Daily Scrum Meetings: Purpose, participants, and guidance

Daily Scrum Meetings: Purpose, participants, and guidance

What is a daily scrum meeting in agile?

We know that agile teams use scrum to organize their process. Teams use the daily scrum to help keep their sprints focused and on target. In scrum, every day during a sprint the software development team holds a short meeting. We call this meeting the daily scrum. The development team holds the meeting in the same location at the same time of day. Mornings work best. Teams should time-box their daily scrum to no more than 15 minutes. The time-box keeps the daily scrum on-topic and focused.

Read on other types of the meetings in Agile meetings: Types, goals, and benefits article.

Every member of the team should attend the daily scrum. The scrum master, product owner, developers, and designers. People outside the team may attend the meeting, but only as observers. People from outside the team do not act as active participants. In each daily scrum the team members answer three questions:

  1. What tasks did you complete yesterday?
  2. What tasks will you work on today?
  3. Do you foresee any roadblocks or issues that might slow you down?

The daily scrum meeting should help members of the team focus on common goals. It should also help them to commit to what they intend to accomplish. The team usually has the daily scrum meeting while standing. The standing part is important. Teams who are standing have more focus and energy. A person who sits down will not feel the same sense of urgency, which could make the meeting drag on longer than necessary.

Software development teams use the daily scrum to accomplish several goals:

  • Adapt sprint backlog and daily plans to the current situation
  • Track progress
  • Improve team collaboration and participation
  • Identify roadblocks and impediments
  • Synchronize the team member’s efforts for maximum impact

So why do we make time for a daily scrum meeting? 

Teams engage in daily scrum meetings to communicate. Each day the team updates the other members on the current status of their work and progress. The team members have a chance to explain what obstacles they are facing as well as ask for help. Daily scrum meetings help teams to focus on their work and understand their part of the sprint. Teams don’t have to send lengthy summary emails or long reports. Instead, they verbally update each other in real-time.

According to scrum.org,  “The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.

The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum team. To reduce complexity, it is held at the same time and place every working day of the Sprint. If the Product Owner or Scrum Master are actively working on items in the Sprint Backlog, they participate as Developers.”

The daily scrum asks teams to highlight:

  • What each member accomplished the day before
  • What they will accomplish today
  • what they plan for the day after

This helps the team to understand the amount of work completed and the work that remains. The daily scrum meeting is the opposite of a status update meeting, where a boss asks for information about who is on or behind schedule. Instead, the daily scrum meeting has no hierarchy. Each team member commits to helping the sprint to the best of their abilities. The scrum master schedules and guides the meeting, but the scrum team arrives at the meeting on equal footing.

Daily scrum meetings ask teams to experiment and remain motivated. The daily scrum works best when the team members keep their comments brief. The daily scrum should not turn into a problem-solving session. Instead, team members who face obstacles should inform the scrum master, who will aim to remove the obstacles as quickly as possible.

Some brief guidelines for scrum meetings:

  • Teams should hold daily scrum meetings at fixed times and locations
  • All members should attend.
  •  The team should attend the daily scrum as a force of habit. The habit will reinforce easy communication between team members.
  • Teams should actually stand. Standing forces the members to think with speed and efficiency.
  • Each team member explains their progress in a concise manner.
  • The scrum master facilitates the meeting but doesn’t boss. The meeting should happen without hierarchy.
  • One team member at a time speaks, nobody should interrupt them except with relevant questions.
  • Each team member speaks only once.
  • Teams can incorporate sprint boards and user stories into the daily scrum meeting.

Developers use the daily scrum meeting to gauge their progress toward the sprint goal. They also analyze their progress with the sprint backlog. The daily scrum helps the team to accomplish their goals. Each daily scrum should help the whole team communicate and self-organize.

The software development team uses the daily scrum to view their progress toward the sprint goal. They analyze their backlog and the work trends. These meetings help teams to understand challenges and end goals. Team members will sometimes meet separately after the daily scrum to discuss details and adaptations.

Daily scrum meetings facilitate effective communication within scrum teams. The daily scrum helps teams to share common goals. Daily scrum also eliminates other longer meetings. Daily scrum meetings help teams to identify impediments and obstacles. Teams that attend daily scrum meetings make thoughtful decisions more quickly and share knowledge in a more fluid manner. Here at Blocshop, we harness all the benefits of the daily scrum to deliver our projects on time and under budget. If you want to learn more about how we help companies achieve their goals using scrum, please do get in touch!

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