If you are going to ask someone what is scrum, besides the people who have never heard about it, I’m sure that in most of the answers you’ll hear something about the Daily Scrum. But if you ask someone from your team what they think about the Daily Scrum, what would their answer be?
“How things went yesterday?”, “What will you do today?”, “Any impediments?” This is a well-known practice used in Scrum, but one that is not engaging at all for the team members. The team should try to lay down a plan for the next 24 hours and inspect if the sprint plan still stands, not reporting status to the Scrum Master.
I stopped taking this approach with my teams because I noticed that it’s not effective and it doesn’t fulfill the purpose of the Daily Scrum event. Every team member should actively listen to what another says. But this approach is creating a status report feeling and no one else besides the person who is talking is interested in what they say.
It’s not clear for the team what is the point in holding the Daily Scrum event
Review the goal and the plan for the sprint every day. Try to display in the Daily Scrum the goal you have set for that sprint for the team to see it. The developers learn new things while working on their tasks. And based on that, they can understand if they are closer to the sprint goal or if impediments came up. The goal is to create awareness regarding the team’s progress.
Create a plan for the next 24 hours. While the purpose of the Sprint Planning is to create a plan for the next two weeks (or more), the Daily Scrum aims to create a plan for the next 24 hours. But plans can change based on previous learnings. That’s why it’s so important to have these daily discussions and see where you stand.
Adapt the sprint plan if it’s not valid anymore. As the known information brings something new every day, it doesn’t make any sense to follow a plan that is not valid anymore. There can be impediments that are too difficult to solve in such a short time and, things that should not be done anymore appear. Of course, tasks will be sometimes finalized faster than expected as well.
If you notice any of these, then the plan should change by rethinking the sprint outcome, replacing something that cannot be done with another item, or simply add more items from the Product Backlog.
Why is it taking so long?
The Development Team cannot reach a consensus. This often happens when the team is making assumptions in regards to what they will implement. If things are not clear to them, they should have a discussion with the Product Owner to clarify these aspects. You should not spend more than 15 minutes in this meeting, regardless of the size of the team. You might need to remind them from time to time, what’s the purpose of the meeting if they tend to drag out the discussion.
Things that are not meant to be discussed in the Daily Scrum, take over. The Daily Scrum is not about finding solutions, it’s only about creating awareness regarding the progress, impediments and making sure everyone knows what to do next.
When bottlenecks appear, to remove them, the team should have a discussion right after the Daily Scrum, while the information is still fresh. So it should go as simple as this: one of the team members might say that he has an impediment with his task and needs some help to find a solution. The entire team is now aware of the situation and knows they can help each other right after the current meeting ends.
Your team thinks they have to report the progress to the Scrum Master
Does your team report their progress to you? If people are looking to tell you what they’ve achieved yesterday and what they’ll do next, then there is a problem with the way they perceive your role as a Scrum Master. This happens mostly in environments that are transitioning from Waterfall to Scrum. In these environments, the Project Manager must get a status of the team’s work.
In the first Daily Scrum that you hold together with the Development Team, or even before that, you might want to clarify these aspects of the Daily Scrum event. As a Scrum Master, you should set the stage and coach them about what should happen in this meeting.
What to do if you already are Scrum Master in a team where the developers report to you? It’s not late to discuss the Daily Scrum goals in one of your Retrospectives or even have an ad-hoc gathering. This will change the way they see this meeting.
It’s fine for you to not show up from time to time as well and allow your team to self-organize. The Scrum Guide clearly states that the Scrum Master doesn’t have to attend. He should only make sure that the meeting takes place. And that’s because the Daily Scrum is for the Development Team to organize themselves. It’s not a meeting were they report to the Scrum Master what they’ve achieved.
If you are present in every Daily Scrum event, try not to engage with them. Let them talk to each other, and don’t interfere.
Even if you show up, let someone else lead the meeting. You are there only to make sure that the meeting is on the right track. That is, that the discussion takes place around the Daily Scrum goals.
The Development Team is not actually working as a team
The team is there together. They should be listening to eachother while they are speaking, they should actively participate in a conversation. When everyone is working on their own tasks, it’s easy for the ones that are not involved to phase out and think of other things until their turn comes.
They should collaboratively be working on Product Backlog items, if everyone has their own item then of course they are not interested in what the rest are saying. So try to organize the Product Backlog items in a way that the team can group and work together on one of the items. They should take an item and split the tasks between them so at least two people work on it.
If you feel like your Daily Scrum events are not working, the team is bored and they see no value in it, make sure you emphasize enough the goals of this event. They simply might not see it this way and a Scrum Master can coach them. The amount of time you spend in this meeting is also essential. No one likes long meetings especially when they are not actively involved in the process.
Do not enforce any of these in the team, have a conversation with them and let them challenge your suggestions. Who knows, they may come up with more ideas that work for them. This way, they’ll feel like they participated in the process and make them feel more involved.
How does your Daily Scrum event go? Do you have any other tips that could make meetings more engaging? If you do, leave a comment down below.