June 14, 2021
Scrum Framework has gained popularity in recent years as it is one of the easiest Agile frameworks that could be implemented in organizations that want to start with Agile methods. Initially, the instructions and methods of Scrum techniques may seem easy to understand, but as the organizations try out certain methods, there may be obstacles they might face. One of the important parts of developing products using Scrum methods is by conducting the Scrum events. These events help the Developers to plan out how the product is being developed and also helps the team to communicate with each other efficiently. Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective, and Daily Scrum are the main Scrum events that drive the product development process forward.
While each of the events is equally important, the Daily stand-up meetings are the events that help in building communication between the team members and help them understand their agenda for the day. For professionals starting initially, the planning of the Scrum events may be quite challenging. With that being said, planning out daily Scrum is also a challenge that Scrum Master has to face. One has to be aware of the changes given by the Scrum Alliance released in November 2020 in the Scrum Guide. To have an effective Daily Scrum organized in the Scrum team, one should follow the Scrum Guide and implement the best practices for Daily stand-up meetings. This article highlights the standup meeting’s best practices which every Scrum team could follow such that they have a productive and fruitful session that leads to effective product development and delivery.
What is a Daily Stand-up meeting?
Daily Stand up or Daily Scrum is a short meeting that occurs at the beginning of the day which helps the team become aligned and quickly resolve issues. It is also referred to as daily huddle, morning roll-call, quick sync, daily agile meeting, etc. Usually, the daily Scrum is a 15-minute event where the Developers of the Scrum team meet and discuss the status of their work in the project. The Developers meet at the same place, at the same time to reduce complexity. In teams that are self-organizing, and have experience in handling product development, daily Scrum takes place without any Scrum Master or Product Owner. Likewise, new teams require a Scrum Master and Product Owner who work together on items on the Sprint Backlog and participate with the Developers in the Daily Scrum. The main difference between other Scrum events and daily Scrum is that other events are held for a longer time with bigger participation and audience. However, Daily Scrum is about finishing the meetings faster and getting back to developing the product. The main purpose of the daily Scrum is to assess and evaluate the work done towards the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary.
Daily Stand Up Meeting Best Practices
The Developers of the Scrum team used to answer three questions: What did you complete yesterday? What tasks will you complete today? And What are the impediments that you are facing currently? All of these questions were valid before November 2020, but the Scrum Guide released stated that the three questions given cannot completely address the issues of all the Developers given the lack of time for the meeting. Hence, Scrum Alliance eliminated all the questions asked before and has stated that the Scrum team can have whatever structure and techniques they feel are the best for their team. The main aim of the daily Scrum is to focus on the progress towards the sprint goal and produce an actionable plan for the next day of work. This helps the development team to focus and improve on self-management. Here are a few Scrum daily stand-up best practices which will help your team to effectively use the time in daily stand-ups and progress towards your sprint goal.
Daily Standups have to be taken literally as people often get too comfortable when the meetings are held in sitting. If you have the opportunity to meet the team every day, then it is advised that the entire team stands up during the meetings such that it gets over faster and does not get dragged every day. However, in work-from-home cases and distributed teams, the Scrum master is advised that everyone is on board and there are no disturbances in the application the team is using for video conferencing. The Scrum Master has to time the meeting and ensures that much of the time is not getting wasted by listening to only a single person. Hence, the main aim of this practice is to ensure that people do not get too comfortable during these meetings and waste a huge amount of time discussing irrelevant topics.
No matter at what frequency the team meets, whether it is every day or alternate days, the team has to decide on a place and time at which everyone is comfortable and can attend the session. If the team is working in a physical space, then a conference room or a hall would be a good place to conduct the meeting. However, in virtual meetings, the time of the meeting should be decided accurately so that everyone is ready to join the meeting at the designated time. The time should be agreed upon by all the team members as anyone missing the session would not yield a fruitful session. A common piece of advice is to conduct the daily stand-ups first thing in the morning so that the entire day could be planned accordingly. However, the Scrum Master or team members should also consider people who are working from different time zones and schedule the meeting at a time which is comfortable for everyone.
This point has been emphasized numerous times as the Scrum Guide advises that the daily Scrum should be conducted within 15 minutes. Hence, the team members should prepare their points which they want to share about their tasks and be ready before the meeting begins. When the team members talk without preparation, they might lose a few points and also may take up more time thinking about it during the daily Scrum. It is always good to allot equal time to every member of the Scrum Team so that everyone gets equal time to convey their status of the project. Someone may keep a timer and the length of the meeting may be shorter or longer based on the size of the Scrum team.
Without having a leader, the meetings may be haphazard and ambiguous which would waste everyone’s time. Hence, it is always good to have a person in charge who would analyze what the developers are saying and make sure that everything happening in the meeting is productive. It does not always have to be the Scrum Master, it could be a stakeholder, project manager, or a department head who could conduct the Daily Scrum. The main objective of having a leader is to improve engagement and gain various points of view on the project. When everyone gets a chance of becoming the leader and conducting the sessions, they would be more invested in the meetings and help the team achieve the sprint goal.
Before Scrum Guide was updated in 2020, the Scrum team used to answer three questions regarding their project which would give an update to everyone on the team. However, it was noted that not all the teams could conduct the meetings using only the three questions. There may be more points which are important that could be added to the meeting. Hence, the Scrum Guide 2020 is updated, which states that the Scrum team can follow any methods and techniques that could help the team members express their work status during the daily Scrum. The meeting should only address the important points of the developers, and if more discussion is required, the Scrum team should meet up and discuss the issue after the daily Scrum.
Even if the team is productive and focused, they may discuss topics that are not related to the product development and waste time at the daily stand-up. It is the responsibility of the meeting leader to keep the focus of the meeting towards the development of the product. This could be done using several ways such as posting the topics which are not related to the common channel where individuals can discuss them after the meeting. A team member could also be assigned to conduct a separate meeting to discuss the unrelated topic such that it would not be discussed in the daily Scrum.
Someone from the stand-up other than the team leader can take notes about the progress of all the members as it could be helpful for everyone present at the meeting and even to those who could not attend the meeting. This helps the team know about the tasks which other people are performing and possibly anticipate if it is also connected to their task. These notes could be shared on a common platform every day such that everyone has a written note of the session which could be referred to while planning their day.
When teams follow these practices, they become disciplined and effective which leads to a productive stand-up meeting and builds an efficient Scrum team. Teams benefit immensely from short, focused meetings which aid the members to align their tasks, overcome their obstacles, and achieve their goals. A productive environment is created as the members collaborate and a place of creativity and problem-solving is built in the office space. The main benefit of the daily Scrum is that they improve communications between the team members, identify any obstacles in the development process, and promote quick decision-making. This eliminates the requirement of other meetings and hence saves a lot of time for developers. The daily Scrum is a brief period where the developers meet each other, however, if they face any issues, they often meet numerous times throughout the day and discuss their concerns in depth. Hence, daily Scrum is important for the team members to plan their sprint goal and make adjustments to their tasks according to progress and performance.
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