In 2017, we had the fourth edition of the Regional Scrum Gathering Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was the largest one so far, with 500 attendees and 165 people on the waiting list. Jeff Sutherland, the creator of Scrum, was there as our guest and Keynote speaker, along with Ademar Aguiar, one of the brightest Agilists out there. Among the countless things we talked about, one discussion was particularly interesting: the Daily Scrum.
As it was Jeff’s first time in Brazil, we spent the whole week together doing sightseeing and, of course, talking about Scrum. We all learned a lot from him while drinking local beers.
Jeff’s definition is astounding and yet simple: “What is the smallest change we can make this sprint to make us go faster today and to do what we need to understand our organization?”
As a trainer and coach, I still see so many dysfunctional Daily Scrums out there and usually, the root cause is that people simply do not understand why they’re doing it. Unfortunately, the same applies to Planning, Review and Retrospective meetings. Lack of understanding of the purpose behind what we do every day is more common than one can imagine. Some myths are just not going away and my goal today is to explore the top three in my humble opinion. I know there’s a lot more, but I want to keep it short. Top three myths are:
#1 Daily Scrum as a status report
Managers and why not, Project Managers, still feel the need for a little bit (sometimes a lot) of command and control. That is probably the reason why in many organizations the Daily Scrum is actually used as a status report meeting. Instead of a self-organized, Dev Team only event, the event is stolen from developers and turned into a moment to check how well the Team is doing, so the Manager can simply update his/her Gantt chart or whatever tool they use to control the environment. As Jeff says, it’s not possible to do twice the work in half of the time if we’re not doing things right in the first place. The Daily Scrum is not a status report. Period.
The Scrum Guide says “The Development Team uses the Daily Scrum to inspect progress towards the Sprint Goal”. Further on the guide, “The ScrumMaster enforces the rule that only Development Team is responsible for conducting the Daily Scrum.”
#2 Daily Scrum as a problem-solving event
There’s a reason why people also call it “standup meeting”. It’s because if you take a seat, the meeting may take an hour to complete. 🙂
The Scrum Guide states it clearly: “The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours.”
A lot of people believe that the Daily Scrum is used to
- notify the ScrumMaster about a problem;
- discuss how to solve a problem you had on the day before (and it’s not solved yet);
- gather the other Dev Team members so they can discuss technical implications of your issue;
Just to make it clear: if you bump into a problem you can’t fix by yourself, you should ask for help right away. Don’t wait until the next Daily Scrum to do something about it, ok?
#3 Daily Scrum as the only moment to update the Team’s taskboard
Oh we’ve all seen it, right? The Dev Team waiting for the Daily Scrum to move all those completed tasks on their taskboard. But wait a minute: what’s the point of having a beautifully designed taskboard, in a location we all can see if it will be outdated for twenty-three hours and forty-five minutes every single day? If something is done, move it to “done” right away and grab the next task to stick on doing. Don’t wait until the next day! It makes no sense at all. Just follow this simple rule: your taskboard must be up-to-date all the time. And it’s your responsibility as a Team member to make it happen.
Daily Scrums are incredibly effective if you’re doing it right. It’s simple and pretty straightforward, but you should ask yourself: Do I know why I’m doing this?
Thinking like this may take you to the next level. Hope you enjoyed this article and please leave your comment and feedback.