14 common mistakes of the Daily Scrum and how to avoid them
Daily Standup? Standup Meeting? Daily Meeting? These are the names that people often call Daily Scrum. What if I tell you that none of them is correct?
Although the Daily Scrum is the simplest Scrum event, it is where we make the most mistakes. If we make a mistake by calling it like that, are we doing the daily correctly?
Let’s make the Daily Scrum productive.
Daily Scrum is a ceremony held by agile teams, it defines a daily cycle of work. The main mission is to serve as a synchronization mechanism among the members of the team to achieve the goal of the Sprint.
Keep in mind that Sprint begins with a Sprint Planning where we get a Sprint Goal that the Development Team will try to accomplish.
The meeting serves to keep everyone in sync about recent news, difficulties, advances in the project and also to do a day planning.
It is made standing, in place and time determined by the team, usually in front of the team’s task chart, and has a maximum duration of 15 minutes.
In the Daily Scrum, basically each team member should respond succinctly to 3 questions:
- What have I worked on since the last Daily Scrum?
- What will I work on for the next Daily Scrum?
- Is there any impediment to continuing the work?
Although it is a brief and seemingly simple meeting, it is common to find small mistakes that can compromise the health and purpose of the meeting.
So I selected 14 of them here.
Common Errors and Implications:
1. Daily Scrum every 3 days
If they do not occur every day, they can disrupt the communication inside the team. The absence of the daily meeting also impacts on planning because when the interval between meetings increases, the team starts to have larger work cycles, which means that the team has less visibility on the evolution of their work during the iteration.
2. Not being consciously prepared for the daily scrum
Being desperate to talk about your activities is also wrong. Even if it is something complex, it is recommended that a few minutes before the daily, you take a look at the board to remember, in order to be able to speak clearly and objectively to the team. If memory does not help, write it down.
Never do something like: “Today I … Let me remind … I made an update on … wait …”.
3. Meetings with long duration (more than 15 minutes)
It is a symptom that the team is not communicating enough for the rest of the day. They may cause the absence of meetings in the next few days, for, by the way, the team may get the false feeling that there are no new issues.
They also encourage the conversation to stop happening. In general, the daily starts standing up, but the participants will sit down as the conversation extends.
You need to focus and answer the 3 questions of the daily. Over time you will realize that 15 minutes is time to spare for a daily.
4. Perform daily scrum in a meeting room
It creates a conducive environment for the conversation to continue. This can make participants want to sit down.
The conversation should be done with practicality and objectivity, preferably in front of the task board, so the team can visualize what it has to do and update the picture.
The Daily Scrum is usually held in the workplace, or in the same building or location. The idea is that the team can start working immediately once the event is over.
5. Report to Scrum Master
There is a big misconception that the daily scrum is intended for the Scrum Master. This is far from true.
The role of a scrum master is to facilitate scrum procedures and to supervise the team implementing the Scrum process correctly.
Each member must inform the team what they have done and what they intend to do, as a tool to achieve the goal of the iteration.
If the meeting is always held in order to “report” or tell the news to the Scrum Master, the team is not self-manageable and does not have the autonomy to make its decisions.
What sometimes happens, is that one of these roles being present, members of the team, when speaking, end up going directly, making a kind of passage of status of their activities, step by step. This is not the goal of the daily.
In addition Scrum Master is not necessarily the team leader, their roles are not hierarchically superior to the rest of the team, so anyone who speaks on the daily should speak for everyone, on an equal basis.
6. 2-minute meeting
Sporadically, it is normal to have a very fast one, but if day after day the meeting lasts for very few minutes, it is only being done just to comply with the protocol and is probably not adding value to it.
7. Giving solutions explanations during the daily
If matters go down to a very low level of technical detail, it probably will not be interesting or useful to everyone. You can just say, “This can be solved with the following technique and I can help you.”
At the end of the meeting these explanations can be passed individually.
Sometimes the Scrum Master begins giving instructions to team members, or begins planning how team members should perform a particular development activity.
Scrum defend self-management and self-organization. Team members must carry out their responsibilities and collaborate to resolve problems related to the process.
The Scrum Master should not attempt to administer the team’s micro-activity.
8. Non-default time
It is interesting that the team defines the exact time, for example, at 8:30am, so everyone organizes to be available.
When combined with an approximate time, such as in the morning or after lunch, it is difficult to find a time when everyone is free to make the meeting. In this case the meeting is always procrastinated.
Often this postponement becomes a cancellation. The daily scrum schedule is “sacred” regardless of what you’re doing, stop.
From the point of view of each one, their activity is also important, so everyone must respect this agreement and every day, at the appointed time, stop to meet, or constantly there will be someone making the team wait to start the meeting.
Never say things like “Just a little bit, I’m going, I’m almost done with something here.”
9. Wait for the Scrum Master
The Scrum Master is the facilitator of the ceremony, but the daily scrum belongs to the team, so it’s everyone’s responsibility that it happens, not just a role.
A scrum master can be chosen for that daily, and follow up without having to delay.
10. Partial participation in the meeting
It should not be done in parallel with other activities, without focus on the meeting. This happens, for example, when someone says, “You can start the meeting, I’m kind of busy, anything I can say here from my place.”
Good manners for day-to-day meetings include arriving on time, not picking on the phone, not holding parallel conversations, and not interrupting the daily meeting of another team.
Many teams struggle with team members moving to the daily, often with 5 to 10 minutes late. This demonstrates the lack of personal discipline.
It’s wrong to interrupt the daily to respond to a message on the phone. Do not take your phone or note for the daily.
11. Do not respect who has the “gift of the word”
“Gift of the word” is any object, which we use to indicate who is speaking at the moment.
During the daily, for someone else to speak, you need to receive the “gift of the word” from whom you are speaking at the moment. This establishes rules for communication and allows everyone to have voice and time.
However, if you interrupt who has the “gift of the word” to speak “just a quick little thing”. You’re doing it wrong, mate! Wait your turn! It is a matter of common sense.
12. Talk about non-relevant issues
Talking about non-pertinent subjects on the daily basis can be harmful. No matter how small a comment is, like “Did you see the game yesterday?”. These kinds of issues can be left to another time.
It’s not good to also go around when you’re talking. The three key issues for the daily scrum are:
- What was done the day before?
- What do you propose to do today?
- Has the team faced any problems or impediments?
13. It is not a status meeting
One of the most common mistakes is to discuss the work done by the team during the previous day’s sprint – and also in detail.
The daily scrum has a time box for 15 minutes. If all team members reported their daily work on the daily, most of the time would be spent discussing team progress.
Scrum has the sprint review and sprint retrospective to look at how the team is performing and what it should do to improve.
The daily scrum should not be used as a meeting of status reports because the Scrum process can automatically detect development status through speed charts and what we call burn down charts.
When a technical problem is reported as a “impediment“ during the daily scrum, the Scrum Master should resolve the issue later and not while the daily is in progress.
The daily scrum should not be used to discuss technical issues – the team should do so later.
14. Not using a physical status wall
We all love electronic project management tools. They allow us to consolidate information and report on a portfolio of projects. But if a person is projecting the wall of virtual status from an electronic tool and arguing with the staff on a daily scrum, the other members often become an audience and just listen.
However, if you have a physical wall with task cards, team members move and update their physical boards during or before the stand-up, which leads to much more intense discussions and interactions. And this will lead to a better stand-up meeting.
Scrum is easy to understand, but difficult to implement. Teams that implement the Scrum process often make mistakes of how certain activities should be performed.
Difficulties with the practice of daily scrum can directly affect the delivery, making it difficult for the team to have a complete view of the evolution of their work.
In this article we have listed several mistakes made by teams that are migrating to an agile approach. Of course, no one likes to go wrong, but this is part of the learning process and continuous improvement.
Agility involves experimentation, questioning and initiative.
The daily scrum may be the best of all agile practices because it meets three criteria:
- It is easy to start using;
- It can often be used without other agile practices;
- Offers great value.
Has anyone ever fallen into any of these errors mentioned in the article?
I hope none of these mistakes are common to most teams migrating to Agile. Avoiding them will make teams more collaborative and more productive.
I hope I have helped by sharing the blog as well.
I want to thank everyone who helped me writing this article:
- Jaroslaw Lojko, who runs this blog: StudyScrumOnline.com. By the way, if you’re interested in Scrum, see also his online course … I recommend: Scrum For Beginners and Intermediate, Certification Tips.
- Angela Druckman
- Pauline Majer, who runs this blog: 10 simple steps to Agile project management with Scrum
- Tushar Jain, who wrote Agile Manifesto in English and runs this blog about Agile, Scrum, Kanban, Architecture, …
- Maik Seyfert, who wrote about Effective Daily Stand Up, and also the author of The Agile Manifesto Unfolds & The Scrum Guide Unfolds, you can also see about Lost Consultants
- Matthias Orgler. I also recomend you guys, to see his online course on udemy website: Avoid these 19 Pitfalls of the Daily Scrum
What are the other mistakes people make during the daily scrum? Add your comment below.