Daily Scrum is an event for the Developers of the Scrum team to communicate, collaborate, inspect and adapt towards the product goal and optimize the probability of meeting the Sprint Goal.
Developers are the only mandatory participants of the Daily scrum. Scrum Master and Product Owner are mandatory only if they also play the Developer accountability in the day-to-day work.
Constraints set on Daily Scrum by the Scrum Guide
Daily Scrum is NOT a status meeting
Daily Scrum is NOT a status meeting. This is a coordination and planning opportunity for the developers to prepare a plan for the next 24 hours. During the Daily Scrum, the central aspect is the Sprint Backlog. The developers evolve the Sprint Backlog by making sure that the updates are done to the Sprint Backlog which optimizes the probability of meeting the Sprint Goal. The status is infact an input to daily scrum. The developers usually use tools and techniques such as burn-down charts, burn-up charts, scrum boards to display the status visibility. These become input for discussions during the Daily Scrum and not really discussed in detail.
Maximum 15 minutes
The constraint set on the Daily Scrum is that it should not exceed 15 minutes regardless of the length of the sprint. Such a constraint exists because Daily Scrum should be detailed status meeting and should be a quick meeting to communicate and collaborate, identify blockers and optimize the probability of meeting the Sprint Goal.
Developers are the only compulsory participants of Daily Scrum
This is not a Scrum Master’s forum to take status. Neither is it for a Product Owner to conduct a product demo. This is an opportunity for developers to connect every single day to optimize the plan for the next 24 hours. This constraint is also put up so that the developers get into a habit of “self management”. The developers know that Scum Master is not going to allocate any work to them. It is up to the developers to allocate and monitor their own work.
Daily Scrum should be done at the same place and same time every day
Daily Scrum’s intent should be to increase the cadence on a daily basis. The “same place and same time” constraint is set so that the developers have a regularity of communicating, connecting and making sure they fine-tune the day-to-day plan and optimize the probability to meet the Sprint Goal
Handling Daily Scrums – Few suggestions
- Using the 3 questions effectively in a round-robin format: The Three question format which were there in the Scrum Guide prior to 2020 were a guidance and never compulsory. However, they became a de-facto standard for daily scrum throughout the world. However, the three-question format was widely misunderstood. Most people truncated the questions (by forgetting the “Sprint Goal” part of the questions) and naturally they became questions to be asked by the Scrum Master. The real questions (in the earlier version of Scrum Guide) were about the Spint Goal. The tone of the Three-questions should be as follows
- What did you do yesterday, which helped you and your team come closer to the Sprint Goal?
- What will you do today, which will help you and your team come closer to the Sprint Goal?
- What are the impediments, which are hold you up from meeting the Sprint Goal?
- Identifying blockers: The focus of the Daily Scrum should be to identify impediments so that they can be resolved. Listing them down as a list and tracking it every Daily Scrum could be a good idea. It would be a better idea to have those who have impediments speak first instead of going round robin.
- Detailed discussions should be done after the Daily Scrum : The developers should avoid doing detailed discussions in the Daily Scrum. The developers should meet after the Daily Scrum to discuss the details.
- Face to face: Daily Scrum should have all the developers face to face. Face to face does not mean co-located. It is now a norm to be working remotely either from home or from different locations. “Face to face” can be achieved with video calls with cameras ON. It is better that developers communicate either via video calls such as zoom calls or meet in person
- Facilitation by Scrum Master or anyone else: If the environment is very chaotic or in a multi-geography or multi-cultural environment, it would be better if an official facilitator can be appointed to make sure Daily scrum becomes optimal.
- Scrum Master to be present if the team is immature: In the initial days when the Developers do not know how to make this event fruitful, the Scrum Master should be present to teach the team on how to conduct Daily Scrum
- Everyone Stands during Daily Scrum : This is another format which people use to keep the Daily Scrum short. All the team members stand up and talk so that it keeps reminding them that they need to go back to work quickly.