Our Daily Scrum Meeting.

I thought I would make a first attempt at writing about the experience that I have with Daily Scrum Meetings.  The company I work for has been practicing Scrum for over a year now.  We see the Daily Scrum meeting as an important part of the Scrum process.  The meeting, scheduled for all members of the team is time-boxed to 15 minutes.  The 3 important questions that each team member must answer are:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What did you do today?
  • What blocking issues (impediments) do you have?

From these 3 questions the Scrum Master and the Product Owner can ascertain how the team are progressing and if anything is blocking the team from reaching their sprint goal.

I inherited my role as Scrum Master of my team when the previous Scrum Master left his role in the company.  The team were already functioning as a well oiled unit, but were using the daily scrum meetings to show their progress on a story by story basis.  This seemed to please the Product Owner as it showed real progress with work being completed within the story. 

During the daily scum meetings that followed I found that this method encouraged one person to be the spokesperson for that story even if 2 or more people had been working on it.  The team member would explain the progress made on the story to the group, explaining what had been done, what they were going to do and what impediments they had.  I found that using this method meant that team members could realistically not say a word on their progress at a scrum meeting and leave all of the speaking to the person explaining progress.

This worried me.  Not only could team members avoid speaking at the scrum meeting but we could be overlooking some serious impediments that could block us from reaching our scrum goal.  

I decided to revert back to the 3 question method as I felt that this would benefit the team in the long run.  Each team member now has a role within the scrum meeting, stating what they did yesterday, what they are doing today and any blocking issues that they have.  I have found that the team have really reacted well to the change in method team members who before would have happily taken a back seat have become more confident in stating what they have done and what they are doing and we have uncovered more blocking issues earlier in the process than we would have before.

After reading this article by Mitch Lacey Fourwarned is forearmed, I decided to add a forth question to the daily scrum.  The forth question is “How likely are we to complete this story by the end of the iteration”.  We then mark the story cards with a green dot if we think we will be finished by the end of the iteration and a red dot if we think that we wont be finished.  This allows the team to cut past the surface issues that the scrum meeting produces, yes, we may be making good progress on completing tasks on the scrum wall, but will we be able to complete the story?  This question allows the team to state how confident they are on completing the tasks thus completing the story.  This allows us to plan our stakeholder demonstration meeting easier.  We will then use this information to choose which areas are suitable to demonstrate and which areas will be available for demonstration at next iterations demo.  This will theoretically prevent us from showing the stakeholders functionality that does not work and thus saving us from some heartache ( or headache, I’m not sure :D).

I sometimes think that some people take the 3 question rule for granted, but it is not until you start using it that you find it is an efficient tool for gauging progress from all team members and anything that will block your progress towards your scrum goal.

Published by The Daily Scrum

A CSP, CSM, CSPO who lives and works in Glasgow, UK.

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