can find some best practices and characteristics in order to conduct an effective scrum meeting and some of the common mistakes done during Daily Scrum.

Daily Scrum

  • The Daily Scrum is a 15-minutes time-boxed meeting for the Scrum Team to synchronize activities and create a short term plan until the next meeting. This is done by answering the following questions during the meeting.
    • What did I do since the last Daily Scrum?
    • What will I do until the next Daily Scrum?
    • What blocking issues or impediments do I have?
  • The Daily Scrum should be held at the same place and time every day.
  • Scrum Team is allowed to attend Daily Scrum but the Scrum Master enforces the rule that only Scrum Team members participate in the Daily Scrum.
  • The Daily Stand-up meeting increases the chance that Scrum Team will achieve the sprint objectives and create the expected valuable increment within the Sprint. It also helps Scrum Team to understand the importance of being a self-organized team.

Daily Scrum Pitfalls and Misunderstandings

  • It is not a status or management meeting and not only for the Scrum Master. It serves to the whole scrum team. The main purpose of the Daily Scrum is to synchronize scrum team members and identify how well the team is progressing towards the sprint goal. For this reason, every scrum team member should present his or her statements to the whole scrum team rather than only to the scrum master in order to enhance the collaboration among the team.
  • It is not a technical discussion meeting. If there is a specific need for a technical discussion or detailed information, new meeting should be arranged just after the daily scrum including necessary team members.
  • It is not a planning meeting. Daily Scrum should not be transformed to a planning meeting on the way of conducting, discussing some new requirements and deciding which tasks will be dropped and picked up within the active sprint.
  • It is not the place to listen other members’ problem details. Every scrum team member should know that everything said in the Daily Scrum should be valuable to whole scrum team.
  • It should become the routine and habit of whole scrum team. There should not be any reminder to start the meeting every day.
  • Scrum team should be prepared for the meeting so that they cannot be searching for thoughts before presenting his or her statements.

Daily Scrums improve communications, identify impediments to development for removal, highlight and promote quick decision making and enhance the Development Team’s level of knowledge.

References
1.) Schwaber, K & Sutherland, J. (2016). Scrum Guide.

3 Comments

  • Pete Waite says:

    I assume that “There should not be any reminder to start the meeting every day” refers to things like meeting invites via email.
    Having lived the scrum stand-up process in an open plan office for several years, we found that an audible alarm was perfect for triggering the start of the stand-up. Without it, people would be too focused on what they were doing and could miss the stand-up completely. This was proved repeatedly on occasions when the alarm did not sound for some reason. No-one should be clock-watching and no-one has left UTC built into their brain.
    Anything that adds unnecessary minutes to the daily stand-up (like chasing people who didn’t know it was “that time already”) is dead time for everyone who is waiting.

  • Selcan YAVUZ KADIOGLU says:

    Good point Pete and I like the audible alarm solution 🙂 Some other initiations I experienced with different teams:
    – “Let’s start” by any team member : If the scrum team is in the same room having a short distance that they can hear each other
    – Standing-up on the board : Again co-located teams with an acceptable distance that they can see eachother 🙂
    – Digital reminders (i.e outlook or other collaboration tools): For non-located teams

  • Şahap DAYIBAŞ says:

    You are right Mr.Waite. It also refers to something like this.”Hey! It is time for the Scrum, come please”. An audible alert seems to be good way to improve that process and worth trying. Thanks a lot for your valuable comments.

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