Daily Scrum

The hart of each Sprint is the Daily Scrum, also known as Stand-up. This 15-minute time-boxed meeting is designed for the Development Team. Its primary goal is to synchronise the team’s effort towards achieving the Sprint Goal.

Every day the Development Team should meet to check if plan created during the Sprint Planning and updated during the Sprint is still achievable. If not, the plan should be updated.

As this is a meeting designed for the Development Team the required participants are only all members of the Development Team. Scrum Master and Product Owner are not needed there. However, it doesn’t mean they cannot take part in it. Moreover, there are some situations in which the Scrum Master and/or Product Owner might help.

The Scrum Master can be helpful in a case when the team faces some organizational obstacles. And the Product Owner can provide some missing information or guidance on how to tackle some business problem the team is facing.

In spite of the fact that Scrum Master’s presence is not required during Daily Scrum, he/she is accountable for Stand-up taking place every day. It’s also up to Scrum Master to coach the team what Stand-up is all about, what is the goal of this meeting and what are the expected results.

So what Daily Scrum is about?

3 magic questions

First of all, Stand-up is no about reporting progress to any of the Scrum Master nor Product Owner. Both of them should be informed about progress of the Sprint work but it does not have to be during that meeting.

As this meeting is not about reporting, it is not enough that everyone participating at Daily Scrum will answer those “3 magic questions”:

  • What have you completed since the last meeting?
  • What do you plan to complete by the next meeting?
  • What is getting in your way?

Please don’t get me wrong. Those question can be answered and can be very helpful. However, the most important is the communication and team synchronization towards Sprint Goal (however it is defined). So, the most important are the things we can get from those answers.

Let’s consider following dialog, Stand-up conversation:

I have finished working on a submission form. It’s ready from the fronted side. We still missing error warning and will be working on them today. It’ll be easier for me to test warnings if I would get the real responds form backend side.

Person A

I have created a database structure for the form you created. I was planned to work on the navigation to that form. However, I can work on that later and now I can do the backend so once you are done with your task you will be able to test it.

Person B

In this simple conversation we have answers for all “3 magic questions” (we can suspect that Person B has no potential blockers as he/she is not mentioning any). However, we can also see communication, cooperation and compassion. Person B is able to do one of the tasks “navigation to submission form” or “backend for the submission form”. This person even planned to the first one next until he/she heard that missing backend can block Person A. So the plan has been updated taking into consideration the potential obstacle of the other person.

Big picture

Stand-up should help to resolve current problems. Unfortunately, problems of today are not the only problems the Development Team need to face. Usually, the team in his Sprint Backlog has more items then one (or more) currently in progress. Therefore, the team should review not only the plan to deliver open items but also those not started yet. The Daily Scrum is a time to see if what was done till now has any impact on the remaining items. And if there is any risk for the Sprint Goal plan created during Sprint Planning should be revisit.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

One very important think to remember about Daily Scrum. In most of the cases the Development Team is not building things for them self. Usual it is someone else. Usual it is someone represented by Product Owner. So if during Stand-up the team will see that achieving Sprint Goal is impossible or even see the risk it will not be achieved, then Product Owner and Scrum Master should be inform (especially if they were not present at the meeting).

Final notes

There is a good practice to held standup in the same place at the same time every time (if possible). The reason for that is to make that a habit for the team, a routine.

A common name for the Daily Scrum is a Stand-up. However, it does not means everyone needs, in fact, to stand. It has been proposed that way as a human-beings have this tendency prolonging conversation while being in a comfortable position (apparently sitting is more comfortable than standing). So if the team can keep up focus and do standup under 15 mins there is no reason for no siting at that meeting.

…and this is what Stand-up is all about. Simple, isn’t it?