D. Caulfield

Scrum Scenario #2: #NoStandups

This is a series of exercises in preparation for scrum.org's PSM certifications. I have gathered these scenarios from the internet together with my own experiences. Any answer will be based from my understanding of the Scrum Guide.

Source by Alen Pekic on scrum.org.

Scenario

A Development Team, arguing it is self-organising, indicates it no longer needs the Daily Scrum; they collaborate throughout the day and they feel it has become a needless ritual. What should the Scrum Master do?

Answer

Re-iterate the Daily Scrum's Purpose

The Daily Scrum is an opportunity to inspect and adapt while being transparent with the rest of the team. Other collaborations during the day are great, but they do not provide the main object of the Daily Scrum: Create a 24 hour forecast of work to get closer to the Sprint Goal. The Scrum Master should bring forward examples of when the Daily Scrum recently proved useful. Similarly, examples of what could happen if the Daily Scrum was removed could help the Dev Team think about it in a more positive light.

The Root Cause

The Scrum Master must try to understand why the Dev Team find the Daily Scrum a 'needless ritual' - this is the root cause of the whole complaint. The Scrum Master should put the question to his team: "How can we make the Daily Scrum useful?"

A similar situation occurred in my team which was exacerbated during lockdown. The Dev Team felt the Daily Scrum had turned stale where nobody listened to each other. The Daily Scrum had devolved into an individual status update instead of a team collaboration event. In my case, the Dev Team's concern that the Daily Scrum was a 'needless ritual' was completely valid! A morning status meeting does not promote teamwork throughout the day. In the Daily Scrum, the team must forecast the work for the day and discuss how they will get it done.

Since the Dev Team do not find the Daily Scrum useful anymore, the Scrum Master should facilitate a brainstorming session with the team on how to make their Daily Scrum useful. For example, rather than stepping through each person saying "Yesterday I did X, Today I will do Y, No support required", the Scrum Master could suggest the team restructure their Daily Scrum around top priority issues. This could help the Dev Team to pair program on critical items and focus on what is important for the day. This would transform the Daily Scrum to create a plan on "How can we close these critical items as fast as possible?".

Here are some other ideas to help re-structure the Dev Team's Daily Scrum:

  • Prioritise tickets by turnover time: The longer the ticket is open, the more priority it has.
  • Keep it to 15 minutes (surprisingly many teams do not stick to the 15 minute rule!).
  • Establish an 'interrupter' for each Daily Scrum - someone who steps in if a conversation goes on too long and needs to be taken offline.
  • #lookForward - Only focus on the plan for the future, not what each person did yesterday.