Skip the Daily Scrum for 1 day in a week

Last post 10:11 am March 9, 2022
by Jaya Agnihotri
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09:36 am March 8, 2022

In one of the retrospectives, my team decided to have a weekly No Meeting Wednesday. Is it ok if I cancel the daily scrum for that day?

From what I understand the purpose of daily scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work. My team follows this religiously and as long as it does not hinder the focus on progress towards sprint goal, it should be ok to skip the daily scrum once a week.

Looking forward to great insights.

10:59 am March 8, 2022

Agreed with you. If team is mature enough and self organized , managed to achieve sprint Goal, team can decide to skip the daily scrum once a week with all team members consent and will.

If some team level impediment occur then team may gather to resolve that as and when required.

01:55 pm March 8, 2022

I'm a bit concerned by two things. First, that the team has so many meetings that they feel the need for a "no meeting day". Second, that the team sees the Daily Scrum as a meeting.

The various Scrum events, when done effectively, can replace less structured meetings. The Scrum events, including the Daily Scrum, have well-define objectives and outcomes. If you are achieving those objectives and maintaining a high degree of transparency between the team and key stakeholders, you can reduce or even eliminate a lot of other meetings and reporting that gets in the way of the team spending their time on value-adding work. If this isn't happening, I'd want to explore what meetings the team is having and how the meetings can be removed or made more effective so the team isn't in a position where they feel like they need to have a "no meeting day" to be able to focus on the work and meeting their goals.

In a lot of the organizations that I've seen, meetings tend to be areas for discussion or information sharing. Although this may happen in the Daily Scrum, the purpose is to come out with a revised plan in the form of a more accurate picture of the state of work via the Sprint Backlog. By taking 15 minutes to align on the Sprint Backlog and decide the next step, the team is able to maintain a higher level of transparency into the current state of work and any impediments or risks to achieving the Sprint Goal. If the team is taking significantly more than 15 minutes or the Sprint Backlog isn't being revised to give an accurate picture of the team's progress and next steps or the team isn't well-aligned on their next step, then the Daily Scrum probably isn't very effective and the team may need some coaching in what the outcomes or objectives of the event are and ways to make it more effective.

Generally speaking, I'd be very hesitant to remove the Daily Scrum on any day where work is happening. Depending on the timing of the other events, days where you are carrying out Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, or Sprint Retrospective may not have one because there's no replanning or alignment necessary. Teams that are frequently pairing and mobbing on work rather than working more individually may also be able to hold the Daily Scrum less frequently than daily and still maintain alignment. Most teams don't fall into these categories, though.

04:59 pm March 8, 2022

I echo @Thomas Owens' opinions.  He conveyed them much better than I could.   But he didn't cover one thing that immediately jumped out at me when I read the original post. 

Is it ok if I cancel the daily scrum for that day?

I'm assuming you are the Scrum Master based on the rest of your post.  So I ask you, what makes you think that you have the right to cancel the Daily Scrum?  Are you a participant in that event?  Is the event for you?  Let me remind you of a few passages from the Scrum Guide

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

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.

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

All of those come from the section of the Guide that describes the Daily Scrum.  Notice the emphasis that the event is for the Developers.  Also notice that the event is intended to eliminate the need for other meetings.  

My current company has a policy of no meetings on Wednesday for everyone in the company.  However, all of the Scrum Teams have the Daily Scrum on those days because they do not feel it is a meeting. It has a purpose, it provides benefit and it is only 15 minutes long.  If 15 minutes out of a day is burden, then you have bigger problems on your hand.  Also, how many times during your no meeting day will 2 or more of the developers get together to discuss something?  Isn't that a meeting? 

05:25 pm March 8, 2022

In one of the retrospectives, my team decided to have a weekly No Meeting Wednesday. Is it ok if I cancel the daily scrum for that day?

Wouldn't it be better to make team collaboration work, and thereby improve productivity? What's the actual problem with people meeting each other?

I'd suggest that there is little to be gained by applying this sledgehammer to "meetings" every Wednesday. Only the collateral damage will be certain: a key inspect-and-adapt opportunity will definitely be lost.

10:48 pm March 8, 2022

Thank you everyone for the great insights.
I understand everyone's perspective here and I think all of you have something to bring in.

As mentioned, it was the decision of the team to have no meetings day due to the fact that they are not all co-located so they wanted to create some focus on working on their independent stories and avoiding virtual meetings for dependent stories.
Considering the nature of work we have in the team, its not a pure software development but cloud connectivity where in we have a lot of dependency mitigation which happens during the process of progressing towards Sprint Goal.

Hence, it was team's call to have a No Meeting Day. I agree that the daily scrum is not a meeting but a daily inspect adapt event and 15 mins should be manageable. Hence, we agreed in our team to continue with the Daily Scrum.

Thank you

 

10:11 am March 9, 2022

Thanks Ian, Daniel and Thomas for such nice explaination. Agreed with the fact that daily scrum is inspect and adapt opportunity, not just regular meeting.

This brings whole team on same page and work colloboratively to achieve sprint goal.