How To: Daily Scrum

Common Misunderstanding

The Daily Scrum is the event that is most often falsely equated to Scrum itself.  For instance, you may frequently hear of teams that claim to be using Scrum, however you fail to see them using anything from Scrum outside of the Daily Scrum (or Daily Standup as it is also known).  This is very common, and a gross misunderstanding of Scrum.

Who is Present at the Daily Scrum?

A proper Daily Scrum, at minimum, should have all Development Team members present.  This does not mean that the Scrum Master and Product Owner are excluded.  The Development Team may choose to invite the Scrum Master and/or the Product Owner to the Daily Scrum, but they should understand that this meeting is ‘owned’ by the Development Team.  They can also invite, or allow, anyone they choose to be present for the Daily Scrum, but only Development Team members should speak.  All others must wait until the meeting is over.

Meeting’s Significance

The Daily Scrum is the Development Team’s opportunity to plan the next 24 hours.  The Scrum Team planned the Sprint during Sprint Planning – the What and the How for achieving the Sprint Goal.  But, they need to continue to sync up each day, so they know they’re on track to meet the Sprint Goal by the end of the Sprint.

How the Daily Scrum is conducted

Daily Scrums are quite easy to conduct.  Each Development Team member has the opportunity and responsibility to update the rest of the team on what he/she has done since the last Daily Scrum, and what they plan on doing until the next Daily Scrum.  The team’s updates may actually change the predicted course of the next 24 hours for a team member that already gave an update.  In this case, that team member should give a subsequent update.

The Daily Scrum is also an excellent opportunity for team members to ask for help on problems they’ve encountered.  Anything that slows the team down is called an Impediment.  The Development team should try to help their own team members first, but if they are not able to fix the impediment, the Scrum Master should be called upon to help.

Where and When?

The Daily Scrum should be held at the same time and place for every workday of the Sprint.  Often teams will decide to hold the Daily Scrum in the morning, at a time when all team members will have arrived to work.  Other teams have elected to hold the meeting at lunchtime, or later in the afternoon.  The timing of the meeting should be agreed upon by the Development team – whatever suits them best. If a single team member is continually late for the meeting, or needs to leave early, or is predictably absent, the timing of the meeting may not be ideal.

More Misunderstandings

  • The Scrum Master facilitates it.  This is not necessarily true.  The Scrum Master can be invited, but should remain silent.  If the Scrum Master is silent, they cannot facilitate the meeting.
  • The updates should be made to the Scrum Master.  Not true.  The updates are made to the members of the Development Team.  This is so the Development Team, as a whole, can plan out who should do what during the day.
  • The Scrum Master should take all impediments on as their responsibility.  Not entirely true.  The Scrum Master is responsible for making sure impediments are solved, but the Development Team should make a concerted effort to do this before involving the Scrum Master.
  • The team should strictly adhere to the ‘3 Questions’.  Some teams do, and some don’t.  As long as the team gets a good update on each person’s work, and they understand the impediments the team is encountering, the ‘3 Questions’ may not be needed.
  • The Daily Scrum is the event where the Scrum Master (or Product Owner) assigns the work for the day to the Development Team members.  Completely and utterly false!  The Development Team decides, together, what to do next, and who should do what.  No one assigns work to anyone else in Scrum.