Daily Scrum Meeting is a necessary part of every Sprint, because it helps teams track their progress toward the Sprint Goal. But these brief meetings can end up being a time suck for the whole team if they’re not handled appropriately. Our experience will help keep you and your team on task and avoid wasting time.
What is the Daily Scrum Meeting?
Successful Agile software development is impossible without effective Daily Scrum Meetings. Let’s start with the theory. What is a Daily Scrum Meeting?
According to the Scrum Guide, “The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team. The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.”
The Daily Scrum Meeting is held at the same time and location every day of the Sprint; consistency helps make it a routine. The best time to arrange a Daily Scrum Meeting is at the beginning of the day, since that’s generally when people have the most energy. The Developers may choose any structure and technique, as long as the meeting helps them evaluate their progress toward the Sprint goal.
Daily Scrum Meetings help the Team communicate and produce a better product. Developers can also meet throughout the day if they need more detailed discussions or if unexpected situations arise.
What Does a Daily Scrum Meeting Look Like?
The Scrum Guide gives us a basic explanation of a Daily Scrum Meeting, but you’ll probably need a bit more detail to make it truly effective.
Start with choosing the time and place, keeping in mind that you’ll be coming back every day. Pay attention to the timebox of the meeting, as it is not a good habit to extend it or reschedule. Don’t change your plans because the Product Owner or Scrum Master can’t join. Remember, this event is for the Developers only, not for a Product Owner or a Scrum Master. If the Scrum Master or Product Owner is working on achieving the Sprint Goal, they can take part in a meeting as Developers.
So if the Scrum Master is attending the meeting as a Developer, what should they do? A previous version of the Scrum Guide (2017) says:
“The Scrum Master ensures that the Development Team has the meeting, but the Development Team is responsible for conducting the Daily Scrum. The Scrum Master teaches the Development Team to keep the Daily Scrum within the 15-minute time-box.”
Now the Developers should take ownership of the meeting, the Scrum Master can provide coaching if needed.
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What is Discussed in the Daily Scrum Meeting?
Scrum Guide 2017 suggests participants answer three questions:
- 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?
These are good questions to start with. As you and your unique team have more meetings, you should adapt the format of your meetings. You should feel free to use an entirely different format if that works better for the Developers.
Remember that the Daily Scrum is not a Status Meeting. Developers shouldn’t wait in line to “report” progress to the Scrum Master, the Product Owner, or a stakeholder. They discuss progress toward a Sprint Goal together and collaborate to create a plan for the next 24 hours to get closer to the Sprint Goal.
Tips to Run Daily Scrum Meeting Effectively
It can be hard for new teams to decide on a Daily Scrum format, so here are some recommendations that work well at Exadel.
- Focus on the Sprint Goal. This is the most important thing that should drive you during the Daily Scrum. The main output from this event is a plan for the next 24 hours that will help achieve this goal. It’s a good practice for every Developer to explain what they did in the last 24 hours and what they will do in the next to get closer to the Sprint Goal.
- Use a Scrum board with the “Walk the Board” approach. A Scrum board helps people concentrate on current tasks. We suggest using the “Walk the Board” approach, where the team walks through all the work items on the board from right to left. The work items that are closest to “done” are discussed first. This helps identify impediments and keep everyone concentrated on completing tasks to move them to the Closed column. Try to avoid only using ticket numbers to refer to tasks; this makes your updates generic and provides less value to the rest of your team.
- Start using Work Item Age for your tickets on the board. During Daily meetings, pay attention to and discuss tickets with the highest Work Item Age to understand why they are taking longer and how this will impact the Sprint Goal. What actions do you need to include in the plan for the next 24 hours to proceed with these tickets?
- Do a brief review of past work. Developers run the application and inspect its state. Let every Developer describe their part of the work, discuss, and agree on next steps towards the Sprint Goal.
- Developers speak freely, not according to a set schedule or called upon by the Scrum Master. Developers independently pass the word to each other. Why do we use this approach at Exadel? First of all, people start listening to each other, at least to remember who hasn’t talked yet. Secondly, eventually it helps build self-management skills.
- Daily Scrum is not a problem-solving meeting; it’s about identifying a problem. Many teams book time right after the Daily Scrum to discuss outstanding issues and work on resolution.
- Use the Fist to Five method. It helps measure the team’s level of confidence that the Sprint Goal will be achieved and gives a great insight if something has gone wrong. It is also a good input for the Sprint Retrospective.
Remember, that Daily Scrum is a key inspect and adapt meeting during the Sprint.