We often see some dysfunctions which cause Scrum teams to have overly long, dense Daily meetings which a lack of focus. In 2017, Marcos Garrido wrote a post about the Myths and Facts of Daily Scrum, and that inspired me to write down a few tips about how to make the daily meetings more productive.
In Marcos’s post, he addressed three dysfunctions often found when coaching teams. Based on these, here are some simple tips we believe will help.
1) Daily Scrum as a status report
In the first place, the Daily often becomes a status report. This happens when the team only talk directly to the Product Owner, the Scrum Master or to someone in the role of technical leader. Instead of talking to the team as a whole, each person reports to whoever is in one of these roles. In order to mitigate this problem, we can try out a few actions, such as:
- Have the people in these roles stay in the background during the Daily, thereby keeping the focus on the team.
- Don’t start the meeting with the P.O., S.M. or leader asking something like: “So, what are you doing?”.
- Remember the Sprint’s objective at the beginning of the Daily, reinforcing that the team should talk about the work and obstacles related to the objective.
- Allow development team members to update the board, rather than one person always doing this.
2) Daily Scrum as a problem-solving meeting
This often happens because the teams end up communicating only in the Daily, or because the Scrum Master isn’t available outside the Daily. To create a routine where obstacles don’t only emerge during the Daily, we can:
- Reflect on whether an obstacle or problem which emerges in the Daily has in fact only just happened. If not, then it should no longer be news.
- Reinforce that the communication about obstacles and problems should take place as close as possible to the moment they occur, so they can be dealt with quickly.
- Scrum Masters should make themselves available whenever their team needs them, not just at Scrum ceremonies. They may, therefore, need to put aside some responsibilities beyond those of the team.
3) Daily Scrum as the only moment to update the Team’s board
This happens quite a lot when the team resists using the board; when it is the Scrum Master or P.O. who take on the responsibility of keeping the board updated; or when the granulation of items on the board is insufficient for enabling the work to be visualized. Here are some tips you can try in these cases:
- Make sure the team understands the reason the board exists and sees its value.
- Promote the team’s ownership of the board, letting them use it and refactor it as they see best. Maybe even promote a retrospective about the board and how it can best be used.
- Try breaking items on the board into a different granulation. For example, tasks which last less than a day often promote a vision of the conquest and feeling of achievement, encouraging people to report on the progress of each item.
It’s important to remember that there’s no one recipe or fixed solution covering all cases. At Knowledge21, we believe it’s always a two-person job, and that experimentation and continuous improvement make all the difference.
We hope these tips help make your Daily meetings more and more productive. Try them out and tell us in the comments how you got on!
Would you like to learn more about effective Daily Scrum? Check other articles on our blog:
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