The Fiendishly Challenging Daily Scrum Quiz

Last post 07:48 pm April 14, 2021
by Ian Mitchell
25 replies
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09:24 pm November 25, 2020

Fancy challenging yourself? How about trying the fiendishly challenging Daily Scrum quiz? Freshly updated to conform with the Scrum Guide 2020, it challenges a number of strongly held beliefs.

There's a chance to review the quiz after you've taken it, with notes provided for incorrect answers. With one or two contentious answers, there's a strong possibility of debate, discussion and disagreement.

Can you score 20 out of 20 at your first attempt? Test your mettle at https://webgate.ltd.uk/quizzes/the-daily-scrum-quiz-2020/

--
Derek Davidson PST, CST
Professional Scrum Trainer, Certified Scrum Trainer
In-Person Scrum Courses, Online Scrum Courses, Bespoke Scrum Courses

12:32 pm November 26, 2020

@Derek,

19/20

But I have a question about the "The time-box for the Daily Scrum is:" question?
I chose "15 minutes" as answer, but according to your test the correct answer should have been "There is no timebox for the Daily Scrum".

While SG2017 states: "The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team."
and SG2020 states: "The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team."
I would think that the 15-minutes fixed time is a time-box, although not explicit stated. A part of SG2020 was to remove the redundant language, or am I missing something due to the fact that I'm not a native English speaker?

05:24 pm November 26, 2020

This sentence in the new guide states that all events are timeboxed, hence I would have answered "The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team."

Ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox

06:33 pm November 26, 2020

@Chris,

The question was:
The time-box for the Daily Scrum is:"

it had 4 or 5 multiple choices:
From those I selected "15 minutes", all others were really not correct.
Yet according to the test the correct answer should have been: "There is no timebox for the Daily Scrum".

So I'm asking Derek why "There is no timebox for the Daily Scrum" is according to the test the correct answer, since for me the fact that the Daily Scrum is always 15 minutes is a time-box. Although not explicit mentioned in the SG 2020 (that's why I quoted SG 2017 and SG 2020), Ken and Jeff mentioned that a part of the focus of the rewrite of the SG was to remove redundant language.
So 15 minutes is a time-box in nature, yet stating that it's a tme-box would be redundant, because it's timebox due to the fact it is a non-changeble 15 minutes.....or am I overthinking it or am I not getting something subtle because I'm not a native English speaker.

 

08:07 pm November 26, 2020

Hi Rene - Sorry I misread your first post. I too have problems with the English language although it is the only one I know. : )

I meant to say that the Daily is still Timeboxed, although it isn't stated in the Daily section of the SG. This statement in the SG makes me feel like it is a timebox:

Ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox

 

12:34 pm November 27, 2020

I think what Derek is calling out with this (he can confirm or deny), is that each other Event explicitly states that there is a time box with a maximum...

Sprint Planning is timeboxed to a maximum of eight hours for a one-month Sprint. 

The Sprint Review is the second to last event of the Sprint and is timeboxed to a maximum of four hours for a one-month Sprint.

The Sprint Retrospective concludes the Sprint. It is timeboxed to a maximum of three hours for a one-month Sprint. 

whereas the Daily Scrum says...

The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team

No time box or maximum explicitly stated for the Daily Scrum, just a reference to it being a 15-minute event.

There is certainly stronger and more specific language for the other events. Intentional? Oversight? Redundancy removal?

Thoughts?

02:51 pm November 27, 2020

@Ryan,

You make a great point.

For me personally, the original question is testing the semantics of the SG 2020 and not the intend in the SG 2020, which in a lesser prescriptive document could raise hell quit fast.

Hopefully we won't get such types of questions in the PSM I, II and III or people will fight the results of those tests and they would have my personal support/approval if they do so.

My thoughts are that "timeboxed" needed to be explicit mentioned because the other three events have a changeable maximum size, yet for the Daily Scrum it does not need to be explicit stated because it has a fixed duration.

So you say tometo and I say tomato, yet the result is the same: Ketchup!

03:27 pm November 27, 2020

The difference being depending on the length of the Sprint you choose a different time-box for all events other than the Daily Scrum. The Daily Scrum is a 15 minute meeting no matter the length of the Sprint. It can always end earlier, but doesn't vary in time based on any factors other than that it does not need to use the full time. 

10:15 pm November 27, 2020

@Rene, I will admit that I got the answer wrong on my first attempt of this quiz (I also selected "15 minutes"). It is only in trying to reason it out that I started to review and consider the differences in how the time elements have been documented.

 

@Eric, You raise an interesting point, though it is worth noting that the only reference to variability is in the statement of

For shorter Sprints, the event is usually shorter.

Leaves it pretty open, other than the max. 

It is interesting that the the time-box wording has been removed from Daily Scrum between SG2017 and SG2020.

SG2017

The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team.

SG2020

The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team.

12:31 pm November 28, 2020

In addition to what others have pointed out about the timebox question, I've noticed a couple of other things.

One question asks who the mandatory attendees of the Daily Scrum are. In the 2017 Scrum Guide, I'd agree with the answer of "Developers". However, the 2020 Scrum Guide changes how the Scrum Master serves the Scrum Team: "Ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox." It's not clear to me how the Scrum Master can ensure that an event is positive, productive, and kept within the timebox without attending. I suppose there may be an argument around the value of trust, but the 2020 revision also states that the Scrum Master is "accountable for the Scrum Team’s effectiveness". There's tension between accountability and trust that doesn't add up well.

There's also a question about the role of the Scrum Master if people other than Developers attend. The answer marked as correct is that they ensure the event is "positive and productive", but this is true even if only the Developers attend. The 2020 Guide doesn't mention anything about non-Developers in the Daily Scrum. This is a bit contrary to the "less prescriptive" changes to the Guide - it seems like the 2020 Guide is more prescriptive by not giving any leeway for non-Developers to attend.

06:14 am November 29, 2020

Thomas,

These are some great questions I had myself. I see how being less prescriptive can get confusing. I am right there with you  what I understand based on the new guide is :

1) Scrum Master would need to ensure that an event is positive, productive, and kept within the timebox. He / she should be capable of doing so without attending. If you flip the coin, just attending the events is not going result the effectiveness either. When all rules, artifacts, events and accountabilities work in coordination with the values as prescribed by the guide, the resultant increment (when compared to what was planned) defines the effectiveness of the Team. The way I see it, the Scrum Master and the Product Owners are still optional when it comes to attendance of the Daily Scrum.

2) The scrum guide states "The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team". So if not all, the needed Developers should attend the event "to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work."

3) It is still the Scrum Masters responsibility to ensure that all Scrum events take place.

4) "The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want". The way I would read this is that the developers would have the flexibility to invite other people as needed in the Daily meeting. 

Please feel free to correct me if I am.wrong. 

Sid. 

 

 

08:45 am November 29, 2020

Hi in SG 2017, The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team. 

03:21 pm November 29, 2020

I think folks are getting caught up on this Daily Scrum time-box and really shouldn't.  It is a 15 minute event, if it ends early like any meeting it can end whenever it is over, it doesn't have to go the full 15 minutes, but doesn't go longer.  The change is because this is the only meeting that is set no matter the length of the Sprint to the same time.  All other events vary in time depending on the Sprint length. The Daily Scrum remains 15 minutes for all Sprints no matter their length.  Nothing else was really meant by the change.

11:38 am November 30, 2020

Hi All

With regard to the question regarding the time-box for the Daily Scrum, the answer marked correct is that the Daily Scrum does not have a timebox. This is because, as many of you noted, the Scrum Guide 2020 has explicitly removed the word timebox from the description of the Daily Scrum.

In addressing this, Eric presents a compelling viewpoint: The reason the word timebox was omitted was because the Daily Scrum is the only event where the duration does not change based on the length of the Sprint. I like this. I just wish it were made clear in the Scrum Guide if that is actually the case.

My approach is that I continue to treat the Daily Scrum as having a timebox. I believe that Eric's viewpoint and my approach would both be ratified if the word timebox were again used to describe the Daily Scrum. But I'm very well aware that these are just our opinions and the authors of the Scrum Guide have the actual answer.

So, I have written to both Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland about the removal of the word timebox when describing the Daily Scrum. I am still awaiting a reply and will share as and when I get one.

05:34 pm November 30, 2020

Hi all, I just chatted with Ken and got some clarity.  Here is what he told me:  “A time-box is just a maximum length for an event, so nothing has changed, it is still a 15 minute time-box and can of course end early. The Daily Scrum is the only event that doesn’t change based on Sprint length as it is always 15 minutes or less if you finish early.”

05:36 pm November 30, 2020

I was presented with this as my second question.

The daily standup is:

  •  A daily event for the Scrum Team
  •  A daily event, during the working week, for the Scrum Team
  •  A daily event held every day of the Sprint
  •  An optional daily meeting for the Scrum Team
  •  A daily event for the Scrum Team where attendees have to stand
  •  Not a Scrum event

In my opinion, none of those answers are correct.  The closest is the first option but that is not in line with the Scrum Guide 2020 or 2017.  The 202 Guide states (emphasis added by me)

The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team. 

Developers are not the entire Scrum Team.  So I do not see any of these answers that are correct. 

Still working through, so I may post more. 

05:47 pm November 30, 2020

Another one I argue with. I bolded my answer and italicized the "correct" answer.

One of the ‘three questions’ that might be raised at the Daily Scrum is:

 

  •  What I did yesterday that will impact my productivity
  •  Any impediments that prevent me, or the Developers, earning our bonus
  •  What I will do today to ensure that the product remains bug free
  •  Any blockers
  •  What I will be doing today so people know I'm busy
  •  Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the Developers from meeting the Sprint Goal
  •  None of the above because the 'three questions' are not a part of formal Scrum
  •  All of the above

Incorrect

 

All reference to the ‘three questions’ have been removed from the Scrum Guide

I still feel that any of those questions might be raised.  The Scrum Guide 2020 says 

The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, as long as their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal and produces an actionable plan for the next day of work. 

So, the Developers could choose to use a set of questions or any of these questions could come in normal conversation about the progress towards the Sprint Goal.  If you had phrased the question like 

"Which of these questions are recommended to be asked in the Daily Scrum by the Scrum Guide" then your suggested answer is correct. 

05:50 pm November 30, 2020

On my first post I see what you did there.  You are really playing on the "Daily standup" vs "Daily Scrum" thing.  Maybe a bit too much because it seems like there could be better things to focus on instead of the phrasing.  But just my opinion. 

06:00 pm November 30, 2020

What part does the Scrum Master play if the Daily Scrum is attended by anyone other than the Developers?

 

  •  Ensures the others get a chance to feedback
  •  Ensures the others understand what was discussed
  •  Ensures the event is positive and productive
  •  Ensures the others keep their interaction within the 15 minute time-box
  •  The Scrum Master does not have to ensure anything

Incorrect

 

The Scrum Master is not a mandatory attendee at the Daily Scrum so it’s hard to see how they can ensure anything. But the Scrum Guide says,

The Scrum Master serves the Scrum Team in several ways, including … Ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox.

The Scrum Guide 2020 says nothing about others attending the Daily Scrum and it says nothing about the Scrum Master attending unless they are participating as a Developer.  This statement from the Guide 2020 leads me to believe that the Scrum Master has no involvement at all as a Scrum Master.

The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, as long as their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal and produces an actionable plan for the next day of work. This creates focus and improves self-management.

If "anyone other than the Developers" attend it would be up to the Developers to deal with their involvement.  There are other ways that the Scrum Master can ensure "that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox" without having to attend.  

This question was relevant for the 2017 revision but for the 2020 revision, I do not see it as being relevant at all.

06:05 pm November 30, 2020

After the Daily Scrum:

 

  •  The rest of the Sprint's work may be re-planned
  •  The rest of the Sprint's work may be adapted
  •  Detailed discussion are often held by the Developers or Scrum Team
  •  All of the above
  •  None of the above

Incorrect

 

From the Scrum Guide:

The Daily Scrum is not the only time Developers are allowed to adjust their plan. They often meet throughout the day for more detailed discussions about adapting or re-planning the rest of the Sprint’s work.

All of those things could be done before the Daily Scrum which I guess is technically after the previous day's Daily Scrum but this is a bit misleading. 

06:23 pm November 30, 2020

I hope this doesn't offend you but I don't think I would recommend your quiz to anyone. I get the "fiendish" aspect but your quiz seems to focus on more whether the participant can catch the syntax problems than on whether they understand the purpose and meaning of the event.  This is especially important for people where English is not their primary language.  I see this quiz as an entertainment option for breaks during a training course or for an evening happy hour but not as something I would use for education purposes. 

Since the Developers can choose the format of their Daily Scrum, many of the questions you asked about the daily standup could be legitimate.  And as for the name used, does it really matter if the purpose is being satisfied?  As a Scrum Master I honestly don't care what it is called. I am more concerned that (from the 2020 Guide)

events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox.

No where does it state that the events have to be called by the name used in the Scrum Guide no matter what revision of the Guide you use.  Just as a Product Owner, Scrum Master or Developer can have other titles, so can the Events. 

Again, this is just my opinion and I mean no offense but I felt that you might like to get the feedback since you posted the quiz here.  

09:05 pm November 30, 2020

@Eric  Thanks for the clarification. I'll update the Daily Scrum quiz accordingly and reference this forum post.

 

09:34 pm November 30, 2020

@Daniel

Thanks for the many items of feedback. I appreciate you taking the time to write them up. I've read through them all and have tried to summarise my thoughts in this single forum post.

Can I first state that almost all of the questions in the quiz are of the 'choose the best answer(s) that apply' style. They're rarely definitive. This will often lead to discussion, debate and disagreement. This is by design.

In regard to questions regarding the phrase 'daily standup'. As you correctly state in a later post, the questions related to this are testing technical understanding. 'Daily standup' does not exist in Scrum.  While the phrase is in common use it is technically incorrect. The daily event in Scrum is called the Daily Scrum.

In a similar vein, the 'three questions' are a commonly used technique and have been a part of earlier Scrum Guides. However, they were removed from the Scrum Guide 2020.

The Scrum Guide 2020 resurfaces a conundrum that existed in the Scrum Guide 2017. That is, the Scrum Master has responsibilities for the Daily Scrum that they are not a mandatory attendee for. In the Scrum Guide 2020 it is expressed as 'Ensuring that all Scrum events take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox.'

I am grateful for your feedback and am glad that you see the quiz as an entertainment option or for an evening happy hour.


 

07:58 pm April 13, 2021

Hello everyone,

I have read all your comments and I am still confused about the following in regards to the Daily Scrum:

1. It is feasible for the Scrum Master to ensure this event takes place and is kept within the timebox. He can actually watch the developers go into a room and get out after no more than 15 minutes. However, how can the Scrum Master ensure the Daily Scrum event is positive and productive if he doesn't attend? What if the developers just have coffee during this time and discuss about anything else but the Sprint Backlog?

2. The 2020 Scrum Guide states: "Daily Scrums improve communications, identify impediments, promote quick decision-making, and consequently eliminate the need for other meetings."

I understand from it that no other meetings take pace besides the Daily Scrum, since the need for them is not just reduced or diminished, but eliminated.

However, in the very next paragraph, the Guide states: "The Daily Scrum is not the only time Developers are allowed to adjust their plan. They often meet throughout the day for more detailed discussions about adapting or re-planning the rest of the Sprint’s work."

So the Daily Scrum eliminates the need for other meetings, but the Developers often meet during the day anyway.

What do you think about these two points?

Thanks,

Dumitru

07:00 pm April 14, 2021

The SM can attend but not participate, unless the SM is also working on the increment, which means that by monitoring them the SM can see if they are following the scrum framework, and if not, this can then be discussed during the retrospective. 

The PO could also attend as long as they understand that this event is not for them, and that they are only there so that they can answer questions if asked (this is normally done at other times during the day). 

 

"Daily Scrums improve communications, identify impediments, promote quick decision-making, and consequently eliminate the need for other meetings."

The meetings this refer to are organisation based and not scrum team based.  In fact, Scrum has no meetings.  It has four events.

 

They often meet throughout the day for more detailed discussions about adapting or re-planning the rest of the Sprint’s work."

These are either adhoc or scheduled discussions and not official meetings pertaining to the organisation. 

07:48 pm April 14, 2021

So the Daily Scrum eliminates the need for other meetings, but the Developers often meet during the day anyway.

What do you think about these two points?

In agile practice, it's no less important to stop doing things as it is to start doing others.