How to Help Your Team to Run Effective Daily Scrums

As we all know, Daily Scrums are one of the most important communication areas towards sprint goal check and sprint progress. But if your Scrum Team thinks that it is useless or if they are conducting it in an inefficient way, it means something goes wrong and it is time to support them to increase efficiency!

In my opinion, it is a good practice to clarify the questions written below by providing them a suitable environment to discuss;

  • What outcomes do we want to get from our dailies in our Sprint cycle? There should be a well-explained benefit.
  • Why the time-box is important? What is the idea behind that?
  • What is the difference between Daily Meeting and Daily Scrum?
  • What are the alternative methods that the team can try during dailies to increase efficiency? It is a good practice to show them (like Round Robin, walking the board) and developers can pick the most favourable one or they can create a new one to try.

It is possible to arrange a small workshop within this scope. Remember that if you come to an agreement together, then it is more valuable and more acceptable to try together.

The concept of this workshop may be prepared regarding these questions and Team’s pain points of course. I can give some suggestions for the agenda;

  • You may give some information about Daily Scrum. You may compare Daily Scrum with Daily Meeting/Status Meeting. Emphasizing that Daily Scrum is NOT a status update meeting may be useful.
  • The idea behind time-box should be well-explained. It is not just a rule for rule, it is about gaining self-discipline without missing the concept that we agreed on. Because as the time exceeds, the focus gets lost and you will begin to miss some important parts OR if some of the team members have another meeting after Daily Scrum, they will miss the extended part. But it doesn’t mean you cannot stay in the meeting after Daily Scrum, of course we can stay and chat or continue talking about technical problems with related people etc. Creating awareness on that kind of possibilities instead of emphasizing time-box pressure will probably work.
  • Team members sometimes find this ritual so strict. At this point, you may show this sentence from the Daily Scrum Section of Scrum Guide (2020);

“The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, as long as their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal and produces an actionable plan for the next day of work.”

So they should feel free to choose their own way to get higher efficiency. You may also show the alternative methods that you found from literature; it will be evocatory to listen new practices and they may enhance a new method inspired from existing ones.

  • After explanation and brainstorming, you can collect their ideas on post-its as “Keep and start doing” and “Stop doing”, then you may discuss about the items one by one and get the Team’s Own Daily Scrum Rules in the final :) But you should remind that as we all know Scrum is based on empiricism and the rule list is organic. If one method the team chose didn’t work, then remove it and try a new one!

To sum up, if you observe dysfunctions in your Daily Scrums, you should create suitable environment to the team to make them feel free to express their opinions. Giving some information about Daily Scrum (that I mentioned above) is a good point to start with. Then, you can help them to visualize the rules and come to an agreement together.

Remember that; “Scrum is based on empiricism, please do not be scared of trying new things, if the things that you tried didn’t work, then remove it. It is better then being stuck on useless habits and you would never know unless you experienced.”

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