4 Ways to Restore Purpose to Your Daily Scrum
Every sprint, a Scrum team creates a sprint goal to help them focus on why they are turning backlog items into increments of working software. The daily scrum meeting was created to optimize the probability that the Scrum team will meet its sprint goal.
This optimization is achieved by answering three questions during the daily scrum timebox:
- What did I do yesterday that helped the development team meet the sprint goal?
- What will I do today to help the development team meet the sprint goal?
- Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the development team from meeting the sprint goal?
Unfortunately, these questions can be used to turn a synchronization and planning meeting into a status report. It’s easy to see why. The purpose of the daily scrum is team-driven. The team is planning as a group around the daily work that leads to achieving the sprint goal.
The difficulty begins when we try to answer the questions as individuals.
Scrum teams miss the opportunity to have meaningful conversations about their work if they are not approaching the daily scrum with intent and purpose. Here’s how you can make sure your team members are collaborating about their work and are ready to tackle the next day of their sprint.
1. Focus on the work. Use your task boards to guide the conversation. For each product backlog item, discuss blockers, progress, and the tasks the team will work on today. Seek insight from multiple Scrum team members—you’re pairing, right? Walk away with a shared understanding of which stories and tasks will be worked on, where the dependencies are, and how any risks will be mitigated.
2. Keep the task board up to date. There are people in your organization who will want a true status report. By keeping your boards up to date, you’re gaining a tool that you can use to refocus your daily scrum, and you’re providing valuable information to others. This transparency into the work is a great way to build trust with your stakeholders.
3. Rotate facilitation responsibilities. If a ScrumMaster or product owner is overpowering the daily scrum, allow others to facilitate the meeting. You’d be surprised what a new voice can help bring forward. Having a team member facilitate also gives the team some skin in the game. This is now their meeting, and it’s important to how they will approach their work.
4. Keep your eyes on the sprint goal. The purpose of the sprint goal is to provide guidance to the team about why they are building the current increment of software. As new tasks, ideas, or decisions come forward in the daily scrum, use the sprint goal as your guidepost to filter out the noise and keep the team focused on the high-priority work.
The daily scrum is meant to communicate so much more than just a status update. Try these ideas and see if they help improve your team’s daily scrum.