People in different roles can attend the Daily Scrum Event, but there is a purpose for each one of them to be there. That is why it’s important as a Scrum Team to understand when specific people can bring value by participating and removing impediments, and when they will bring only noise to the discussions.
What is certain is that the people who will benefit the most from the Daily Scrum Event are the Development Team. For that reason, the event cannot take place without them, and only their presence is mandatory. The Scrum Master and the Product Owner can go in as listeners, but they are not required to be there. They can attend if it’s beneficial for the development team.
The Daily Scrum is a meeting held for and by the developers. In this meeting, the Development Team will inspect the progress they’ve made since the sprint started. Then, if necessary, they will adapt their work to meet the Sprint Goal. The Scrum Master may show up and help as a facilitator in the meeting. And the Product Owner should be there only if he can help with removing impediments. No other stakeholders should be part of this event.
Why are the developers the mandatory attendees in the Daily Scrum
They come up with a plan for the next day. Only the Development Team can create the plan for the next 24 hours. That’s because they are the ones developing the product. They create the plan by visiting the Sprint Goal, inspecting the Sprint Backlog, and, adapting when necessary.
Thus, the Sprint Goal should be visible to the team every day. This is their guideline and it reminds them every day what they should achieve by the end of the sprint. It helps them understand if they are making progress towards it.
They know how much work they did. They inspect the Sprint Backlog every day. No matter if they are looking at sticky notes on a wall, swimlanes on a whiteboard, or a tool, the Sprint Backlog has to be clear for everyone involved. The Development Team visualizes the progress that they have made so far. They look at what’s remaining and assess if they are on track.
They can make adjustments to their work if needed. If they got off track, the team can change directions. They can decide on their own what to do without altering the Sprint Goal. But, if they determine that the Sprint Goal won’t be met or certain risks surface, they should notify the Product Owner.
The Daily Scrum is not the only moment of the day when the Development Team can adjust their plan. They can meet throughout the day and have more detailed discussions about how they will adapt to the rest of the sprint’s work.
The Product Owner and the Scrum Master can be part of the technical discussion in the Daily Scrum if they are working on items from the Sprint Backlog. But, in this case, they will take part as developers.
Why the Scrum Masters may attend the Daily Scrum but it’s not mandatory
Teams that have experience with Scrum don’t always need a facilitator. The Scrum Master’s purpose in the Daily Scrum is to help the team with his facilitation skills or remove impediments.
But when the team has enough experience with the Scrum Framework, they already got a sense of how it’s supposed to go. In these cases, they don’t need someone’s help to redirect the discussion on a certain path, avoid counterproductive debates or watch time.
These teams know how to be effective, so the only reason to attend these events is if the team feels that it’s necessary. Of course, not all teams will get the most out of these events by themselves. In these cases, you need to know your team before letting them hold the Daily Scrum on their own.
For teams that are new to Scrum, it’s that the help of the Scrum Master is indispensable. They are coming to the Daily Scrum to teach the team the best practices, and show them how to reach consensus and how to spend the time more effectively.
The Scrum Master should coach the team and grow its capabilities until the point where an external facilitator is not needed anymore. The team must know they can rely on your help when they are encountering impediments, so make sure they know when to tell you about any roadblocks they encounter.
Why is the Product Owner allowed to attend the event
The Product Owner can attend the Daily Scrum event when difficult situations need their input. Yet, don’t forget that being there doesn’t mean that the team will change their event approach and start reporting the status of their progress.
For example, an unstable product can interfere with the Development Team’s work in a certain area. This can lead to many issues, such as defects generated by a new piece of functionality. Some enhancements need to happen sometimes in the code for the new piece of functionality to work. Other times, unknown security issues might arise.
In these situations, the team will hit many roadblocks that might alter the product’s vision and the desired outcome.
The Product Owner is there to note all these situations and change the plan. He might also have to cancel the sprint or replace the stories that cannot continue with something else from the Product Backlog.
Why Stakeholders should not take part in the Daily Scrum
The stakeholders are not part of the Scrum team, so their presence in the Daily Scrum can bring a lot of disruptions. As the Scrum Guide states, the Daily Scrum is beneficial for the Development Team. Although the Scrum Master and the Product Owner don’t need to go to this event, sometimes the team might need their help.
In some companies, the management wants to know what the team says in the Daily Scrum. It happens because this is an opportunity for management to get the status of each item, and understand how the Development Team is implementing the functionality and when it will be ready. They are asking for the team to report the status of their work, which is wrong in scrum.
It can allow them to ask the team to do extra work. Many take advantage of these gatherings to ask the Development Team to change something they already worked on. Or, even give them extra tasks.
If there is something their input can be helpful for, the Product Owner can manage the discussion with them and then pass the information to the team. This means that the Product Owner can anytime bring the changes to the Product Backlog. Or, even remove something from the Sprint Backlog if the business requires it.
There is a set of minimal rules that are followed in a scrum environment. They help you and your team to perform and, develop an agile mindset. Simply following the rules without understanding them won’t allow your team to improve.
But being a minimal set of rules, you won’t find an exact answer for every situation. So you’ll have to adapt the rules to your particular scenario. But, be aware that changing the core of these rules can sometimes damage if you try to lead your team to an Agile mindset.
The Scrum Guide says: “Changing the core design or ideas of Scrum, leaving out elements, or not following the rules of Scrum, covers up problems and limits the benefits of Scrum, potentially even rendering it useless.”
I’m interested to find out more about the way you are running your Daily Scrum event. Let me know in the comments down below what’s best working for you at the moment and if there’s anything new that you’d like to try soon.