How do I run a Daily Scrum?

The Daily Scrum (also referred to as the “Stand-up”) is one of five events in Scrum. Many people use this event to provide a status report to the Product Owner or Scrum Master, and even to stakeholders, but this event plays a more critical part in ensuring that the team continues to stay focussed on their goal and adapt their work so they improve their chance of achieving it.

Empiricism

Like every event in Scrum, the Daily Scrum is all about empiricism. Its purpose is for the team to inspect its progress toward the Sprint Goal and to adapt the Sprint Backlog so that its plan for achieving the goal is made transparent to everyone.

Who attends

This event is purely for the people doing the work – the agile team.

The governance of Scrum reinforces that the team should be self-organising and no one outside the team should be telling them how to create their Increment of work. As such, only the team meet during the Daily Scrum. If the event needs facilitating, then the Scrum Master attends. But if he does, be careful that the Daily Scrum doesn’t turn into a status report. 

What does the Daily Scrum involve?

The Daily Scrum is held every day of the Sprint. At it, the Team plans work for the next 24 hours. This optimises team collaboration and performance by inspecting the work since the last Daily Scrum and forecasting upcoming Sprint work. Importantly, it’s a good idea to hold the Daily Scrum at the same time and place each day to reduce complexity.

Does the Daily Scrum need to be held daily?

If the event isn’t held daily, empiricism suffers. The team loses the ability to inspect its progress and make necessary changes to their plan as reflected in the Sprint Backlog. Ultimately, not holding a Daily Scrum every day increases the risk that the Sprint Goal could be put in jeopardy. 

Better ways to run a Daily Scrum

The usual pattern for people to run a Daily Scrum is for each team member to answer three questions:

  • What did I do yesterday? 
  • What will I do today
  • Are there any impediments?

Unfortunately, this pattern quickly turns the event into a status report. When people are transparent and collaborating continuously, this form of the Daily Scrum seems to make the event irrelevant. Many people just hate the Daily Scrum as a result. Instead of turning the Daily Scrum into a report to Mum, try these actions instead:

  • Talk about the Sprint Goal. Is it still relevant?
  • Look at the burndown chart and see if you’re still on track or if you’re lagging behind where you should be.
  • Discuss whether anything happened yesterday that means the plan (as depicted by the Sprint Backlog) needs to change.
  • Discuss whether anyone needs help to get work done during the day or whether there’s any work that needs peer review.
  • Discuss whether anything is now “Done”.
  • Plan any specific collaboration activities, such as cross-functional pairing, pair programming, or mob programming.
  • Update any visual tools – such as task boards or the team Kanban.

If this takes only 5 minutes, then head back to work. 

Download the Daily Scrum Checklist

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