March 24 , 2021 | BY Qasim Aaron, CSM, SSM
Daily Scrum is from the point in which, in agile teams acts as a point of transparency. What do I mean by transparency?
Well, entire agile principles are built upon the idea that you don't know really what you're building until you're in the trenches building it.
Because the only constant that we truly know is change. Change is inevitable and change is happening all the time. So, going back to the core pillars [adaptation, inspection, transparency], change means that we have to be able to adapt.
And the only way to adapt is in order to inspect and the only way to inspect something, meaning, being able to observe and see what's really going on under the hood would mean that you have to be very transparent about everything.
I mean, just going back to that car analogy. You won't be able to know what's under the hood unless you lift it up to see, or if the entire car was made out of some glass or clear transparent material, point here being that as a team delivering something complicated, and as ever evolving.
You need to somehow be able to know that you're on the right track, and check-in amongst ourselves to be adaptive of change via inspecting how we're doing.
You wont know what's under the hood unless you lift it up
And the only way to do that is to really be transparent and open.
And that really is the point of then Daily Scrum. Which is, you could say the heartbeat of the scrum framework.
It allows a point of transparency for the team to come together and discuss, deliberate, question or even argue. The point being that they are together talking for a brief amount of time about the status of the project or initiative of the sprint and how it is proceeding.
Nowadays Daily Scrum has a standard way running.
Daily Scrum has a usual format to follow that many teams use. And this format relies on three questions.
What did I do yesterday?
What am I doing today?
Is there anything blocking my progress or impeding my progress [Team members].
These three questions, create a foundation of daily Scrum conversation. And the idea being, if every team member can at a high level discuss these items, then you should be able to get a picture on the outstanding items and status of the sprint at a team level.
Now, notice if asked these three questions the meeting can be relatively quick. That's the whole point.
Daily Scrum is not meant to be an entire 30 minute, or hour meeting. It really is meant to be a quick, very clear to the point discussion. So you want everything to be time boxed - as everything in the Scrum framework is. The daily Scrum time box, per the scrum guide is 15 minutes, at the same place, the same time, the same people, to build the consistency that eventually over time develops change, and quality.
So daily Scrum then isn't something to just pass off on or to miss because you don't see value in the meeting. Something very common in waterfall or non agile cultures, because they're similar to status meetings.
And in many ways, the reality is that sometimes the actual process can become like a status meeting! When this happens the essence of the scrum framework can be in danger. What happens is the three questions rotate amongst the team which become a monotonous routine because the same style of conversation emerges.
Just answer the Daily Scrum questions and that's it - You're off the hook. However, it doesn't necessarily work that way because if you understand scrum, you realize you don't have to actually follow that format.
A lot of times when I'm running my daily Scrum. I would actually want the team to discuss important items, regardless of the ‘roundtable’ three question format that is usually prescribed, meaning I'd rather the team, talk about impediments blackout issues, if people are feeling stuck or even culture issues, because that is their time to come together like a huddle and hash these things out.
I don't see the point of following a very strict format of asking these few questions, which is where I think a lot of teams, perhaps struggle to build a team, intimacy, or even productivity. Because just like I said earlier, it becomes very monotonous.
This applies to everything in Agile within a degree of course.
I always aim to have fun with it, change it up make it refreshing for the team. How can you make the event more effective and even ask the team how they can make you become more beneficial to them.
End of the day you're serving them.
Never forget this is their [Team] meeting...
And never forget this is their [team] meeting, so they can really run it the way they want, as long as they're hitting the point of a transparency where they can touch base and understand where they're all in the progression of the sprint.
And for the most part if the conversation does go sideways. It's always a good reminder that as a facilitator to make sure you bring it back on track. And that can be usually to keep it within the interest of the timeframe [15min].
Timeboxing really does help so that you don't have time to discuss irrelevant items and using terms I would recommend like ‘taking it offline’ is a gentle way to bring focus to the discussion.
Facilitating also means that you bring a culture of respect to anyone in the team and make sure everyone has a fair and equal amount to say, and contribute to the team, but also means then that you are allowing team members to step up to the plate and share what they want.
In order to bring progression to the sprint. A good grounding point for Daily scrum is to always center around the sprint goal.
End of the day - the team is delivering on a sprint goal, and hence all the discussion should be around how they're going to be achieving that goal.
So there you have it in a nutshell, the value of daily Scrum in how it impacts the overall agile values and impact to a team as well as the importance and ways in which you can host a Daily Scrum.
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