Over time, I got this question many times from the developers I worked with: “Why do we have to meet every single day to discuss what each one of us does if there are no updates since yesterday?”. And this only can be an indicator that something is not going well if day after day they have no updates.
Let’s dive into the benefits of the daily scrum for developers and tell you what can you answer your team if they ask you the same question.
1. The Daily Scrum helps the team focus on the sprint goal
When I worked with collocated teams, I made sure I write the sprint goal on a whiteboard before the Daily scrum started. But if you cannot do that because you are working with a fully remote team, you can simply remind them what the sprint goal is at least twice a week.
Why is it important to consider the sprint goal throughout the sprint?
- To know where are we headed and what are we trying to achieve
- To understand what still needs to be done to achieve that goal
If the only moment when we talk about the sprint goal is during Sprint Planning, there’s a good chance to forget what the team needs to accomplish. Especially when we are talking about sprints that last for 4 weeks. The team will have only the user stories they agreed to complete in that sprint.
But teams learn new things during the sprint and some work items might not get done. How will they deliver the functionality that the Product Owner is expecting? Having the sprint goal in mind, the developers can identify other ways or development techniques for reaching the same goal faster.
It’s also a suitable moment to bring the Product Owner into the conversation and decide together what are the next steps and what is enough for the team to deliver if they cannot meet the initial sprint goal.
How to focus on the sprint goal during the Daily Scrum?
- Avoid discussing solutions to problems encountered by the team
- Make the sprint goal visible to the team
- As a Scrum Master, ask questions to verify that everyone has the same understanding of what to do next
The purpose of the Daily Scrum is not to elaborate on solutions or try to find them. This takes us away from having a discussion of whose purpose is the goal of the sprint. Anything that is not related to the sprint goal can be a discussion for another time, maybe right after the Daily Scrum.
As Scrum Masters, we must bring people back on track when we see or think that a topic is not suited for that moment. And we can do that by asking the team: “Is this something that everyone in this meeting should be a part of?” or “Can you discuss it after this meeting?”
I never end a daily meeting before making sure that everyone knows what to do and what they do is towards the sprint goal. I repeat the action points that were discussed and get confirmation from the team members that this is what they will focus on.
2. The team improves its communication and coordination
Good communication and coordination among scrum team members have a great impact on the value they deliver. I’ve seen significant results when everyone is going in the same direction and has the same purpose.
Why everyone should know the progress of their teammates?
- One would make the others aware when he needs help
- We can figure out when someone is stuck for too long
We do not hold the Daily Scrum for reporting statuses, as some may think. It’s an excellent opportunity for the team members to learn how to communicate with each other and find that connection every team needs to perform.
One thing that happens in my Daily Scrums, is that we try to find out if any member of the team needs any help with their working item. Sometimes, just a different perspective can be enough to help someone from your team.
Also, we identify if someone has spent too much time on any of the working items. Sometimes this is not obvious to the person who’s working on a user story and talking about it with the rest of the team. Together we can find a solution for that item to progress. We might identify that story is too large for a single sprint. Then we discuss with the Product Owner splitting into multiple stories and keeping only one part in the current sprint.
What is likely to happen when the team does not sync every day?
- We’ll reach the end of the sprint, realizing we didn’t meet the sprint goal
- Everyone will know what’s going on only with their piece of work, without having an overview of the entire sprint
Scrum is all about inspection and adaptation, and this should apply throughout the entire sprint. If we don’t sync daily during the sprint to make a plan for that day, it’s likely we won’t deliver what was planned at the beginning of the sprint.
When working on a project, knowing what your teammates work on can simplify the entire process. That’s because you know how all the dots connect to each other. This applies to a development team as well. It’s easier to do your piece of the project when you know to connect the code with another piece that another developer did.
3. It’s a time and place where the team can raise impediments
Impediments are something natural when working in software development. And removing them in a timely manner or failing to do so, will lead to meeting the sprint goal or not. The development team can remove some impediments, but there are some that only the Scrum Master can remove.
Why do we have to remove impediments as soon as possible?
- Impediments keep the team from delivering the features by the end of the sprint
- Can become frustrating for the developers not to be able to continue their work
I worked on projects where many impediments appeared each sprint. People not having access to all environments where they had to work on, and no documentation or someone available to explain how a part of the application works. Problems like these can demotivate them because they hold the developers back. And as soon as we remove these issues, the sooner everyone can continue doing their job.
Why raising impediments in the Daily Scrum is beneficial?
Having consistency in a process removes chaos and uncertainty. It’s a time when every member of the team is present and can find out what the others do. It can be disruptive if during the day one by one the people in the team raise a concern or impediment at a different time. Some people will not pay attention or some that could help may not be present at that moment.
Besides, the Scrum Master has to be aware of these impediments as well, so that he knows where he can help.
4. Developers can make everyone aware of what they’ve learned
While developing a feature, developers can learn many new things that differ from what they initially thought when the sprint started. This can lead to changes that might apply to the sprint work items.
It’s good for the Product Owner to be present in the Daily Scrum when new things that require some changes appear. However, if it’s not possible, the Scrum Master can reach out to him after the meeting and book a slot for a discussion with him.
From the Product Owner’s perspective, many things can change after a daily meeting. So besides being a beneficial meeting for the developers, it also helps the Product Owner make some decisions during the sprint.
If you find yourself in a situation similar to mine, where the team is questioning the importance of the Daily Scrum, these are 4 reasons you can present to them. But to see the benefits of this event, the Daily Scrum has to be run properly. If you want to find out more about how things should turn out during this meeting, you can check out my post here.
I’m sure there are more benefits of the Daily Scrum. Do you have any other answers you give to your development team? Leave a comment below.