Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Daily Scrum Mistakes

Daily Scrum is a very useful meeting. Everybody learns about other team member's status and their road blocks. If the team is using a simple chart on the wall to enter work remaining, this meeting also reminds everybody to enter their remaining hours. Here are some typical mistakes people do in daily scrums:
  1. Reporting Status to Scrum master : I have observed that many people look at the scrum master while giving their status. They behave as if they are reporting to the Scrum Master. Scrum master should purposely try to avoid this eye contact to make sure that the team member reports his/her status to the team and not to the scrum master.

  2. Design Discussions : It is very easy to jump into design if a team member is talking about a design problem as his/her road block. Scrum master has to ensure that the meeting is limited to reporting progress and roadblocks and not solving the road blocks.

  3. Missing people : If the meeting is scheduled early morning or late evening, it is possible that some people may not attend it. The meeting should be kept at a time convenient to everybody. The scrum master should ensure that everybody is present in the meeting every day so that he/she listens to the entire team's progress.

  4. Requirements Clarification : Small requirement clarifications that take 30 seconds are ok, but all other clarifications should be deferred for off line discussion.
People may get turned away if the daily scrums are taking longer. The scrum master should try to finish daily scrums in 15 minutes. The best way to discuss design and clarify stories is to conduct these meetings right after the daily scrum. You can announce a design discussion meeting in daily scrum and ask interested people to stay back. This ensures that only interested people stay back and you don't have to go through overhead of scheduling a formal meeting. Quick, informal, stand up meetings are much more efficient than scheduled, formal, sit down meetings.

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