Effective ways of conducting Daily Scrum

Effective ways of conducting Daily Scrum

Daily Scrum is NOT a Status update meeting. It is NOT a Problem-solving meeting. The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.

In earlier version of Scrum Guide, i.e., before Nov 2020, the Daily Scrum was conducted using 3 questions- What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? Any impediments? With Scrum Guide 2020, these 3 questions are dropped and its left for the Scrum Team to figure out their own technique to conduct daily Scrum. Let us see some other questions that can be useful to conduct dailies effectively as Scrum Master:

What can be done today?

This may seem very simple question, but it is a powerful one. It stems from the lean mindset of “Stop Starting and Start Finishing”. Instead of checking on what team members are going to start, you can check what is that they are going to complete today. Though it is a simple shift in question, it will change the way we think and approach our work

Are you working on something that is not part of your Sprint backlog?

Many times, it is observed and realised that developers work on ad hoc requests silently without informing other members of team. That ad hoc request is something that is not part your sprint backlog. It is not part of Sprint backlog because it was never discussed with any team member earlier. Bring up such things in daily scrum. Daily Scrum is the first opportunity to discuss these things.

Ask questions such as who asked the developer to work on it? Was it discussed with other team members? Does that ad hoc request align to Sprint goal? Such questions will help team member highlight all such things that they are working on silently. It ensures transparency within the team.

How are they placed in terms of workload or capacity?

It is a good practice to check with team members how are they placed in terms of workload or capacity. It creates an environment where team members feel that someone acknowledges their efforts and are valued. It is also to check if there is capacity or bandwidth for them to pick up or pull additional work. This stems from flow system which talks about pulling work rather than pushing the work

Are you aware of priority of work?

This question is very important one to check so that team members do not sit with something that does not require immediate attention. Even though it is within the sprint, it is a good practice to teach developers to pick up work based on the sequence of priority or dependencies. Since it is a complex domain, there could be a possibility that there are many moving pieces within and outside teams. Plan work based on the priority. It again comes from the lean mindset of eliminating waste.

Is any of your work item blocked?

Though we talk about impediments and blockers in general in the daily scrum, it is a good idea to ask developers if any of the work item is dependent on some other and if it is blocked. Encourage them not to sit with it till dependency is resolved and focus on something else. This approach touch bases on flow and lean concepts.

Is it possible to seek early feedback with the Product Owner?

The whole idea behind team working towards Sprint goal is to seek feedback and validation from Product Owner and the stakeholder. This point is something we as Scrum masters must remind developers often. Check with team how soon can they seek early feedback with the Product Owner. Did they finish any work item and is it possible to seek feedback at the earliest?

These are some of the questions which you can use interchangeably as needed and applicable for facilitating or conducting Daily Scrum. These questions may help you turn boring, rudimentary status meeting kind of a daily scrum to more effective, focused, and valuable daily Scrum. Remember that daily scrum when conducted effectively, it will eliminate the need for many other connects. Having said that, Daily Scrum should not be considered as only opportunity where team should meet. Developers should meet and collaborate throughout the day as and when required.

-Ramya Shastri and Vivek Kuntoji


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