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Stakeholders in Scrum meetings

Last post 08:41 am July 26, 2023 by Jacek Markiewicz
5 replies
07:15 pm July 23, 2023

I’m a Scrum Master for a fully remote team at a mostly remote business.

On the Scrum team we have 7 Developers. 

We have a number of stakeholders who attend every Daily Scrum. They are - the Development Manager, two Project Managers, and three developers from another team. 

When you include me and the Product Owner that means at the Daily Scrum there are 8 people observing 7 people plan their work. 

The same people also want to be present in the other Scrum Ceremonies (except the Retro) - the reason given is that they might be needed to give input.

My gut feeling is that being observed this closely by so many people is actively harmful to a team, and hinders their ability to work effectively together. However I’m not able to “prove” this. I think that if the team were left unobserved for a few sprints our ability to self organise and deliver our Sprint Goal would greatly increase. Mainly because I think people would respond to being shown that trust.

06:42 pm July 24, 2023

Stakeholders have all the rest of the working day to make themselves available, and to collaborate with the Developers. The Daily Scrum is a 15 minute opportunity for the Developers to step aside from all of that buzz and to refocus on their plan for the next 24 hours to get closer the Sprint Goal. Do the stakeholders consider that too much to ask?

09:09 pm July 24, 2023

What does the team - particularly the Developers with regard to the Daily Scrum - say about this?

It's not exactly clear what the relationship is between this team and the Development Manager, Project Managers, and the other Developers is. Understanding their roles, responsibilities, and relationships would help give some more concrete guidance.

Some general thoughts:

  • When it comes to cross-team collaboration, I don't think it makes sense to have 3 Developers from another participate in the various events. Depending on the nature of the work, it may make sense to have more collaboration at the Sprint Planning and Sprint Review. In my experience, sending a single person to Daily Scrums could be beneficial, but most in-Sprint collaboration should be ad-hoc.
  • Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, and refinement activities are the best places for cross-team collaboration.
  • For people carrying our more traditional project management activities, the Sprint Review and frequent collaboration with the Product Owner on the state of the Product Backlog are the best places to work together.
  • All key stakeholders - internal and external - should be involved in the Sprint Review.

You're probably onto something that so many eyes on the team, especially at the Daily Scrum, are reducing the team's ability to self-organize and self-manage. If these people are mainly looking for a status report, figure out ways to make the team's status and work highly visible through information radiators and respond to the team outside of the Daily Scrum.

10:03 pm July 24, 2023

Since the Daily Scrum is an event for the Developers on a Scrum Team to plan their next day, why don't you let them decide who they would need to be there for that purpose?  As the Scrum Master, you have the accountability to explain to people outside of the Scrum Team how best to interact with the team.  There is honestly no reason that I have ever found that people other than the Developers on the Scrum Team need to attend the Daily Scrum.  It just leads to issues down the road as they start to participate instead of just observe.  You mentioned that the reason they feel they need to be there because they might be needed to provide input. Well, they may not be needed either so they are wasting their time.  They should never need to provide input during the Daily Scrum.  And if they will be needed for any other event, they can be invited by the individuals that want their presence.  

Your Scrum Team needs to discuss this in a Retrospective and make a decision on how to handle it.  

08:06 pm July 25, 2023

In fact Stakeholder can observe daily scrum or other events(please, please stop call them "ceremonies", who brought this awful word to Scrum), they juts should not interfere, unless invited. Its a part of transparency and openness.

As for the question WHY are they doing them, there is is a simple way to find out.

Ask them why.

08:41 am July 26, 2023

I suggest letting the developers decide who they want present and find a way to feed the stakeholder's needs another way.

Also, when the developers are deciding they need to be encouraged towards self-management since they also may feel internal pressure for satisfying some stakeholders, which we want to avoid.

I often observe that the developers ask for the PO to be present but rarely anybody else at least not routinely. 

The atmosphere on the team is crucial and the daily Scrum is playing a vital role in it. It is obvious that people adjust their behavior depending on other people's presence. You want the best collaborative spirit like the football players have in the locker room before they go out for a game. 


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