In Agile Scrum, each day before the daily sprint commences, the team holds a short meeting known as the Scrum daily meeting. The meeting is also referred to as the “daily stand-up” by most Scrum professionals. Typically, the meeting is held in the same place, or location, where the team works. The daily Scrum should be held in the morning and should be time-boxed. It should not exceed more than fifteen minutes each day.
It is mandatory for the entire development team to attend the daily Scrum. The product owner and the scrum master are “committed” to attend the meeting. The product owner “owns” the project on behalf of the stakeholders and is primarily responsible for the success or failure of the project. Therefore, it is important that he or she attend the meeting. The Scrum master overlooks the Scrum process and ensures that Scrum is implemented in a proper manner by the team at all times. So, it is imperative for the Scrum master to attend the meeting. The meeting is held to discuss what the development team is “going to do” on that particular day. The team members have to attend the meeting too. Even stakeholders can attend the meeting if they so desire, but they should participate passively and refrain from joining the discussion with team members.
Three important daily Scrum questions
Discussions are short and relevant in the daily Scrum. The stand-ups should not be held to resolve problems or discuss any topic other than what the team has planned to do on that particular day. Ideally, only three aspects ought to be discussed during the meeting.
1. What, and how much “work” was done “yesterday” or the day before?
2. What does the team propose to do “today” or that particular working day?
3. Did the team members face any impediments or issues? If so, what were they?
Common pitfalls in the daily Scrum meeting
Many times Agile teams fail to get optimum benefits from the daily Scrum meeting. The primary reason why this happens is that the team can get “sidetracked” with other issues or discussions. Another reason could be that the Scrum process may not be implemented properly, and teams may fail to work in accordance with Agile principles and rules. It is imperative to know what can make the daily Scrum ineffective.
1. Using the daily Scrum as a “status report” meeting
The main purpose of the daily Scrum is to avail feedback from the team and identify any problematic issues faced by the team members. Scrum principles suggest a proper line of action be taken on the basis of feedback received from the team. If the team fails to complete any of the tasks planned the day before, the Scrum Master is supposed to demand an explanation and identify possible reasons why the team failed to deliver productivity. This could affect the team velocity in future sprints. The meeting should not be used as a mere “status report” meeting. Proper action should be taken depending upon the feedback availed.
2. The stand-up keeps “dragging” on and on
Each Scrum even is timeboxed, including the daily stand-up. It should not exceed more than fifteen minutes each day. If the stand-up consumes more time than ideally recommended, the team may end up compromising upon the productivity it is supposed to deliver that day. This can affect the team’s velocity since user stories and tasks may not be “developed” on time.
3. Avoiding the meeting altogether
It is important to hold the daily Scrum each working day and discuss the three important questions mentioned above. At times, team members may feel there is “little value” in discussing “routine work-related matters” and avoid holding the meeting altogether. The general belief is that daily Scrums are a waste of time since nothing important is being discussed in them. This should not be the case. The daily Scrum has its own importance and significance in the Scrum process. The meeting is held to avail feedback regarding the team progress and removing any problems faced. Scrum stresses upon timely feedback since the important Scrum principles “inspect” and “adapt” cannot be fulfilled without availing feedback from the process flow.
4. The daily Scrum becomes a “no problem” meeting
It is not necessary that the team should face impediments or issues on a routine basis and “inform” the Scrum master regarding the same. Most of the day’s work may proceed without any hassles during the daily sprints. However, in the event any of the team members do face any issue, he or she should report it during the daily Scrum. A common mistake is not to discuss the particular problem “in front” of other team members, but try to resolve it independently. If any team members face a common issue, there could be something fundamentally wrong with the project design and the “glitch” should be properly identified and removed on a permanent basis. If team members fail to report problems, the inspect and adapt principles cannot be fulfilled, and Scrum may “fail” at that particular instance.