Scrum Guide 2020: Daily Scrum

Well, I kind of already did this one on another post,, but I will touch on it again. Only because the Daily Scrum is one of the most misused ceremonies in the Scrum Framework from my experience. This is not a status meeting to report to the Product Owner or Scrum Master the progress of the items in the Sprint. Although as we will see, even the Scrum Guide had to change to try and keep teams from treating it this way…

Scrum Guide 2020

“The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.”

– The Daily Scrum is meant to be a quick, start of the day collaboration kick off. However it lends itself quite nicely to a status report meeting and supporting people working in silos. In some of it’s best case scenarios it is used to discuss the plan of the day to keep everyone on the same page and call out any major problems the team has. I have even experienced teams that mob/ensemble program use a Daily Scrum to their advantage to discuss how they are progressing towards their Sprint Goal and if any changes need to be made to items in the Sprint.

“The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team. To reduce complexity, it is held at the same time and place every working day of the Sprint. If the Product Owner or Scrum Master are actively working on items in the Sprint Backlog, they participate as Developers.”

– This call out that the meeting is for the Developers of the Scrum Team is key. It is not a meeting for the Product Owner or Scrum Master to get an update on progress or to change the status of items on the board in Jira. Although it often happens that way. Keeping it at the same time and place is just keeping it simple. But I do like that it is open to the Product Owner and Scrum Master provided they have something they are actively working on towards the Sprint Goal.

“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 day of work. This creates focus and improves self-management.”

– This I like a lot in the latest edition of the Scrum Guide. The previous version in 2017 specifically called out that 3 question format that forced the Daily Scrum to be a status report meeting.

Scrum Guide 2017

  • What did I do yesterday that helped the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • What will I do today to help the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the Development Team from meeting the Sprint Goal?

The removal of these prescribed questions has made life much easier on people looking to use the Daily Scrum as intended.

“Daily Scrums improve communications, identify impediments, promote quick decision-making, and consequently eliminate the need for other meetings.”

– This is something I see missed quite a bit with organizations and teams looking to implement Scrum to their advantage. The Daily Scrum, much like the other ceremonies in Scrum, are supposed to eliminate the other meetings. When teams add the Scrum ceremonies and keep their other meetings, there is something lacking from the Scrum ceremonies and should be addressed.

“The Daily Scrum is not the only time Developers are allowed to adjust their plan. They often meet throughout the day for more detailed discussions about adapting or re-planning the rest of the Sprint’s work.”

– This almost makes the last section confusing to be honest. But I think this is Scrums attempt to promote collaboration within teams. If you took the rigid approach that the only time team members could speak to one another was during the Scrum ceremonies, that doesn’t seem very agile to me.

I also think this is in here since there are many organizations and teams that have found Mob/Ensemble Programming to be so beneficial that it could potentially eliminate the Scrum Frameworks rigid process, so part of me thinks Scrum is opening up to be more palatable to those organizations and teams.

All in all, a Daily Scrum is a key part of the Scrum Framework, but misuse can make it actively destructive and dysfunctional. If you start feeling your Daily Scrum slip into the status report meeting, maybe its time to ask the team to sit down, review the Scrum Guide for what it says about the Daily Scrum and make a decision on how the Daily Scrum could be used to benefit the team.

Please share your thoughts and experiences with the Daily Scrum that you have encountered and if they were bad experiences, how you over came them.

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