daily scrum


Impediments can slow down or even halt the progress of an otherwise well-functioning Scrum team. Stefan Roock has 5 tips on impediment resolution.

Problems:

  1. If the impediment backlog lives in the mysterious black book of the ScrumMaster, you have a problem.
  2. If your impediment backlog does not change you have a problem.
  3. If your impediment backlog is empty, you have a problem.
  4. If you have an impediment backlog with a growing number of active impediments, you have a problem.
  5. If the ScrumMaster resolves all impediments himself you have a problem.

Solutions:

  1. Make the impediments visible
  2. Search for impediments
  3. Limit the number of impediments
  4. Differentiate between local and global impediments
  5. Help the team to resolve impediments

Please check out the blog post at Scrum Alliance for more details about the solutions.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thepartycow / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The daily scrum is just that — daily. This synchronization point is meant to increase the team’s communication and focus. The team meets each day, discusses the day’s work, finds out who needs help an. When teams don’t huddle daily, they risk losing the communication and focus necessary to build the right product with the appropriate quality and meet their commitments.

Often this smell, moving the daily scrum to anything other than a daily meeting, is an indication that something else is awry. The underlying problem may lie with misunderstanding the purpose of the daily meeting and/or misunderstanding the discipline and simple practices that teams can and should adopt for themselves.

via CollabNet Scrum and Agile Blog » Techniques For Improving Your Daily Scrum: When The Daily Scrum Isn’t Daily.

Mike Cohn has a good introduction to daily stand-up meetings.

By focusing on what each person accomplished yesterday and will accomplish today the team gains an excellent understanding of what work has been done and what work remains. The daily scrum is not a status update meeting in which a boss is collecting information about who is behind schedule. Rather, it is a meeting in which team members make commitments to each other.

via The Daily Scrum Meeting.

Scrum is about achieving customer value. Each day must bring the team one step closer to their goal. They must achieve things. Stories and tasks must be completed. To get more focus on this matter the questions in Daily Scrum meetings can be adapted a little bit.

Observing this team’s daily Scrums, I noticed that they talked a lot about what they did in the past 24 hours and what they would do in the next 24. Everyone seemed busy and could account for their time. But I had a hard time connecting their busyness to the work they’d committed to do in the Sprint.

So, I suggested a slight change to the three questions that I learned from Mishkin Berteig. Instead of answering the questions, “What did you do in the last 24 hours?” and “What will you do in the next 24?,” I had the team answer the questions, “What did you complete in the last 24 hours?” and “What will you complete in the next 24?” I recommended that they point at tasks and stories on the task board while answering the questions to keep them focused on the work for the Sprint.

via One Word Can Change Your Daily Scrum | Richard Lawrence.

Sometimes a Scrum meeting will take on issues that are part of the normal working process of the project, or even sit outside of the project entirely. Examples of these potential productivity wasters are:

  • A few individuals drill down into the problem details and begin to resolve the issue during the meeting
  • During the scrum meeting two participants discuss yesterday’s football match
  • Everybody asks the project manager “What is new?”
  • The scrum turns into a meeting where everyone is reporting results to the project manager
  • And, yes at times participants are late for the meeting.

Andrew Mospan have written a post with tips how the  Daily Scrum Meeting can be effective.

My name is Henrik Larsson and I interviewing Jason Yip, Agile/Lean consultant at ThoughWorks.

Q: Jason, can you tell me a little bit about the article “It’s Not Just Standing Up: Patterns of Daily Stand-up Meetings” and why you wrote it?

From what I recall, the initial trigger was Phillip Laplante’s article about why he hated standup meetings. When I read it, it reminded me of the dysfunctions I had been seeing in how people were doing daily stand-ups. It seems like such a simple practice and yet I was repeatedly seeing it done wrong, or at least sub-optimally. I figured it was worth trying to address this by publishing something that people could use as a reference and point others to. The article was my attempt to gather the state of the art in thinking and practice about how do stand-ups well.

Q: Why do you think Daily Stand-ups are so powerful?

At a minimum, it gets people talking to each other which is actually a big deal in many places. Beyond the minimum, a well-run standup is very effective at exposing problems. Of course, what happens after problems are detected is even more important.

Q: When did you first read or hear about stand-up meetings?

This was back in 1999 or 2000 when learning about Extreme Programming. I don’t remember exactly but it was probably the Portland Pattern Repository (i.e., the original wiki) where I first read about it.

Q: Has your view on Daily Stand-ups changed during these years?

Yes, definitely. I used to see it more about status. Then I shifted to see it more about commitment, mainly due to Mike Cohn’s writings. These days, I see it as more about problem-solving. My current preference is much more strongly toward a “walk-the-board” style of stand-up when a task / story board is available. I tend to emphasise much more the importance of focusing on completing work versus just people trying to be busy.

Having said that, there are still some aspects that haven’t changed over the years, such as the importance of keeping the ritual high-energy and being about sharing with the team versus reporting to
a leader.

Q: VersionOne just recently published the results from “State of Agile Survey 2009″. The survey shows that Daily Stand-up is the second most popular agile technique. Why do you think stand-up meetings are so popular?

Perhaps a cynical answer but I would say because it seems easy to do.

Q: What single thing do you think is most important to get right for a team using Daily Stand-up meetings? Why?

Understand why you’re doing the stand-up. You’re sharing information so that the whole team can achieve their objective. If this is not clear, then you’re really just wasting time.

Q: The classic three questions (What did?/What will?/Impediments?) is the basic agenda of Daily Stand-up meetings. Many teams are improving and customizing these meetings. Have you seen any customizations that could be beneficial for many other teams?

The “walk-the-board” style is something that many teams should consider trying. In general, have the work items (i.e., user stories) ask the questions rather than the people. What happened to the story yesterday? What is going to happen to the story today? What is impeding the story from progressing?

The Daily Scrum Meeting is the primary meeting for team members (chickens) in Scrum. Do you think that this technique could successfully be used outside the software development community? Where and how?

Short, daily meetings are already used outside the software development community. For example, most Lean environments have been using them before the concept became popular in software development
circles. I don’t see anything particularly software development specific about daily stand-ups.

Rupen Sharma has some suggestions how to conduct virtual daily Scrum meetings:

Daily SCRUM Meetings are usually held in a meeting room with whiteboards. In the meeting room, team members stand during the meeting. However, nowadays it is very common for teams to be geographically dispersed. In such cases, you should use web conferencing tools, such as WebEx and Citrix Online, to have more effective meetings. These tools are essential for managing an Agile team that is geographically dispersed. Through the use of web conferencing tools, you can share other agile project management tools, such as plans, virtually. This means everyone, regardless of their physical geography, can view the same plan at the same time.

via Conducting the Daily SCRUM Meeting as an Agile Project Management Tool.

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