Project Management Knowledge: The Daily Scrum

Project Management Knowledge: The Daily Scrum
The prompt used for this image was the title, "Project Management Knowledge: The Daily Scrum"

The Daily Scrum aims to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog to adjust the upcoming planned work.

This quick meeting is designed exclusively for active members of the Development Team. Several formats are accepted; however, the most widely recognized is the “what I did yesterday, what I’m working on today, and my issues/blockers are…” However, there’s a growing movement to intertwine the Daily Scrum with a task refinement session. I recommend staying the course on your journey of learning.

I’m not the type to tell my teams “you shall” regarding the Agile Playground. But, if I’m working with a team that has difficulty staying focused on the question or task, I’ll bust out the general rules of the meeting. Again, it’s about driving focus to obtain the desired results while making it seem like they’re driving it.

My philosophy on the daily is simple: if you need to discuss a project matter that pertains to the larger group, this is where you do it. The team will naturally try to help; if not led, they may help down a rabbit hole. As the Scrum Master, you’re the one to guide them to resolve the issue (or as for help) and help them see how this fix or effort aligns with the end goal. It may sound lofty, but that’s the best part of Agile (Scrum); it’s about finding what works for this team.

💡 The Scrum Master should ensure that speaking priority is given to the Development Team during the Daily Scrum and remains on point. This is not the time for other work topics, be it from the Development Team or onlookers.

While this event has the word “daily” in its name, remember, Agile is agile and thus can adjust to the users’ needs. Generally, the longer the sprint duration, the fewer Daily Scrum meetings you should have in a week.

The thought process is as such;

  • If your sprint is two weeks long, the Scrum Master/Project Manager needs two things from the Development Team daily.
  • Current Status (what you did & what you’re doing)
  • Blocker(s) (what’s preventing you from moving forward… because the Scrum Master is about to drop an elbow on it for you!)
  • If your sprints are one month or longer, the conversations between the Scrum Master and the Development will happen more naturally during a day/week and won’t require as many official meetings to track progress. If you tell me you finished something, I’ll update it in the requisite tracker and perhaps email the team. Once a week or every other week may work for really long-duration projects.

Caveat time (there’s always one…); all meeting schedules need to be agreed upon. I recommend that you schedule meetings to coincide with Stakeholder management requirements. Doing so will alleviate the additional burden on the Scrum Master and the Development Team from gathering necessary information outside of already scheduled conversations.

Here’s the official stance on the Daily Scrum from the Scrum Guide 👇

“The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team. To reduce complexity, it is held simultaneously and on every working day of the Sprint. If the Product Owner or Scrum Master actively works on items in the Sprint Backlog, they participate as Developers.
The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, as long as their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal and produces an actionable plan for the next work day. This creates focus and improves self-management.”

It’s also important to remember that the Daily Scrum is not the only time Developers are allowed to adjust their plans. Change happens all day long. So, if something needs to change, that is fine, but be sure your Stakeholders know what the change is and how it may alter the timeline.

The Daily Scrum was created to improve communications, identify impediments, promote quick decision-making, and eliminate the need for other meetings. If done right, that’s precisely what will happen.