The Daily Scrum Event: 5 Surprisingly Common Misconceptions
It might surprise you that even those with years of Scrum practice sometimes make statements about the framework that are, well, inaccurate. The Scrum Guide outlines how teams can learn to work together to deliver complex work. It’s not a how-to list of instructions, and perhaps that’s what leads to misinterpretation. Last week, we discussed some of the most common, if well-meaning, misconceptions about Scrum in general. Today, we’ll dive further into this topic with a focus on the Daily Scrum event.
Misconception # 1: Managers should stay away from the Daily Scrum event.
I hear this fallacy a lot, even from Scrum Masters who have years of experience. They fear that if managers attend the Daily Scrum it will inhibit team members from speaking their thoughts. In my experience, the highest performing Scrum Teams are open to managers occasionally listening in at this meeting. Remember, one of the values of Scrum is courage, which is the attribute of bravely sharing ideas, collaborating, and working together for the success of the team. It is acceptable for guests including the Product Owner, team managers or others to attend the Daily Scrum. It is the Scrum Master’s responsibility to ensure that guests do not disrupt the event.
There are benefits to managers occasionally attending the Daily Scrum. For example, if the team encounters impediments during the Sprint, management may help to remove those impediments faster. Or, if the team is not living the Scrum values, management may be able to help promote a culture of trust by emphasizing the importance of the Scrum values to individual team members.
Misconception # 2: The Daily Scrum can take place through email or chat.
The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to improve the likelihood of delivering an increment that meets the Sprint Goal. According to the 2020 Scrum Guide, “Daily Scrums improve communications, identify impediments, promote quick decision-making, and consequently eliminate the need for other meetings.” These benefits won’t come through an email thread or even a group chat. The Daily Scrum is not a status report; it’s a collaborative event that involves discussion and group decision-making. If your team can replace its daily Scrum with an email, you might not be practicing the Daily Scrum in the right way.
Misconception # 3: The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to answer the three questions.
One of the most popular formats that Developers use for the Daily Scrum involves each Developer sharing in turn what they did yesterday to help the team meet the Sprint Goal, what they will do today to help the team meet the Sprint Goal, and whether they have any impediments. It can be a useful structure, but if the team follows it robitcally, they might miss the POINT of the Daily Scrum. At the Daily Scrum, the Developers should be inspecting progress towards the Sprint Goal together and talking about how it's going. This isn’t just a burn-up chart, or three questions to tick off. The Daily Scrum is a frank discussion about progress and to determine whether the team needs to adapt its plan.
Misconception # 4: Scrum Masters must attend the Daily Scrum.
Another common misconception about the Daily Scrum is that the Scrum Master should facilitate the meeting. In reality, while the Scrum Master should ensure that the Daily Scrum takes place, they are not required to facilitate the meeting.
The Daily Scrum is a synchronization meeting for Developers, and no one else is required to attend.
Scrum Masters might decide to facilitate the event if the Developers are struggling to maintain the timebox or need additional coaching.
Misconception # 5: There are too many meetings in Scrum.
Developers who have not yet practiced Scrum often tell me this one. Those who have practiced Scrum, even for a short while, know better. The Daily Scrum is, to me, the most impactful event for new Scrum Teams. I was a project manager for 20 years, and I cannot tell you how many times I would find out that a Developer had been suffering in silence, struggling to solve a problem for days without telling anyone about it. With the Daily Scrum, that doesn’t happen. During this event, Developers escalate (not problem solve) any impediments or issues that they are facing. After the Daily Scrum, the appropriate team members may meet to troubleshoot any problems identified during the Daily Scrum.
Because Daily Scrums improve communications, identify impediments, and promote quick decision-making, they eliminate the need for other, likely longer, meetings. By catching problems early (instead of days or weeks after the problem arises) and by using the Daily Scrum to identify the impediment and those who should meet to solve it, the event is an efficient and effective timesaver.
If you find yourself facing any of these misconceptions, consider signing your team up for the Applying Professional Scrum class with Rebel Scrum. Applying Professional Scrum is the best class for those who are practicing Scrum without formal knowledge about the framework and who want to expand their team’s productivity and practices.
If you are currently fulfilling the Scrum Master accountability, consider signing up for the Professional Scrum Master class with Rebel Scrum. The Professional Scrum Master course is the best class for Scrum Masters who are looking for ways to improve efficiency of their Scrum teams.
About Mary Iqbal
Mary has trained more than 1,000 people in Agile, Scrum and Kanban. She has guided the Agile transformation for organizations with more than 60 teams and has led the creation of new products from product definition through self-organization and launch. Mary is the founder of Rebel Scrum, a consulting company that helps teams transform to Agile and provides training and coaching services founded upon practical experience. Rebel Scrum has experience in large-scale agile transformations in a variety of environments including technology and business transformations. Signup for one of Rebel Scrum's upcoming public scrum training classes or contact us to discuss private Scrum training and consulting options for your organization.