Question about the daily scrum

Last post 11:08 am November 16, 2019
by Maarten Verreck
5 replies
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02:50 pm November 13, 2019

Good morning folks,

Currently im a scrum master to a new team that is learning about the framework.  

The product developers are in one country, some other members (security, infra) along with the PO and Myself (SM) are in another country. 

The daily scrum we do remotely and its taking way over 15 minutes. One of the challenges im having is to coach the entire team, specially the PO that this is not a status meeting and its a syncronization opportunity of the team to inspect the work they are doing towards the sprint goal and do the adjustments as necessary.

This team also provides support of the product and this means handling production incidents on a daily basis, and probally the cause of this been treated like a status meeting. When i intervene or tell the PO that we need to focus the meeting she says that her questions are very important as she needs to report upwards. 

Do you have any advice on how can i handle this so the daily scrum serves its purpose but also, the PO is aware of the progress and provide feedback to the developers working on the resolution of tickets?

Does the status of the incidents are handled on a different meeting maybe?

Any coaching will be greatly appreciated 

Kinda regards,

Juan

05:21 pm November 13, 2019

Juan, your understanding of the Daily Scrum is correct, and it looks like you have some work ahead of you to educate others.

Some thoughts:

she says that her questions are very important as she needs to report upwards. 

How is the Development Team currently radiating information regarding the work they are doing?   Is this information readily available to the PO?   If not, what can be done so that the PO can access it at any time to understand the status of any work being done in the current sprint?

The Daily Scrum is run by and for the Development Team only, to assess progress toward the Sprint Goal, and align around a plan for the day.   This is a 15-minute period during the day devoted to this specific purpose - doesn't seem to be that big of an "ask".

It should be stressed to all "optional" attendees (i.e. - Product Owner) that no one outside the Development Team should speak during the Daily Scrum unless prompted by a Development Team member.   The Daily Scrum is not for the benefit of the Product Owner, and it is not a status meeting.   

In my opinion, if any non-Development Team attendee cannot adhere to the purpose of the Daily Scrum as described above, then as the team's Scrum Master, I would remove them from the Daily Scrum, and determine if a separate meeting between them and the Development Team is warranted for their needs.

05:45 pm November 13, 2019

This event is dedicated to aligning the Dev team and identify challenges to their plan for the day to each other. To rally behind Timothy, the meeting is only for the Dev team. Sometimes 'status' appears but if it's in the perspective of allowing another Dev team member plan their day by expecting or not expecting to utilize that work, then great!

If PO is in need of status updates, they should look to the work. If work is sized too big where it's clear that pieces are taking days to be completed, then those types of questions show up. Might be an opportunity for the team to have some self-awareness to the sizes of the individual efforts. The smaller the better in order to tighten up the feedback loop.

Maybe the PO and Dev Team should retro on the behavior and identify improvements to their day-day collaboration techniques and working agreement. The PO is not a manager but would like to be able to communicate progress on occasion. 

You can perhaps introduce a Niko-Niko calendar and have the team provide daily feedback on the effectiveness of the Daily Scrum with regard to their ability to leave it feeling confident in their plan. This is a great tool for temporary use to establish baseline and then see if change is being effective. It also helps in retro to jog memories and reinforce openness and respect within the team.

05:50 pm November 13, 2019

When i intervene or tell the PO that we need to focus the meeting she says that her questions are very important as she needs to report upwards. 

Why does the PO feel a need to interfere with the Development Team’s Daily Scrum in order to ask them questions? She could potentially pick any other time to collaborate with them and get the information she requires.

The Daily Scrum is 15 minutes out of a busy day of collaborating with others for the Development Team to stand aside and refocus their efforts on the Sprint Goal.

05:52 pm November 13, 2019

You could use retrospectives to reiterate the purpose of the daily scrum and the three Scrum roles, and confront the team with the simple observation that the team is treating the daily scrum as a status meeting. Then challenge them to think about why they feel that is needed. (You have already provided some arguments.) Once the team has an idea about that, you can then challenge them to come up with process improvements that would still make things work without needing the daily scrum and that link between the PO and Dev Team. You can help the team create more freedom, better focus and maybe increased trust levels for both roles.

It sounds like the team are trying their best to help each other do their work. That's a great compliment to start your observation with, and could be an engaging process improvement goal: "help each other even more than you already are".

11:08 am November 16, 2019

The daily is for the development team. So I would remove the PO from that meeting and make the purpose of that meeting clear to her. 

You can suggest another moment during the sprint for the team to go trough the PO questions with the teammembers that are relevant to give the answers.

As a scrum master I would attend those meetings also, so I can get an Idea of the questions. That can help in coaching the PO and the team also in creating more freedom.