Four ways to keep the Daily Scrum from being about status
Ah, the Daily Scrum, so often misused as an instrument of status (see https://youtu.be/i7_RPceEIYE for a discussion). Often the way the Daily Scrum is conducted lends itself to a report of status. The team answers 3 questions in a round robin fashion. It often sounds like this:
- What did you do yesterday?
I went to meet with Joe and had to fill out an HR form. I also wrote 13 emails and filled out my timesheet. Oh, yeah, I also wrote a little code.
- What will you do today?
Well, I’m going over to the other building to talk to the stakeholders about next month’s sprint. I’m also going to three meetings about the user interface. On top of that I’m going to Yorka’s Greek for a gyro with Felice.
- Are there any blockers?
Not a fruitful exchange, is it?
The heart of the Daily Scrum is to use it as a micro planning and coordination session for the next 24 hours, not so everyone can share their status. Status can be gleaned from a simple task board, a burndown, a burnup, or other information radiators.
Here’s some ways to promote focus on the sprint goal and coordination during the Daily Scrum:
- Recast the questions to focus on a consumer/producer conversation like so:
What did you complete yesterday that we can consume?
What will you complete today that we need to consume or coordinate?
Is there anything out of your control that will prevent you from reaching your objective for the day?
- Recast the questions to focus on the sprint goal like so:
What did you do yesterday to contribute to the sprint goal?
What will you do today to contribute to the sprint goal?
Is there anything out of your control that will prevent you from contributing to the sprint goal?
- Abandon the questions and focus on 3 questions and focus explicitly on coordinating like so:
In order to make progress toward the sprint goal, what do we need to coordinate today (e.g. technology, people, process)? Make sure this question says “what do we need” as opposed to “do we need”. The former infers something needs to be coordinated.
- Focus on the tasks and PBIs that are in progress. Rather than a round robin by person, the Daily Scrum becomes round robin by PBI:
For PBI xyz, do we need to coordinate anything for today’s progress?
One more thing. The it’s the Daily Scrum, not the standup. You don’t have to stand up.
As you can imagine, there are a lot of other ways to keep the Daily Scrum focused appropriately. Try your own experiments and inspect and adapt. Just keep the heart of the Daily Scrum in mind.