The daily scrum meeting – A great team introduction to agile

by Leigh Espy
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Daily scrum meetings are necessary for a successful Agile approach. You’ve likely been hearing more these days about teams using Agile to deliver solutions. It’s becoming more popular, and you wonder if you’re missing the benefits. Using an Agile approach helps teams deliver value faster. The approach also increases transparency and accountability within project teams. Find out more about daily scrum meetings and how a Scrum Master’s use of an introduction to Agile helps teams deliver project value faster. 

But perhaps your organization isn’t ready to make a full switch to and Agile approach. While other people are learning about Agile and getting the benefits, you’re still wondering if it’s right for you. Even if your project team is following a waterfall methodology or some variation, you may wish to try an introduction to Agile practices.

The daily scrum meeting

An easy practice to try with your development team is the daily Scrum meeting. The daily Scrum is also called the daily stand-up. It’s called this because participants usually stand to remind them to keep the meeting short and focused. The Scrum meeting usually led by a Scrum Master with the meeting lasting for fifteen minutes or less.

The goal of the daily Scrum meeting is to foster communication between team members. It’s not meant to be a status meeting. Rather, it’s an opportunity for team members to share what they’re working on and if they have challenges or roadblocks that need to be addressed quickly. This allows the team to offer support and keep the work moving forward. The Scrum team is usually made up of 7-10 people. If you get larger numbers, it gets harder to manage and stay focused.

How to do it (Tip: Leverage the introduction of Agile)

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During the Scrum meeting, each person answers these three questions:

  1. What did you work on yesterday?
  2. What will you work on today?
  3. Do you have any impediments?

If managers attend, it’s as silent observers only. The Scrum Master usually leads the daily Scrum meeting, but a project manager could do this for a team not practicing formal Agile (although at least an introduction to Agile would be best).

Scrum meetings are often held face-to-face, but if part of your team works remotely, you can hold the meeting with everyone calling in. It levels the playing field for all. If you’ve got everyone in a room with one or two people calling in, it’s difficult for those on the phone to hear and be as much a part of the conversation. But try variations and see what works best for your team. If possible, it’s usually best to hold these meetings in the morning. That way each, person can state what they’ll be working on for the day and be accountable to the team to get it done.

Early challenges

The biggest challenge when Scrum Masters start will be to keep everyone focused on answering the three questions and moving on.

Make it a group effort to hold larger discussions after the meeting. Keep a “Post-meeting discussion” list, so team members know what needs to be held as after-meeting discussion items. That way, they’ll be more comfortable holding topics until after each person has answered the three questions.

You’ll find that with experience, and your team will get better at it. Communication will flow more efficiently, roadblocks can be handled quicker, and your development team will see the benefits of transparency and supporting one another via this practice.

FAQ’s

Q: What is a daily scrum meeting?

A: A daily scrum meeting, also known as a daily stand-up, is a short, time-boxed meeting that is part of the Agile framework. It is typically held every day and involves team members providing updates on what they worked on the previous day, what they plan to work on that day, and if they have any impediments or challenges that need to be addressed.

Q: What is the purpose of a daily scrum meeting?

A: A daily scrum meeting aims to foster communication, transparency, and accountability among team members. It is not meant to be a status meeting but rather an opportunity for team members to share information, identify and address any roadblocks or challenges, and coordinate their work to keep the project moving forward.

Q: How long does a daily scrum meeting typically last?

A: A daily scrum meeting usually lasts for 15 minutes or less. It is intentionally kept short to encourage focused and efficient communication among team members.

Q: Who usually leads a daily scrum meeting?

A: The Scrum Master, who is a role in the Agile framework responsible for facilitating the Scrum process, usually leads the daily Scrum meeting. However, if a team is not practicing formal Agile, a project manager or another designated team member can lead the meeting.

Q: How many people should be in a daily scrum meeting?

A: The ideal size for a Scrum team is typically 7-10 people. If the team is larger, it can become harder to manage and stay focused during the meeting.

Q: Can a daily scrum meeting be held remotely?

A: Yes, a daily scrum meeting can be held remotely if part of the team works remotely. Participants can call in or use virtual meeting tools to join the meeting in such cases. However, it’s important to ensure that all team members can actively participate and engage in the conversation, regardless of their location.

Q: What are some challenges of implementing a daily scrum meeting?

A: Some challenges of implementing a daily scrum meeting can include keeping everyone focused on answering the three questions, avoiding discussions that should be held after the meeting, and ensuring that all team members actively participate. However, with experience, the team can improve their communication and collaboration skills, making the daily scrum meeting more effective.

Q: Can daily scrum meetings be held at any time of the day?

A: While daily scrum meetings can be held at any time of the day, holding them in the morning is usually recommended. This allows team members to plan their day and be accountable to the team for their work during the rest of the day. However, the timing can be adjusted based on the team’s preferences and availability.

Q: Can teams benefit from Agile practices even if they are not fully transitioning to Agile?

A: Yes, teams can still benefit from the introduction to Agile practices, such as the daily scrum meeting, even if they are not fully transitioning to Agile. Agile practices can be adopted incrementally and tailored to suit the team’s needs and context. They can help improve communication, transparency, and accountability, leading to more efficient and effective teamwork.

Q: Can managers attend daily scrum meetings?

A: Yes, managers can attend daily scrum meetings, but their role is usually that of silent observers. They should not interrupt or direct the conversation during the meeting, as it is meant for team members to share updates and collaborate. However, managers can use the information shared during the daily scrum meeting to support the team in addressing challenges and removing obstacles outside of the meeting if needed.

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