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Is it OK for a dev team member not to attend daily stand up if he has nothing to do in a sprint?

Last post 07:23 pm January 19, 2023 by Timothy Baffa
12 replies
07:56 pm April 11, 2018


One of Dev team member wants not to attend daily stand up meeting because there is no task is available to him in the current sprint. Although there will be some work for him in upcoming sprints.

So, Is it OK for a dev team member not to attend daily stand up if he has nothing to do in a sprint?

Thank you,

08:34 pm April 11, 2018

If there is work left in the Sprint Backlog, why would a team member not help the team to complete it?

08:59 pm April 11, 2018

Why does the dev team member feel that they have nothing to do?   If there are open items in the sprint, then there exists work that (s)he can contribute to, or at the very least, learn about.   Remember, the entire dev team is responsible for meeting the Sprint Goal and completing the sprint forecast.

To me, this is a symptom of a couple bad scrum smells:

  • Specialization within the dev team
  • Lack of team ownership of the sprint

The Scrum Master for this team should be discouraging such silo-based behavior, and encouraging cross-training, knowledge transfer, and team identity.

12:07 am April 12, 2018

Scrum is a team sport - every member of the Development Team should be helping advance to the completion of the Sprint Goal and the delivery of a "Done" Increment, right?

01:39 am April 12, 2018

It's rare that a Dev team member has nothing to do. Scrum Master need to know he is not capable or not willing to pick up the backlog.

03:45 pm April 13, 2018

I agree that the situation described here lets me assume the organization should work on their understanding of Scrum’s roles and responsibilities.

Depending on individual skills and team organization, a situation where the pressure is low on a team member can be beneficial. Activities that increase the team member’s knowledge and skills could be started, e.g. Peer Programming; or some that advance the team’s capabilities e.g. implementing technology that helps further automate testing as part of Continuous Integration. Deciding on that should be a Development Team effort.

04:20 pm April 20, 2018

All Development Team Members should attend the daily. I am sure there will be (1) some dependencies on the tasks/stories that he/she has done in the current Sprint, (2) flexibility of including items from the Product Backlog into the current Sprint Backlog in order to support the Sprint Goal, or as was said in the previous comments (3) the opportunity to help another Development Team Member in his/her tasks/stories.

07:06 pm April 20, 2018

As mentioned by most of the members here, having a dev idle in the sprint is an unusual pattern (assuming his capacity was not taken into account during planning session?)

1) The person can assist any of the existing members to complete the task/story.

2) He should be present in the Daily Scrum so as to be informed about all the changes that the team is working on.

04:56 am April 23, 2018

Hi Sky, 

Development team is self-organizing team, So as a scrum master, we should let them to take action. If there is no action from team then we should as development team: what value they will achieve by having the daily Scrum with all team members present and what might go wrong if Development Team members don’t attend

Bring this in retrospective meeting, let the whole team discussion. I am sure they will find the solution to fix this issue.


Chi Bui.

12:27 pm April 23, 2018

Saying that 1 dev team member has no work to do in a sprint is like going to a lunch buffet and claiming there is no food to eat. 

There is always work that can be done. If all the backlog items are truly completed, I'm sure this member could help with testing or could help other Dev team members with what they are working on. I'm curious why this dev member is okay seeing everyone else on the team work, while (s)he sits back and relaxes.

02:31 pm April 23, 2018

As others have mentioned how have you ended up in a situation where there is 'no work' for an individual...

I say this and I have vague notion how as it happened in the early days of a team I was SM on. I was dropped on to the team mid sprint as the old SM was removed... to begin with I just observed how the team worked (or didn't) for a day or two. I then had individual catch ups with each member and in meantime checked the backlog and previous sprint reports. I spotted they hadn't completed in some time and more worrying they had entirely separate stories for 'testing' so once the developer had built the item he would say done, they would then go to PM/BA to write a testing ticket...

I helped to stop this very quickly as one of the testers I spoke to complained he had nothing to do until the test ticket was written.. "So what are you doing?" - "Waiting"...  

So began a crash course in Scrum for a scrum team. There should be an achievable level of work each sprint for the team, if there is nothing for your speciality may I suggest you pair, or start cross skilling? I'm not expecting you fly solo on items cold, but I'd hope you have enough get up and go to get up go to backlog and find something... or someone to pair with.

Along with the Product Backlog we have near the top a bug list for scenarios where you may be fishing for something to knock out at close of day.. these aren't massive pieces but nice to haves. Failing this go the Product Backlog and pick the next available item assuming it is ready. Everyone on Team attends Daily Scrum, everyone should have something to say the fact they don't want to attend is worrying the fact they have nothing to do.. or perceive that is alarming.

07:03 am January 19, 2023

During Daily Scrum, team discusses the problem and the some of the developers are not involved in the discussion. Right after the meeting, only Scrum Master is trying to find a solution to the problem. What is wrong in this case?

07:23 pm January 19, 2023

My guess would be the use of the word 'team' in your scenario.

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