PO and SM share relevant information during Daily or not?

Last post 12:18 pm August 2, 2021
by Sven de Koning
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09:28 pm July 28, 2021

Thinking out loud here. I wonder what the thoughts of the Agile community are about this one. If read the Scrum Guide, it shows that every event is an opportunity to inspect and adapt for the whole team. All expect one; the Daily. Only a part of the Scrum Team participates in this one; the Developers. And yes, if a PO or SM is also a Developer they participate, but only as a Developer, not as a SM or PO. The focus is placed on inspecting and adapting the plan for reaching the Sprint Goal. But the PO and SM also have goals during the sprint. For example, the PO does PBL refinement. Sometimes the PO needs input from Developers for this. When the SM is working on solving an impediment, something that prevent the Developers from reaching the Sprint Goal, it could help to share what the SM is doing to solve it. During the Daily the PO could ask for help so the Developers can keep in mind who is going to help the PO. That does have influence on the plan for that day. Also not having solved the impediment could influence reaching the Sprint Goal and should be taking into account while creating the plan for reaching that goal.
 
Do you think it’s a good idea for the PO and SM to share information that influences the planning of the Developers during the Daily or should that be communicated outside the Daily so the Daily remains only for the Developers?

10:12 pm July 28, 2021

To be explicitly clear, the Scrum Guide does not prevent the Product Owner or Scrum Master from being present at the Daily Scrum. Since "the Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want", they can select a structure that includes the Product Owner and Scrum Master as active participants for some or all of their Daily Scrums. The Scrum Master's services of coaching the team and ensuring that all of the events "take place and are positive, productive, and kept within the timebox" may also lead to the Scrum Master observing or facilitating the Daily Scrum.

Personally, I've had the best luck where the Product Owner attends and participates in the Daily Scrum, preferably every day. This gives them the opportunity to see exactly what the Developers have done and will be doing, which can help the Product Owner prepare to look at Increments as they finish. In other words, the Product Owner can plan their day based on what they see and hear in the Daily Scrum. The Scrum Master can also get information about impediments first-hand and the team doesn't need to go hunt them down later to get them involved. Simply being present and observing goes a long way.

Beyond observing, the Product Owner giving the team a heads-up on what is going on can help the team to plan their day better. This could be anything from information about the Product Owner's availability for questions related to refinement or the current Sprint work to information about changes on the stakeholder's side well before the Sprint Review so no one is blindsided.

The purposes of the Daily Scrum include improving communication, promoting quick-decision making, and eliminating other meetings. All three of these are much easier with the whole Scrum Team - including the Product Owner and Scrum Master - in the room.

There are some potential blocks, though. In a scaled environment with multiple teams working on a single product, the Product Owner and Scrum Master could be serving multiple teams. If the teams opt to hold their Daily Scrums at the same time, they can't be in multiple places at once. Considering the schedules of more people may also make scheduling harder and lead the team down a path of having their Daily Scrum at a less convenient time for the Developers. The right level of coaching may help to mitigate the issues, though.

I definitely encourage teams to find ways to regularly include the Product Owner and Scrum Master in the Daily Scrum, but ensure that the Developers own the structure of the meeting and their needs come first.

10:50 pm July 28, 2021

A good Daily Scrum is 15 minutes out of a busy day of collaborating with the SM, PO and others, for those developing the Increment to stand aside from the buzz and say:

"Where are we now in our progress to the Sprint Goal? Where would we hope to be this time tomorrow?"

It's tempting for others to attend, because jumping in on a 15 minute window is easy. The rest of the time you get to stay in your bubble and it means less change to your day job. Shoehorn collaboration into 15 minutes and you have an undaily Scrum.

 

07:05 am July 29, 2021

Thank you for your response and insights. It gives food for thoughts. 

12:41 pm July 29, 2021

I teach my students that the daily scrum is a micro-planning and coordination session for progressing toward the sprint goal.  SM and PM don't have to attend but in practice, their attendance is often helpful.  I have, though, seen overly assertive SMs and PMs in this meeting where it becomes a status meeting.

04:17 pm July 29, 2021

For example, the PO does PBL refinement.

I disagree with this.  The Product Owner does not do Product Backlog refinement.  The Scrum Team does Product Backlog refinement. I say that because it is the Developers that will be doing the work so they are best to refine items into workable units.  The Scrum Guide states that refinement is an ongoing process and as such the entire Scrum Team should have a shared understanding that everyone will be contributing time to the effort at various times. 

You are correct that the Daily Scrum is for the Developers.  It is specifically for coordinating their daily activities as it relates to achieving the Sprint Goal.  As others have said, they can determine the most effective way of doing this.  My opinion and guidance is that if the Product Owner or Scrum Master have activities related to the Sprint Goal then they should be participants.  The Scrum Guide also states that. 

But the PO and SM also have goals during the sprint.

Yes, they may have goals but the are not tied to the Sprint Goal as that goal is tied directly to and is the commitment for the Sprint Backlog. In my experience the only valuable contribution that a Product Owner makes to the Daily Scrum is to provide information to help clarify intent for backlog items and that is not an everyday occurrence.  Can the Product Owner benefit from listening to the discussions from the Daily Scrum?  That is possible but not always as the talk can be deeply technical and not all Product Owners will understand.  Can the Scrum Master benefit from the listening to the conversations?  Sure, but their benefit is in seeing how the Developers self-organize to solve the problems and accomplish the work. This helps the Scrum Master in their responsibilities to the Scrum Team. 

Do you think it’s a good idea for the PO and SM to share information that influences the planning of the Developers during the Daily or should that be communicated outside the Daily so the Daily remains only for the Developers?

My opinion is that kind of information should be shared as soon as it is known and not wait for a scheduled time to do so.  All companies have ways of communicating.  I do not know a company that doesn't have email. Instant messaging and video conferencing is mostly available as well.  So even if the team is not in an office environment, there are ways to provide the information.  It should be shared as soon as it is known because the Developers may choose to adjust immediately.  The Daily Scrum is one method for improving and adding transparency to information. But the sharing of information should not be limited to time scheduled on a calendar. 

12:14 pm August 2, 2021

Thank you for your input. Refining a PBL, in my opinion, isn’t only clarifying US but also changing the order and adding or taking US of the PBL. Yes, the PO isn’t the only one doing that, but is responsible for the PBL. So I believe it’s not only the Developers who do the refining.

I agree the goals of the PO and SM aren’t part of the Sprint Goal, but they can influence achieving the SG. Also from the view of transparency their goals should be clear for everyone.

I understand your point on sharing information as soon as it is known. I agree. But sharing it as a reminder, or if you notice the Developers don’t take the information into consideration during the Daily, doesn’t hurt. Also, it depends on the maturity of the team. Sometimes Developers need some powerful questions to get them back on track during the Daily.

12:18 pm August 2, 2021

@Chuck; yes, the status meeting is something you want to prevent. When I notice it becomes one, that's a good moment to literally take a few steps back, explain the purpose of the Daily and observe what happens.