5 Things You Need to Stop Doing With Your Daily Scrum

The Daily Scrum is one of the most common practices that new teams begin to learn how to apply the Scrum framework. Although it appears to be a very simple meeting, I have observed many mistakes being made that take away from the purpose of this key event. I thought it might be a good idea to share some of those less-than-optimal behaviors to help new teams understand why certain practices are not beneficial to the team. Here are a few tips for you to consider.

  1. Ask for a status – This may be the most common mistake new Scrum teams make – treat the Daily Scrum as a status meeting. The simple act of asking each team member to provide a “status” defeats the purpose of this key event which is designed for the team to collaborate and identify issues. “Statusing” during the Daily Scrum creates artificial silos that impede collaboration amongst team members since each individual is only thinking about his/her own tasks.
  2. Expect the Scrum Master to “run the meeting” – The Daily Scrum is designed for the developers (or the people doing the work) to collaborate. However, most teams that I have worked with seem to expect the Scrum Master to hold their hands which is entirely unnecessary. The team should learn to work together towards a common goal without having someone to watch over them which adds no value and also impedes self-management.
  3. Discuss problems in detail – The Daily Scrum is designed for maximum efficiency, which is why it is timeboxed at 15 minutes. There is no time to have a detailed problem-solving or technical discussion about specific issues; the team needs to learn to put those issues aside temporarily and focus on identifying team impediments.
  4. Ask questions not relevant to the current sprint – It is very easy to get sidetracked during the Daily Scrum especially when there is so much to do and the stakes are high. Sooner or later, a team member will lose focus and bring up issues related to a future sprint or some other topic that is irrelevant. The team must learn to deflect those discussions and focus on the main priority, which is to meet the sprint goal.
  5. Assume everyone knows who to go to for help – Sometimes new teams that have less experienced team members need special attention and support to ensure they are operating at their highest level. Do not always assume they will bring up issues when they are stuck; take extra care to assist new team members to ensure they know who to work with to resolve their issues or concerns ASAP.

If your team appears to be following one of these, try to suggest alternatives to these practices by explaining the purpose and the value. Do not take things personally if they do not “see the light” immediately. Sometimes it takes a few tries for teams to see why their choices are not the best. And sometimes it takes a bit more time to accept that what they are doing is helping the team, but actually impeding the team to make progress. If you see that the team is falling into more than one of these traps, it may make sense to suggest an experiment at the Retrospective and see if the team is willing to try something different. Change is hard, so don’t assume that they will be as excited as you are to continuously change how they work. Ultimately, it is up to the team to make a commitment to improve and take ownership of adopting a growth mindset.

The Role of The Scrum Master: ICP Fundamentals Certification

Register Now!
Eugene Lai
Eugene Lai