A good Daily Scrum Meeting (DSM) has many advantages, but this article will be about something else. You will learn from it how to use these 15 minutes for YOUR benefit, not just for work. At the same time (a little bit as a side effect), achieving a perfect stand-up.
Have you ever been nervous at work because something went wrong in your private life? Or the other way around: have you ever brought problems or discouragement from work home? Fortunately, positive events can also spread to different areas of life. And what does DSM have to do with all this?
Fine-tuning some of the skills that make DSM perfect can work for the rest of your time at the office (and that’s 1/3 of the day). The benefits of this can be transferred to your personal life because you can use the skills you acquire with DSM everywhere. For example, if you learn to communicate effectively at work, you cannot “forget” it when you get out. Instead of treating DSM as a dull duty, treat it as a psychological experiment – and who knows, maybe your stand-up will never be the same again?
Is your Daily Scrum perfect?
The Daily Scrum is done daily by max. 15 minutes, in the same place and at the same time. And its regularity alone benefits because:
- it identifies difficulties and problems before they start escalating,
- it saves the Daily Scrum from being put away indefinitely “in a moment, as soon as I finish this one thing.”
- no one has to wonder what time and where the meeting will be,
- you can easily put it among other duties.
It is all Agile standard, but Daily Scrum can bring even more (much more) value. How do you achieve them? You should start by answering (seemingly) simple questions, which are below. Choose an area you want to work on and… act! So:
1) Does the team discuss problems and difficulties on its own during the Daily Scrum?
Giant problems will be noticed by the client, medium by Scrum Master, the tiny ones by the team. It is these little problems that lead to large ones. They’re like a virus: inconspicuous, but extremely dangerous, and they’re hard to catch.
Just reporting problems and blockages is not difficult (especially when you know you’re dealing with them). However, it is difficult to recognize something that is a tricky virus disguised as Mickey Mouse. It is in such situations that each member of the team should feel comfortable enough during the Daily Scrum to speak openly about their suspicions. Although the lack of fear is something that should be obvious and natural, the high level of comfort in talking openly about things we are not sure about is not so obvious anymore. It’s the very element of open conversation in which every member of the team feels comfortable with the perfect Scrum.
2) is the Daily Scrum a sad duty?
It’s about this aversion to meetings, which often (but not always) results from the feeling of wasted time. The task of the Scrum Master is not only to explain to the team why and what for the Daily Scrum is. It is primarily to make the team aware of its values. And not the team as a whole, but each of them individually. It will not happen without a change of attitude, and it will not happen without effective and efficient communication. Training of such communication takes place primarily outside the Daily Scrum, for the rest of the work. During the Daily Scrum, only its fruits are harvested. Effective communication is largely about speaking to others in the way THEY want to be spoken to. Instead of talking the way WE want to talk. And the difference between those ways is huge.
3) Does your Daily Scrum have that power?
Setting a good schedule is one thing. But even the best plan may need to be changed. If, once approved, the Daily Scrum needs to be revised, the subject needs to be addressed, discussed, and the revision implemented as soon as possible. It will allow you to improve your project strategy during the ongoing sprint. Theoretically, it can be adjusted every 24 hours. The Daily Scrum is just over 3% of the daily working time. Nevertheless, it should have enough power to be the turning point of the day (when necessary). So it’s good to make efficient use of time.
4) Do you answer the three mandatory questions during the DSM?
That’s not good.
Yeah, I know it looks like a denial of the basics of Scrum, but it’s not. The questions of what I did yesterday, what I’m going to do today and what difficulties I see are undeniably fundamental. But the Daily Scrum is not organized to answer these three questions, but to plan and organize the work.
If your team is limited to answering these questions, maybe you don’t treat the Daily Scrum as a moment to share your thoughts? Maybe your team treats it as a mandatory point of the day, which exists because it exists, but it brings nothing?
The perfect Scrum is characterized by the fact that its participants adjust it to each other and modify it according to the need. Of course, there will be days when there will be no need to go out over 3 essential questions. Their concise construction brings a lot of value – sometimes wholly sufficient. On the other hand, it is natural that there will be moments when it will be necessary to abandon this rigid frame. For the Daily Scrum to perform its function in such a situation, it is necessary to ensure the comfort of open conversation (point 1), effective and efficient communication (point 2) and faith in the power of Scrum capable of moving mountains (point 3).
15 minutes of benefits
The three DSM questions are not always the only issue to be discussed. It’s good to think about whether or not we’re sure to address the most important topics during the Daily Scrum, even if we don’t really feel comfortable with them. It’s also good to think about whether communication in the team is at a satisfactory level (for everyone) and whether the Daily Scrum has a real impact on team performance, rather than just being another point on the schedule – that is, whether it has that power. Even if it doesn’t, polishing the above-mentioned elements will make it have it. And don’t hesitate to use these improved skills (and insights gained) everywhere else. If you refine the 15 minutes of the day, it can bring much more benefits than you wouldn’t try.