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Daily Scrum

What is a Daily Scrum meeting and how to conduct this Agile event

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What is a Daily Scrum meeting and how to conduct this Agile event

The following article is part of the self-preparation for the modern BVOP® Scrum Master Certification program.

The Daily Scrum is a limited-time event during which each member of the Development Team presents to the others very briefly what they did the previous day, what they will do today, and what problems and obstacles they have encountered or anticipated.

  1. The purpose of the Daily Scrum
  2. Features of the Daily Scrum event
  3. The Daily Scrum event is not a report
  4. The business value and the work of the team
  5. Who are the participants in the Daily Scrum event
  6. Informal responsibilities of the Scrum Master role related to the Daily Scrum event
  7. Potential sensitive situations related to the Daily Scrum event
    1. Situation
    2. Reaction
    3. Situation
    4. Reaction
    5. Situation
    6. Reaction
    7. Situation
    8. Reaction
    9. Situation
    10. Reaction
    11. Situation
    12. Reaction

This event is typical of the Scrum framework and is mainly used by Scrum teams.

During the event, the members of the Development Team answer the following sample 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 impediments that prevent the Development Team or me from meeting the Sprint Goal?

Team members can ask their own questions. They invent and configure the questions themselves. To achieve a daily team balance, a different team member can be in charge of asking the questions. It is common practice for the questions to be asked by the Scrum Master role, but it is not necessary.

Participants tell short stories. Discussion may also take place. All details, however, which require more information and time are held after the meeting.

The purpose of the Daily Scrum

The purpose of this event, in theory, is to increase transparency, efficiency, better work inspection and allow solutions to potential problems.

Participants share with others what they are working on, making their work transparent to others. Transparency makes it easy to inspect the work, identify any problems, and find appropriate solutions with the help of other members of the Development Team.

After discussing all development issues and obstacles, the team reviews their Sprint progress to see how it’s doing. Burndown Chart is a traditional chart that shows work progress by visualizing the work done and the work remaining.

According to the data in the chart, plans can be modified if necessary to meet the Sprint Goal.

The team is entirely self-organized. No one outside the Development Team interferes with the inspection and adaptation processes of the team.

Features of the Daily Scrum event

All members of the Development Team are present.

The meeting is held daily at the same time and place.

The meeting has a maximum time of 15 minutes.

The time limit is intended to promote efficiency and prevent loss of focus.

The Scrum Master role makes sure that everyone is focused during the meeting, shares their answers to all three questions, and at the same time, takes care of the brevity.

It is a common practice among the Scrum teams to keep the team members standing up (stand-up meeting) during the meeting. Because of this, sometimes the unofficial event name is the Daily Standup Meeting.

The idea of a stand-up meeting is to make it a bit less comfortable, which will result in less time extensions.

The Daily Scrum event is not a report

Many teams have the daily scrum event as a simple overview of their daily tasks, which at the end looks like a common report, rather than an active collaboration.

The Scrum Master role must support the idea of ​​self-organization and the achievement of the Sprint goal. If the team is not very proactive, the Scrum Master role should provoke them to look carefully at the situation and to understand what others are sharing. The Sprint Goal must be achieved. If this means a work review or an immediate change in tasks, the team should do it.

The business value and the work of the team

Scrum mentions the topic of business value though no specifics are given. However, all Scrum participants must strive to deliver business value as it is the most important thing that the entire Scrum team provides for the product.

During the development process, the Development Team not only has to strive to complete Product Backlog Items but also strive to deliver business value for the product. As Scrum encourages the team to choose their own way of working and the exact way they will do their job, there remains the risk of insufficient value for the completed tasks.

The development team must be provoked to do the best job it can. Business value can be found in any initiative.

Tidier code can provide easier maintenance in the future and save time. Being diligent in one web-based user registration form can provide more customers and fewer disappointed users. Business value can also be delivered through communication, where the team asks important questions about the essence of the product idea.

Who are the participants in the Daily Scrum event

Participants in the Daily Scrum event are the Development Team and the Scrum Master role.

The presence of the Product Owner role is not required, but this role may be present if the team wishes and needs his / her knowledge and advice.

Any detailed discussion of a task should take place after the meeting. The Product Owner role should in no way attempt to influence the Development Team through its presence or to make its presence mandatory.

The Development Team conducts its meeting, inspects its work and progress. No one questions the Development Team about the tasks completed and the tasks remaining. The Burndown Chart is not a reporting tool to the Scrum Master, Product Owner, or outsiders.

The Scrum Master role does not put any pressure on the Development Team related to work progress, nor does the Product Owner role when attending (Daily Scrum) meetings.

Outside parties and business stakeholders are not allowed in the Daily Scrum event.

The Scrum Master role ensures that the Development Team executes the event, that the 15-minute limit of the event is respected, and that no external pressure is exerted on the Development team. These are the only formal responsibilities of the Scrum Master role related to the Daily Scrum event.

Informal responsibilities of the Scrum Master role related to the Daily Scrum event

A team meeting can have many obvious or hidden issues. These problems are sometimes left unresolved and continue to exist.

If during a Daily Scrum event, Development Team members look directly in the eyes of the Scrum Master, Product Owner role, or some designated senior member as they speak, this may be an indicator of anxiety or expectations to be led by others. These factors are signs of impaired self-organization, cohesion, and proactivity.

As many teams and organizations exist, so many possible problems exist in the day-to-day work of teams. A business person, or even a customer, may require a member of the Development Team to report in writing or receive orders without anyone else in the team knowing.

Whatever problems are noticed inside the team or throughout its meetings concerning all Scrum principles, it is the informal duty of the Scrum Master role to resolve them in some way. Sometimes these problems may not be solved due to more advanced factors, which can’t be influenced by the Scrum Master role.

BVOP recommends that in any Agile-oriented organization, there is an Agile Director position. Its purpose is to address the Agile teams’ problems that the Scrum Master role lacks the authority and power to solve.

The Agile Director should be seen as part of the senior management, not as part of the Scrum team.

Potential sensitive situations related to the Daily Scrum event

Situation

You receive an email from the marketing department. Since they do not know where the Daily Scrum is located, they ask you to indicate the place in advance so that they are not late for the meeting.

Reaction

Members of other teams or departments should not attend the Daily Scrum event. It is up to the Scrum Master to explain these details to outsiders and to deny access to the event.

Situation

Your client's representative is coming to your office during a short business trip. He is leaving early in the morning the next day. Fifteen minutes before your meeting, a member of the Development Team asks the Scrum Master to invite him to provide as much relevant information as possible while he is here.

Reaction

In theory, the event should not be attended by external participants. However, since a member of the Development Team is expressing interest, it is unlikely that this will be a problem, and the Scrum Master role can assist and ensure the involvement of the client representative.

However, since only one team member presents this interest, it is appropriate that the other members of the Development Team are informed of this request and also agree with it. The Scrum Master role must understand the views of all team members before inviting the representative.

Situation

A member of the Development Team was late for the Daily Scrum meeting, therefore, sending the following email with answers to common questions typical of the event:

"Yesterday, I worked on password recovery. The functionality is not yet finished. Today I will continue working on it. I think by the end of the day, I will succeed. I encountered a few problems, but I got around them.

Reaction

At first glance, such information seems commonplace, as it indicates what your colleague worked on and what he will do today. It is also explained that problems have occurred. However, the information cannot be considered as exhaustive and satisfactory for other participants in the Development Team, who may need to understand the specific problems their colleague has experienced.

It is up to the Scrum Master role to request additional information as soon as possible after the Daily Scrum event. The Scrum Master role then shares the information with the entire team.

Situation

The Product Owner role comes to the Daily Scrum meeting just before the end of the event. They ask everyone to kindly repeat the shared information because in a short while they (the Product Owner role) will meet with a customer representative. The client has requested up-to-date development status, and the Product Owner role wants to satisfy the client's needs.

Reaction

There are many possible reactions to this situation, but the most important result is keeping the Development team calm. The Product Owner role, in theory, should not be present at this meeting, nor should it require such information.

However, such a situation is delicate and, in some way, needs to be addressed to satisfy all parties. An easy way out is to provide the necessary information to the Product Owner role. The Development team shares specific information with the Scrum Master role. The Scrum Master then passes the information to the Product Owner.

It is strongly recommended that the Scrum master is up to date with the daily progress of the Development team so that it can react with ease in such situations and not disturb the workflow. 

Scrum Master and Product Owner roles can play a part in customer satisfaction while the Development team continues to work peacefully to meet the Sprint Goal.

Situation

Just before the Daily Scrum meeting, your Director sent the following email to the Scrum Master role:

"Can colleagues from another department come to your daily team meeting to monitor your Scrum events and gain valuable experience. I guarantee that they will not interfere in any way."

Reaction

Again an interesting and likely to occur situation. Outsiders should not attend the Daily Scrum event. However, to deliver business value to the entire organization, the Scrum Master role may consider facilitating the training of other teams as they attend real Scrum events.

Discussion between the Scrum Master role and the Development team can take place. If the Development Team doesn't mind, then the Scrum Master role may invite an external new team to watch from the side. 

Situation

A member of the Development team wants to invite the Product Owner to the Daily Scrum event in order to share information. All of the other members are against that as they don’t want the Product Owner to find out essential increment implementation details.

Reaction

Since the team can not come to a unanimous decision, the request to invite the Product Owner should get rejected. However, another issue occurs in this situation. If the team doesn’t want the details of the increment’s work disclosed, this means that there might be something wrong. Complete transparency is lost and technical questions are kept in secret. A good practice would be for the Scrum Master to evaluate the situation and find the real reason for the disagreement.

The following issues related to chapter "Daily Scrum" are included in the certification exam. The sequence of questions is presented in the table.
The data is current as of September 26, 2020, 5:56 am

ID Issue Time Category
0 Informal responsibilities of the Scrum Master role related to the Daily Scrum event 60 sec SM, PO
1 Reaction 60 sec SM, PO
2 Who are the participants in the Daily Scrum event 60 sec SM, PO
3 Situation 60 sec SM, PO
4 The Daily Scrum event is not a report 60 sec SM, PO
5 Reaction 60 sec SM, PO
6 Reaction 60 sec SM, PO
7 The business value and the work of the team 60 sec SM, PO
8 Situation 60 sec SM, PO
9 Situation 60 sec SM, PO
10 Reaction 60 sec SM, PO
11 Potential sensitive situations related to the Daily Scrum event 60 sec SM, PO
12 Features of the Daily Scrum event 60 sec SM, PO
13 Reaction 60 sec SM, PO
14 Reaction 60 sec SM, PO
15 Situation 60 sec SM, PO
16 Situation 60 sec SM, PO
17 Situation 60 sec SM, PO
18 The purpose of the Daily Scrum 60 sec SM, PO
Comments of our guests
  1. Nathan Gordon
    Hello mates. Is it possible that we gather on the Daily Scrum, not every day? What if we skip a day? It often happens that we have nothing specific to say to one another, and this meeting starts to look a little silly.
  2. Albert Peterson
    Hi Nathan, Many people have asked me this question in my career, and I always answer the same. Don't miss the Daily Scrum even for a day. When I was a Scrum Master beginner, I allowed my team to take breaks when most of them thought they had nothing special to say. Over time, I began to gradually realize that simply sharing information about who did what was the most insignificant part of the Daily Scrum event. Learn to read between the lines, listen to the unspoken, and look for problems even when team members don't share them. Every day you have a lot to learn about your colleagues' processes, problems and attitudes.
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