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Purpose Of The Daily Scrum Meeting

By David Hawks | Jan 06, 2011 |  Agile,  Article,  Scrum,  ScrumMaster,  Team

The Daily Scrum Meeting is for the TEAM to self-organize towards achieving their Sprint commitment.

Objectives

  • Team Sync – The daily scrum is for the team to review progress toward their Sprint goal
  • Assess Risks – The team assesses any risks to their Sprint commitment
  • Adjust Plan – The team makes adjustments to their plan to meet the sprint commitment
  • Full Team – It is important for all team members to attend
  • Team Goal – Everyone needs to approach the Sprint as a team goal, not a set of individual goals
  • Team Ownership – Each team member should own and share responsibility of the full sprint backlog
  • Accountability – The team should hold each other accountable for achieving their daily commitments

Myths

Myth Correct Action
The meeting is a status meeting for management (or the ScrumMaster) The ScrumMaster purely serves as a facilitator on behalf of the team. Status to folks outside the team can be a secondary benefit, but it is not the primary purpose.
You only have to attend the daily scrum if you accomplished something towards the Sprint goal As a team member, it is still important for you to engage in what the rest of the team is doing. It is also important for the rest of the team to understand why you are struggling to make progress.
It is the ScrumMaster’s responsibility to monitor and adjust the plan It is up to the team to own the plan and make any needed changes
Everyone provides status to the ScrumMaster The team should provide status to each other
No one pays attention to each other’s status (focusing on individual goals) The team should focus on the team goal
Only the ScrumMaster identifies risks and mitigations The whole team has responsibility for identifying risks and developing mitigation strategies

Tools

A swiss army knife - tools of the daily scrum

  • Sprint Backlog – Allows the team to have visibility into all of the tasks remaining to achieve their sprint commitment
  • Sprint Burndown Chart – Allows the team to quantify the amount of work remaining and if the team is on track

Key Metrics

  • How many days are left in the Sprint? — This reinforces the urgency of a looming deadline
  • How many points have been signed off by the Product Owner? — This reinforces that it only matters if we complete stories (not just getting to code complete)
  • How many hours are remaining compared to our target plan? — This provides a view of how the team is progressing, most easily represented in a Sprint Burndown Chart.

If you’re trying daily Scrums for the first time on your way to adopting Agile, we recommend our white paper, 8 Common Pitfalls to An Agile Transformation to prevent bumps on your Path to Agility®.

Related Articles:

https://agilesoftwaredevelopment.com/blog/peterstev/scrummaster-murphy-ten-problems-daily-scrum
https://agilesoftwaredevelopment.com/blog/artem/7-tips-daily-scrum
https://martinfowler.com/articles/itsNotJustStandingUp.html

10 Responses to “Purpose Of The Daily Scrum Meeting”

  1. Craig Patrick

    Thanks David – nice summary. I’m finding that if a team is truly self-organized, the stand-up makes sense. Alternatively, if there is dependence on a Scrum Master or PM to run things/gather status/manage a plan, then a properly structured stand-up seems pointless to everyone including the Scrum Master or PM.

    • David Hawks

      Wouldn’t a “properly” formatted daily scrum not rely on a PM Or ScrumMaster? The goal is for the team to be self- organizing. This is THIER meeting to make this happen. If anyone is “running” it besides the team then there is room for improvement and it might be a good candidate to discuss in your next retrospective.

  2. David,

    I don’t feel you answered the question of “what is the purpose?” You instead explained procedure, what should and what should not happen. What is the value of having a daily meeting vs. a weekly one as was typical before agile came along? An engineer who values his job and understands what can happen if his peers view him negatively, will spend at least 10 minutes thinking what he should say and making some notes. I know I do that. So that is 0.5 staff hours per person per day devoted to these meetings. I still don’t understand the purpose.

  3. Allison

    Great article, David! Since you wrote this, there has been an increase in material about using kanban with scrum teams. Do you have any thoughts about a team incorporating some of the flow metrics to help guide the daily scrum? Do you still see the key metrics as the ones you listed above?

    • David Hawks

      Yes, adding Kanban elements like limiting WIP and measuring cycle time can be helpful with scrum teams. One other practice I also introduce to teams is the approach we often use for stand-up by walking the board from right to left (i.e. from done to start). This focuses the team on getting work done before pulling more work in. I believe the metrics from the original article are still good for the daily scrum, I would say the flow metrics (i.e. cycle time, lead time, etc.) would be good for teams to inspect and adapt on regularly. Maybe not daily but in a bi-weekly retro. Hope that helps!

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