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Rajaraman Raghuraman is a passionate software craftsman with 8+ years of experience in the IT industry. He is also the founder of AgileDevTest Blog (http://agiledevtest.blogspot.com) and author of an Ebook "Programmer's Motivation for Beginners" which is available at http://programmersmotivation.com. Rajaraman is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 4 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Scrum meeting. Are you kidding me?

01.15.2014
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Recently I was part of a "Daily Scrum Meeting" in a reputed product development company (I traveled to work with this company on a joint initiative, anyway that is not the point of this blog post).  I was really baffled at the way the meeting was happening, because there were several things that didn't go well during that meeting.  Being a huge fan of Agile and a committed practitioner, it was concerning that people were actually adopting it the wrong way.  I felt like asking to them "Is this a Scrum meeting? Are you guys kidding me?".   In this blog post, I will share some lessons learned from this meeting:
  • Everyone on time
A Daily Scrum is a commitment to the entire team.  So everyone needs to be on time for the meeting.  Never forget your meeting etiquette. :)
  • It's for everyone team
A Daily Scrum meeting is for the entire Scrum.  It is not just a subset of the people.  Agile focuses highly on team collaboration and it's high time teams understand that.
  • Everyone present throughout
Intention of the daily stand up is to have the team members communicate, collaborate and the team should be knowing what each others are doing.  No one should leave a meeting in the middle.

  • Everyone stands up
Again this is a basic etiquette.  A scrum meeting is a standup meeting and no one sits.  The whole idea here is not to get comfortable by sitting down, and thereby forcing us to wrap the meeting on time.
  • Each person talks to the team not to the scrum master
A Scrum Meeting is not a status reporting meeting to the Scrum master.  It is rather an update about what each one is doing to the entire team and if there are any impediments or roadblocks to achieve a target.  So every person should talk to the entire team rather than the Scrum Master.
  • No detailed discussions
A scrum meeting should only have each person answer 3 questions:
    1. What did I do yesterday?
    2. What will I do today?
    3. Is there anything that is stopping me from doing my work?
If there are any discussions that are taking a long time, it is best to take it later on rather than in the scrum meeting.
  • Where is the Product Owner?
The Product Owner should be involved in the Scrum meeting so that he knows how the product is progressing.  If a Scrum Meeting happens without the Product Owner, I am not sure what is the point in having it in the first place.
  • AM or PM
Typically Scrum meeting works best when it is done in the morning.  It works best for the team as everyone will know what to look forward to for the rest of the day. Everyone makes mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from those mistakes as quickly as possible.  That is the best way to get better. Have you ever seen a scrum meeting go bad? If so please feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.  Hope these learning will make the community better.
Related Articles & References
Daily Scrum by Mountain Goat Software
Its not just standing up by Martin Fowler.
Published at DZone with permission of Rajaraman Raghuraman, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Comments

Serguei Meerkat replied on Thu, 2014/01/16 - 5:21pm

 Agile Manifesto: "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools".

Scrum prescribe what process should take place (including rules for Scrum meetings) and its advocates like to complain that people "do it wrong".

Therefore Scrum is not Agile :)


Tomm Carr replied on Wed, 2014/01/22 - 3:33pm

You stated, "If a Scrum Meeting happens without the Product Owner, I am not sure what is the point in having it in the first place." But you answer that when you explain why members should address the team rather than the scrum master.

Indeed, I'd much rather the Product Owner not be at the daily standups. Some team members are more likely to sugar coat bad news and downplay concerns or problems when the PO is present. The discussions are at too low a level to be of any interest or use to the PO. And what possible value to the team can there be in hearing what the PO did yesterday, what he intends to do today and what problems he may be running up against? The scrum master should be keeping the PO informed through scheduled updates and translating the PO's desires into tasks he then passes on to the team. He also elevates any problems or questions to the PO which cannot be handled within the team.

So there is really no purpose served by having the PO present at the stand ups. The PO should be at the kickoffs, wrap ups and post mortums, but regular appearances at the stand ups reek of micro-management.

Philipp Eisbacher replied on Thu, 2014/01/23 - 7:15am

I started reading this article and quite liked it, but the last three points killed it for me:


  • No detailed discussions
I Agree with that but "A scrum meeting should only have each person answer 3 questions:"

No. This is not the purpose of the Daily Standup. The purpose is to have a planning session for the day and the 3 questions are a pattern that might lead to this purpose. But I have seen many Stand Ups answering the questions and not serving any purpose

  • Where is the Product Owner?
Here I disagree with the post and the comment: The PO should not attend to get a status update but the PO also not should not attend because we have a CommunicationProxy -> The Scrum Master. The PO can attend if the team feels comfortable with that, and this opportunity can be used to foster direct communication and to exchange short informations through the whole Scrum Team
  • AM or PM
... who cares? There are indicators if it is the right time for the Stand Up: Every team member is able to participate on a daily basis. If this is in the morning, in the evening or anytime else, I would not care (in my position as Scrum Master) as long as it is a team decision.

In conclusion I like the comment of Serguei with the reference to the agile manifesto but I also have to mention the always forgotten part of the manifesto: "That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more."


BR,

Philipp

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