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The 5 Common Daily Scrum Meeting Mistakes You Don't Want To Make At Your Next Stand-Up

by Chris Daily

1. Daily Scrum meetings are NOT status meetings

This is an easy (and expected) mistake if you're new to Scrum events. This is especially true for project managers that have converted to Scrum Masters.

The Daily Scrum meeting is NOT a development status meeting. The daily scrum (aka daily stand up) allows the team to look at where they are and what they need to do to achieve the Sprint Goal. So, avoid trying to solve problems by the team during the previous day’s sprint.

It’s essential to keep the time limit of a daily Scrum in mind. The time is set to 15 minutes. A status meeting is often long and less engaging. With the team focused, staying within the 15 minutes will become easier.

One of the agile practices of respecting the time of your other team members and saving the problem-solving until after the daily standup meeting will go a long way with your agile team.

2. Do NOT use the Daily Scrum as a planning meeting

Another don’t of the Daily Scrum meeting is to use the time as a sprint planning meeting.

Why not? Once the team goes down that road, the individual team members won't get a chance to share their updates.

Instead, the team should stick to the Scrum process's spirit and the Daily Scrum's purpose, which is to inspect the progress made towards the Sprint Goal and the user stories in the sprint backlog. Any adjustments to the team's plan to complete the work forecasted in the Sprint Backlog can be made in the meeting.

If a new requirement urgently needs to be discussed, one approach might be to arrange a 15-minute meeting just after the Daily Scrum and include the development team and product owner. Then and there, you can discuss the requirement, its priority, etc. You are not stopping team communication but ensuring the daily standup meetings are relevant and the team is on the same page.

3. Do NOT only focus on the Scrum master during the Daily Scrum

There’s a misconception that Daily Scrum has to be solely facilitated by the  Scrum Master.

However, the role of the Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that the Daily Scrum occurs.

While the Scrum Master should ensure that the Daily stand up occurs, that does not mean he/she owns the event. Each scrum team member should feel like the daily scrum meetings are owned by the scrum team.

Additionally, it doesn’t mean the team must “report” to the Scrum Master.  The Daily Scrum event is designed for the entire team.

4. Do NOT micromanage the team during the Daily Scrum meeting

If you are a Scrum Master, you must avoid instructing the team members during the daily scrum. Additionally, don’t use the time to start planning how the team members should carry out a particular development activity.

Why? Because the Scrum process advocates self-management and self-organization.

Development team members should be encouraged to realize their responsibilities and collaborate to solve process-related issues. Team communication is necessary for a high-performing scrum team.

To encourage self-organization, the Scrum Master and Product Owner shouldn’t micro-manage the team and their activities and let the team members speak.

5. Do NOT waste time by asking the wrong questions during the Daily Scrum

For those new to the Daily Scrum, the team can start by adopting three question framework.

These questions include:

  1. What was done the day before?

  2. What is proposed to be done today?

  3. Did the team face any problems or impediments?

The daily scrum meeting should always embody the spirit of these three questions because the answers form the basis of the information a scrum team needs to assess their progress in the sprint.

The Daily Scrum is one of the agile practices that can get the team focused on completing the sprint goal by the end of the sprint. Treating the daily stand up as a status reporting meeting is one of the most common mistakes that Agile Teams make. Yet this common mistake is easy to correct.

Don't make sweeping changes, but in your next sprint retrospective meeting, bring up the daily standups. Identify what changes can be made, and prioritize them. If you haven't already, introduce the whole team to Scrum Guide. Pick one problem to solve and take in on in the next sprint.

How do you approach your daily Scrum meetings? How do you assess the success of your Scrum? Tell us what you’ve learned and what's on your Scrum Cheat Sheet in the comments!

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