TLDR: those who want to maximize the chance of achieving Sprint Goal, read the section My technique of Daily Standup and the quote immediately above it.
Firstly, for die-hard Scrum practitioner, per ScrumGuide, this event is officially known as Daily Scrum. However, in this article, I will refer to this as Daily Standup as I want to address this event individually, both inside and outside Scrum framework.
From my experiences, Daily Standup is the most misunderstood, or even abused, event in Scrum. “Are you using Scrum or other Agile frameworks? Oh yeah, we have daily standup” 🤦♀️ (bonus point, the second most facepalm answer is “Oh yeah, we use Jira”)
For those who are not using Agile, or Agile-in-name-only, they love Daily Standup because it is a tool for controlling the “team” which is not working towards the same goal, or, even across different teams (and of course working on different goals). They see this event as an opportunity to get daily report from those whom they do not work closely with, but still interact and/or supervise. Of course, the questions are “What did you do yesterday? What will you do today?” (and some team remember to ask the 3rd question “What difficulties do you have?”). I have no objections against this use, except if people involved feel it is too much micromanagement and might suggest reducing the frequency to weekly instead.
What I have a problem with, is with teams who want to mature using Scrum frameworks, but keep using the old format of “3 questions” in the Daily Standup:
- What did I do yesterday?
- What will I do today?
- Do I see any impediment?
It is even featured in “Agile Subway Map”
Do you, the audience, see what are missing in those “3 questions”?
2 things, “Team” and “Goal”. Here is the quote from ScrumGuide (current version, November 2017)
- What did I do yesterday that helped the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
- What will I do today to help the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
- Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the Development Team from meeting the Sprint Goal?
Even more disturbing, practitioners forget the reason of this event (“optimizes the probability that the Development Team will meet the Sprint Goal”) and shift the focus to managing and reported (“who does what”). After guiding a team to a more appropriate format of Daily Scrum (see below), I received this feedback
In the old format, turn by turn, those who got the token is under pressure to report that s/he did something and will do something, or face the critics of being a free-rider. Basically, they want to be busy, but not necessarily productive, and that sometimes leads to failed Sprint Goal.
My technique of Daily Standup
Firstly, Daily Standup is a review and planning, not a reporting event. It is an opportunity to plan or re-plan the work to maximize the chance to achieve Sprint Goal.
- Always start the Daily Standup with “What is our (Sprint) Goal?”
- Shift the main topic from people to work. Instead of going through each team member one-by-one, going through the “work” (SBIs, tickets, sub-tasks, issues, whatever you call them) one-by-one.
a. What was done to this SBI since the last Daily Scrum?
b. What will be done to this SBI after this Daily Scrum?
c. Is there any impediment that prevents this SBI from being completed?
- Remote text-based Daily Standup hardly works, because, again, we are no longer doing “reporting”, but having a dialogue of planning and re-planning.
- What is our Sprint Goal?
- People can reply to a Slack message in thread.
- Ok, how’s it going with DB schema?
- Completed, so John you can start on the BE side, while I and Anna will work on migration script
- Oh, if you’re about to start on BE side, then let’s define the GraphQL schema for this first
- Wait, my FE build is broken, have no idea, can you guys help me after this standup?
- Ok, about this ticket?
- It failed one of the acceptance criteria, so we need to rework on that.
- Remember to bring this problem to the retro(spective) as well, we don’t want to keep failing ACs!
- Alright, so do you guys thing we can get started with any tickets that is open (not started yet)?
- Yeah, think so! / Nah, I think we should focus on getting these tickets “done” first!
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