In the middle of a sprint a PO introduces new features during the daily scrum - OK or Not OK?

Last post 09:52 pm February 17, 2020
by Niall Fallon
16 replies
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12:39 am February 14, 2020

As per my understanding, "introduce" means informing the team of upcoming features. Is it wrong to do so? It gives the team some time to think about it, and come up with a plan to discuss or even refine the PBI at the PO's discretion.

Yes, the team should start working on it in the next sprint(s) based on priority - but waiting till the next sprint planning to introduce the said features can delay the solution design and development.

Any thoughts on this please?

01:07 am February 14, 2020

The best place for the PO to introduce a new feature for a future Sprint is Backlog Refinement.

The Product Owner should not distract the focus of the Development Team during the Daily Scrum. The Daily Scrum is for the Development Team to focus, collaborate and plan out their work for the next 24 hours to meet the Sprint Goal.

02:28 am February 14, 2020

In the middle of a sprint a PO introduces new features during the daily scrum - OK or Not OK?

The Daily Scrum is the Development Team’s opportunity to take 15 minutes out of a busy day of working with the PO and others, stand aside, and refocus their efforts on meeting the Sprint Goal. Why would the PO think it a good time to be there at all?

03:13 am February 14, 2020

Thanks Chris and Ian for your replies. But that is exactly my point - a PO is a listener during the daily scrum and he/she doesn't really want to affect the existing sprint. It is more of a "heads-up - something is coming your way!" Is there any harm in it?

Ofcourse, it doesn't have to be discussed in detail during the daily scrum - discussions for that can be held later on. The reason I asked this is - in real life scenarios, POs do need to inputs from the Dev team and may not necessarily be able to wait till next Sprint Planning meeting.

I hear what you are saying, but i understand it is OK if it is not really impacting the ongoing sprint?

05:04 am February 14, 2020

I second to Ian and Chris here. 

a PO is a listener during the daily scrum and he/she doesn't really want to affect the existing sprint. It is more of a "heads-up - something is coming your way!" Is there any harm in it?

There is a psychological angle to this . If PO is present even as a listener, do you really think the team will carry out the daily scrum the way it should be ?  My personal observation is developers feel they are giving "updates" to PO. Also, not all POs can resist themselves from interfering in daily scrum. When PO is present team's first choice to look for answer is PO instead of they themselves. This nullifies the purpose of daily scrum.

POs do need to inputs from the Dev team and may not necessarily be able to wait till next Sprint Planning meeting.

Why do you feel he needs to wait for sprint planning to discuss anything with development team? 

05:35 am February 14, 2020

In our case, our POs are not only listeners in the stand-ups. They also provide help/suggestions based on the inputs of our development scrum teams.

01:36 pm February 14, 2020

Guide - The Daily Scrum is an internal meeting for the Development Team. If others are present, the
Scrum Master ensures that they do not disrupt the meeting.

Does your development team feel any disruptions with the presence of PO or the questions addressed to them ?

02:21 pm February 14, 2020

I'm trying to read between the lines on this one and going to make an assumption here. 

First, the Daily Scrum is for the Dev team like previously stated, yes the PO can definitely attend; do you guys have a Parking Lot time? My teams go through our Daily Scrum updates/questions/planning and for items that need more time, we "verbally tag" them for the Parking Lot time. After each team member goes through their plans for the day, we move to the Parking Lot. Sometimes this Parking Lot time starts 5 minutes into the meeting and others it's 12 minutes in, it depends on the day and progress within the sprint. The Parking Lot is simply a free form discussion about items that need to be discussed within the team or random updates; often I like to do a fun little check in with the team and pulse check; it's whatever the team deems valuable. 

Second, do you have backlog refinement during the sprint? If so, THIS is where the PO should be introducing these backlog items/stories. If you don't have a refinement session, the parking lot of the Daily Scrum would be fine in my opinion because otherwise we would have to setup a different time to discuss; why not reduce complexity and utilize the fact that all the team members are already together? 

02:26 pm February 14, 2020

There is a psychological angle to this . If PO is present even as a listener, do you really think the team will carry out the daily scrum the way it should be ?  My personal observation is developers feel they are giving "updates" to PO. 

Seems to be a HUGE trust and transparency issue in this situation mentioned. The Scrum Values are there to help alleviate this issue. Seems like the SM needs to be coaching the team and the PO that regardless of who is listening in on the Daily Scrum that the format and message DOESN'T CHANGE. If the PO wants status updates, the SM needs to step in and remind everyone of the purpose of the event. If the Team is simply giving status updates and not planning and collaborating as they should, the SM should step in and remind everyone of the purpose of the event. All due respect, it seems you're coming from a standpoint that the PO shouldn't be involved in the team except directing priority and that's absolutely wrong. 

03:14 pm February 14, 2020

In the middle of a sprint a PO introduces new features during the daily scrum - OK or Not OK?
 

I see two things here, so, is it okay for a PO to participate/disrupt the Daily Scrum under normal circumstances? The answer is No. Participation is primarily for the Development Team members only.

Can the PO introduce features during the middle of the Sprint? Yes, as long as it does not endanger the Sprint Goal and if there is room to accommodate the additional scope or by removing something in its place, again emphasis on does not endanger the Sprint Goal. If this adhoc feature is however so important that it makes the current Sprint Goal obsolete, then perhaps the Sprint needs to be cancelled and the team should focus on planning and starting a new Sprint.

Finally, Can the PO do this during the Daily Scrum? Well, the assumption I am going to make here is, if this event happens early in the day, then it makes sense because the PO is aware of a change in direction or scope change or even the fact that the Sprint maybe cancelled. In such a special case it would make sense to bring this matter early to avoid any waste. Would it make sense for the PO to stay silent during the Daily Scrum and let the team know after the event that the Sprint may be cancelled?

 

Does that help or make sense?

03:17 pm February 14, 2020

Missed a point, if this is for a future Sprint, then like everyone else has mentioned, it would be best to bring it up during refinement.

04:40 pm February 14, 2020

In line with everything said above and a take on @Curtis Slough's Parking Lot, I have coached many a PO to listen quietly to the Daily Scrum and provide input when asked.  It can be useful to the Dev Team to have them there to get needed information quickly but I also advocate that their attendance is not needed and is entirely up to the PO to decide if they want to listen.  A second part of this is that I will coach the Dev Team to make it obvious when they are finished with their event and then the PO can ask a simple question..."If you are all done, can I get a few minutes of your time to let you know something I am working on where I could use some of your help?".  Any of the Dev Team that feels they they have some available time can stick around. But if a Dev Team member feels that they have to get back to work in order to not jeopordize the Sprint Goal, they can leave. 

In this case the PO is not derailig the Daily Scrum and is instead taking advantage of some of the 10% that is used for refinement. And I have found that on most occassions the Dev Team will have time to discuss it with the PO. 

10:39 pm February 16, 2020

Thank you all for your inputs and queries.

Fortunately, my team doesn't feel threatened by the PO's presence - infact the PO is really supportive and understands the processes and effort put in by Dev Team.

It just so happened that we had about 5 minutes left in the daily scrum - and the PO wanted to make some important announcements regarding incoming work (which he had already discussed beforehand with me), so he asked me if it is OK to do so. And, i said yes - it is fine. I understand that as per Scrum Guide, if the daily scrum is finished before time - it is over and we don't have to use 15 minutes entirely - but in this case i found it beneficial that the team be told about it.

Often, practical scenarios vary when compared to theory - and (I am going out on a limb here when I say this) most of us seek out to do what is of higher value, not just to the product in question but also the entire team. So it becomes difficult to find a fine line in all cases, which I assume many of us have faced some time or the other. To conclude, It was just one of the situations.

Regards,

Adwait Vaidya.

12:20 pm February 17, 2020

It just so happened that we had about 5 minutes left in the daily scrum - and the PO wanted to make some important announcements regarding incoming work (which he had already discussed beforehand with me), so he asked me if it is OK to do so. And, i said yes - it is fine. I understand that as per Scrum Guide, if the daily scrum is finished before time - it is over and we don't have to use 15 minutes entirely - but in this case i found it beneficial that the team be told about it

I will point out a scrum value - "openness". I think in any situation if there is an opportunity to prevent wastage & optimize the value , team should not shy away in expressing it. Does team need to wait for an event to do it ?

01:52 pm February 17, 2020

Not quite what was asked, but perhaps this use case can help people view the problem in a different light.

Imagine:

  • The Sprint Goal is focused on a measurable outcome, rather than a deliverable
  • The Product Owner validates proposals and "Done" items with users throughout the Sprint
  • The Product Owner is simultaneously a member of the Development Team

When would it be reasonable for the Product Owner to introduce new ideas as a means for achieving the current Sprint Goal?
When should the Product Owner share additional insights that don't relate directly to the current Sprint Goal but might cause the Development Team to choose a new plan for getting there.

02:45 pm February 17, 2020

Not ok.

PO should be a silent observer in the Standup, even better if they are not there, sometimes they intimidate developers especially if they are also a manager.

New features should come into the Backlog first, this can start the discussion during planning sessions and help flesh out the stories.

Standup is strictly for developers to help each other out and is not a technical discussion or a chat about upcoming features.

If PO is let interfere in the Standup then the developers will lose faith, you lose the developers and you lose the product.

Have a chat with the PO and explain correct the procedure and even better explain why it is important i.e. the above.

 

02:49 pm February 17, 2020

If the PO feels that their voice is not being heard or they cannot get new requests in quickly enough because of the process then this should be fixed.

Give the PO more opportunities to get their requests in and discussed with the developers.

The process should not hinder important work, if it is then the process is broken and the team will see this and lose faith.