November 21, 2021

What Does A Scrum Master do in Daily Scrum?

Many people ask whether a Scrum Master is part of Daily Scrum. We know that the Scrum Guide tells us that Daily Scrum is for the Developers by the Developers. Scrum Master has nothing to do there and if they do attend, it might be a sign of Zombie Scrum.

We often see and hear that facilitation of Daily Scrum is the responsibility of a Scrum Master. Whether it is something that comes up in a discussion or it is written in a job description.

Is it really true though? I strongly disagree with it. However, I do not think that in current remote-work world we can afford to miss opportunities to sync up with the team as Scrum Masters.

Though, the question that I would like to ask here is this: “How can a Scrum Master participate in Daily Scrum without breaking Scrum rules?” Let me give you a few practical tips.

 

I do not specifically talk about the Daily Scrum itself here, so if you would like to read a comprehensive explanation of what this event is (and what it isn’t), I recommend reading this article by Stephanie Ockerman.

Attending Daily Scrum

As most of us are still working remotely and many of us will continue to do so in the future, we need to be able to adapt to the situation.

Previously, when we worked in the office, I had an opportunity to listen in to the Daily Scrum even if I didn’t attend it just because I was sitting nearby. I also often would have an opportunity to overhear discussions and jump on coaching moments.

However, I can’t do it remotely. That is why I find it quite useful to attend Daily Scrum meetings as an observer. As I say in the video: a fly on the wall.

I appreciate it for a couple of reasons:

  • If I and others join a bit earlier, we can have an informal chat beforehand and build some connections.
  • I can listen in to see if there are impediments, opportunities for collaboration, ongoing challenges, or anything else that might define team’s long-term success.
  • I can observe the relationships between team members – something that is so difficult to catch these days.

Letting team to self-organize

While attending can be quite helpful for me, I need to always think about the values and principles of Scrum.

One of the key characteristics of great Scrum Teams is self-management. My presence at the Daily Scrum should not impede this important aspect.

That is why there are a few things I never do in Daily Scrum, such as:

  • Call out people’s name to indicate their turn to speak
  • Ask the three questions 😅
  • Take notes

When a team is very new, I might need to drive some initial conversations, but I quickly step away from this role. The members of the Scrum Team are professionals – they will figure out how to do it better.

My role is to help them understand the purpose of the Daily Scrum and teach them ways to keep it short and to-the-point.

Asking questions

Teaching Scrum is one of the first steps that any Scrum Master should take. It applies to the Daily.

There is the next step: coaching. So how do you actually coach your team and how do you do it in Daily Scrum?

Easy! Ask questions!

The goal is not to interrupt, but to generate insights and ideas. That’s what servant leadership is all about!

I like to take an extra minute after the Daily Scrum is finished to ask a few questions, raise concerns, or use it as a teaching moment.

If you would like to learn more of Scrum Masters’ personal stories and real-life examples, you should check out our community of practice for Scrum Masters. It is a place with lots of exclusive content and an awesome group of people helping organizations around the world succeed with Agile.