Daily Meetings VS Daily Reports

What would you do if your meeting turned out to be a tedious report?

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Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

One of the most important ceremonies for a Scrum team is Daily Scrum. You’re probably already aware of how it works, and know by heart the three questions every team member is supposed to answer during the short meeting:

* What I did yesterday
* What I will do today
* What’s blocking me from finishing my work

Although it doesn’t seem like it, it’s easy to get lost. Say… what would you do if your Daily Meeting becomes a report?

Daily Reports

As a team member, ask yourself: Do you really remember the things your colleagues mentioned during the meeting? As a Product Owner or Stakeholder: Are the team members talking directly to you during the meeting, instead of talking to each other?

This kind of situation happens more frequently than one would think.

There is a number of reasons that can turn a Daily Meeting into a report, and they vary from the moment the team is going through to the way Product Owners or Stakeholders position themselves or hold developers to their work — even unintentionally.

The idea of answering the aforementioned questions can easily lead your Daily Meeting to becoming a report of what was done, and a promise of what will be delivered until the end of the day. Even in cases there is no demanding, the developer may feel bad reporting he is still doing the same complex task while other people talk more, appearing to be more productive.

My Daily is a Report. What should I do?

Fear not. If you have identified you have a problem, you already took the first step towards the solution.

The idea of a Daily Meeting is that the team can spare a few minutes to think and self-organize to best assess the challenge or situation of the current day. That said, it is important that the team itself is encouraged to think, on a daily basis, about in what ways they can organize themselves to tackle stories and subtasks which have been proposed during Planning.

This takes us to looking at the meeting in a different manner. The fact of encouraging the team to think strategically every day makes the will to solve problems arise, instead of the boredom of listening to each and every person report what is going on.

A strategical Daily Meeting

Try rising a single question during the Daily Meeting:

- In what ways can we organize ourselves to make the burndown chart go down today?

For those of you who do not use a burndown chart (even though I strongly recommend that you do), you could rephrase the question. In what ways can we do it so that we close some of those open tasks today? In what ways can we deliver value today? It’s all up to the reality each team is going through, really.

The main objective is that you ensure the team is always encouraged to plan things themselves. For more easygoing teams, it is really pretty simple: just stir them by making the question and leaving them to think. Some more introspective teams may need a bit more trial-and-error and gain more trust in themselves before they roll this way. That is all perfectly normal.

Always remember…

A Daily Meeting should not be a report, but a means the team will use to self organize each passing day. It is natural that eventually the focus becomes two or three team members who are acting in a particularly important task. This does not mean the other members are not working. Letting the team plan the day and decide how to better tackle stuff will make problems appear naturally and be solved every time, not to mention creating trust among team members and in themselves.

In case anyone forgets, it is always good to remind:

- Does anyone need help or have anything blocking their work?

Have a nice Sprint, everyone!

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