Evolve Beyond “The 3 Questions”

When new Scrum Teams are established, it is typical to guide developers through answering 3 questions for the Daily Scrum. These questions are as noted in the Scrum Guide.

1. What did I do yesterday that helped the development team meet the sprint goal?

2. What will I do today to help the development team meet the sprint goal?

3. Do I see any impediments that prevents me or the development team from meeting the sprint goal?

As teams mature, echoes of the 3 questions fade. A team full of purpose and energy collaborate to create an action plan for the next 24 hours in alignment with the sprint goal. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Over time, the purpose (and value) of the Daily Scrum can get lost making it something we must do instead of something we want to do. If you find yourself and/or your team in this situation, change it. Outlined below are some crispy rules (suggestions) to inspire such change and frame up the purpose a little more, hopefully optimizing outcomes.

Captain Long Beard’s 10 Daily Scrum Rules To Evolve (can also be leveraged for Scrum of Scrums):

1. Showcase the Scrum values and pillars!

2. Kill the robots! STOP answering 3 questions and start truly collaborating. Do not let 3 questions become your team’s curse. Be alive and build a 24-hour story together. (Elements of a story include a setting, characters, plot, conflict, theme and a solution)

3. Allow development teammates to inspect and adapt the plan by sharing (certainly not a conclusive listing):

a. Dependencies (things and people)/priority of sprint work

b. Risks

c. Pains, concerns, or improvement opportunities

d. Food allergies

e. Celebrations — who is/was awesomesauce?

f. How you are feeling

g. Expected interruptions

h. How do we want to hold each other accountable?

i. What and how will we do our work and for how long?

j. How does the work move us toward the goal, or not?

4. If you are dreading something, tell the team and why. Think beyond the term “impediment”. If it is going to suck to do something, then the whole team should know and be invested to assist.

5. If the development team is not looking at each other, are they truly engaged? If you are looking at the PO or anyone that is not on the development team — stop it…stop it now! Engage with your team, stay engaged and help engage your teammates. Make it awkward, start gazing into their baby blues.

6. If you do not know what each of your development teammates will be doing, how or for how long, ask. Be attentive to what is shared and to what is not. Except on Fridays, we all know it is a day to secretly binge watch Netflix.

7. OWN your 15 minutes! Take advantage of all 15 minutes to be fully transparent! After all, it is the only time set aside where your boss(es) cannot talk to you. Showcase your ability to self-organize around the work.

8. Start and/or end the scrum with some fun. Some teammates may only come to the daily scrum just for the improv or perhaps not so much.

9. Be on time and respect it. Contribute to the story and move on.

10. Experiment, Rinse, and Repeat the prior 9 rules…

Bonus Item for Event Observers:

1. Product Owners, bosses, support peoples and onlookers — respect their event. Understand the purpose and who it is for.

a. The development team values you. Let them invite you in.

b. Trust them! It is the development team’s plan — support and enable THEIR plan.

c. Please don’t take away their ability to fail and learn by inserting yourself.

d. They do not need you to be a time keeper or serve up reminders. They need you for greater things.

Be Better today than you were yesterday and evolve your Daily Scrum.

“Make it meaningful. Make it fun. Make it yours!”

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