5 Tips for the daily Scrum

By · October 28, 2011 · Filed in Agile Scrum Coaching

Things You Must Do In a Scrum Meeting

Scrum Meetings – those 15-minute “stand up” meetings that we do every morning – are a simple, powerful tool to keep your project moving.  But it’s easy to go off the rails and lose the effectiveness of these meetings.  I’ve listed five tips that we can emphasize which will optimize our Scrums.

  1. Start on time and keep to schedule.
    It’s a little thing with big consequences.  Like other meetings – Sprint Planning, Sprint Retrospective, Sprint Demo – we are making a statement about the importance of time.  Subtle lessons are communicated when an entire group is held up waiting for someone to arrive or the Scrum is delayed while some other activity is completed.
  2. Don’t get hijacked.
    There is a time and a place for elaboration on a solution or a difficulty, but it’s not in the Scrum.  The Scrum is so effective, in part, because it’s short but packed with essential information.  Anything that may transform the Scrum into something else should be taken “offline” or form the basis for another meeting – peer review, user story elaboration, design meeting, etc.
  3. Have a proxy if you can’t make the meeting.
    It’s important that everyone is able to contribute to the Scrum.  If someone is going to be absent or late, then they should assign someone else to speak on their behalf.  After all there are only three essential pieces of information to communicate. …
  4. Only ask (or answer) three things.
    The Scrum is all about determining and ensuring progress so there are only 3 things that everyone needs to communicate: “What have I completed since the last Scrum?” “What will I be working on today?” “Is anything blocking my progress?”  The Scrum Master will use this information to chart progress and remove impediments to keep the Team progressing.  Team members can also use this information to spark collaboration (outside the Scrum) to support each others’ efforts or transfer skills and knowledge.
  5. Record results.
    Technically this is done after the Scrum by the Scrum Master. But it has been my experience that Team Members look forward to seeing the results reflected in the burn down Chart very shortly after the Scrum.  It has been a great motivator to “keep below the line” on the burn down and it can affect the day’s work if the results are not available in a timely fashion.

The Scrum is very simple and is often given little attention when organizations are seeking process improvements.   But the Scrum is also a powerful way to spotlight successes and problems.  When done correctly, it makes a significant contribution to building high performing teams. Be aware of whether your Scrum meetings are efficient and effective and the entire team will be rewarded with better communication and motivation.

Consider attending one of our Scrum Training sessions to learn the basics of any Agile approach, the three roles defined by Scrum, how to build a product backlog, and how to plan and work in Sprints.