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Common Mistakes in the Daily Scrum

Common Mistakes in the Daily Scrum

Of all the Scrum meetings, the daily Scrum is the one I am most likely to see done out-and-out wrong. I think this stems from the fact that many people learned what to do in the daily Scrum, but never learned what a daily Scrum is supposed to produce.

The purpose of the daily Scrum is work coordination. It is a meeting for the team to figure out their work for the day. You could liken it to a huddle in football; a quick get-together where the team says:

  • “What did everyone get done yesterday?”
  • “What’s everybody doing today?”
  • “Does anybody need anything they don’t have?”

When I observe a daily Scrum, I am looking for who is doing the talking and who they are talking to. What I should see is the team doing the talking, and primarily to each other. What I usually see, however, is the team “reporting” to the ScrumMaster. In doing so, they basically turn that person into a project manager.

ScrumMasters are included in the daily Scrum primarily to listen for impediments. They can also facilitate, but you will find that a good self-managing team needs very little help doing their daily Scrum.

Product Owners should also be included in the daily Scrum. It is an important part of achieving transparency because, the sooner the Product Owner knows if things are not going as planned or there are blocking issues, the sooner she/he can do “expectation management” with the stakeholders.

Here is a little assignment for the ScrumMasters reading this: in your next daily Scrum, see if you can participate by saying only one sentence:

“Who wants to start?”

Then fade to the background. If your team is used to reporting to you, they may struggle a little bit in the beginning as they learn how to talk to each other. But they will eventually get the hang of it.

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