Unleash your Daily Standup Meeting efficiency!

Hello dear followers and readers,

Today I would like to share with you the experience I gained with more than 3 different teams practicing a daily Standup meeting in Scrum.

It took place during my days coaching 3 Teams with 3 different kinds of businesses.

Achieving and maintaining a good DSM(Daily Standup Meeting) requires a high level of self-organization and agility which have become the main driving factors in the modern business environment.

So , would you like to know what is the goal of the DSM?

Would you like to keep your daily meeting not boring?

Would you like to unleash you DSM efficiency?

Responses and hints are following … be ready …

DSM at a glance

The Daily Scrum is :

  • A 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team.
  • held every day of the Sprint.
  • Development Team plans work for the next 24 hours.
  • Held in the same place.
  • 3 formal questions to answer:

* 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 Goal of the DSM:

- Optimizes team collaboration and performance by inspecting the work since the last Daily Scrum and forecasting upcoming Sprint work. (Could be done by updating the Burn-down chart).

-Report problems and blocking points that could make difficult the team to reach the Sprint goal.

- Improve communications, eliminate other meetings, identify impediments to development for removal, highlight and promote quick decision-making, and improve the Development Team’s level of knowledge

The scrum master should coach the team how they can run the DSM.

‘In theory there is no difference between theory and practice , but in practice there is’

My Experience :)

Within my first team, I started as a scrum master to introduce the DSM as defined on the scrum guide. At this time my team was just started using Scrum.

Every day , each Team member answer the 3 question and almost all of the team members don’t report problems or impediments. After 2 week , the team members becoming pointless about this meeting and no one would like to participate.

I approached them during a retrospective session and I asked , how could we improve our daily scrum and what is the issue which let you not motivated to participate to daily meeting?

After a deeper investigation and after collecting feedbacks from all the team members, we come to a conclusion that we are acting as a Group of individuals working in the same location, we are not a team.

Team members just receive the orders from the Project manager and they only execute. Their planning is done by their Project managers, therefore make no sense for the team members to answer what I will do today.

Urgent issues / incident coming daily and always interrupt their work and slow down the progress to the sprint goal.

There is No shared goal between the team members: All the team members work on different tasks and each task is independent from others work.

This causes problems in keeping the team focused and self-organized.

I will try to explain in a few words what is the meaning of a self-organized team:

Self-organized team is an entity that can decide how to handle the day to day tasks.
In scrum, it’s limited to how should we organize ourselves so we can deliver the sprint Goal on an agreed DoD (Definition of Done).

Solutions:

Solutions are discovered and discussed during the retrospective session and as a team we decided to:

Focus on a shared goal and a shared vision: During the sprint planning we set our sprint goal and we try to swarm on work.

As a scrum master, I tried to lead by example on how could we converge to be more self-organized. Encourage the team to take responsibility, ownership and focus on the team goal by supporting each other by offering solution and support in case one team members has a problem.

To deal with urgent incident, we tried to reduce the duration of the sprint to 1 week: urgent things will be planned for the next sprint after 2 or 3 days.

Result:

More focus on goals, the team become more motivated for the daily scrum meeting and for each reported problem, every team members come with some offers to fix the problem.

Coming to my second team, which is doing Scrum since 2 years and have a good level of maturity and experience applying Scrum practices.

The team have an actual sprint goal and were focused but during the DSM no hints could help the team to track the progress and predict the amount of the remaining work.
The visibility of the progress is missing and no information could help whether the team will reach the Sprint goal with the specified deliveries or not.

Solution:

We approached the problem during the retrospective and we decided to:

  • Add the activity to update the burn-down chart during the DSM.
  • As a scrum master I explained that this graphic will be used by the team, and not by the management, to track their progress toward the sprint goal in daily basic and to manage their efforts and themselves to deliver the expected increment.

Result:

More motivation to update the issues on the burn-down chart and more ownership and accountability was taken by the team.

More self-management showed after 2 sprints using the burn-down chart to track team work.

My third team, which is new on applying Scrum, the daily scrum shows some more different problems.

As a Scrum master , at first, I did explained the DSM by examples as usual and leading by examples from my experience I mentioned some issues that I encountered during my previous experiences to give the team recommendation on how could we make our DSM efficient.

The problems are:

The DSM was very boring, no one has the interest to listen to others.

Some team members report about the same issue, which mean that they are working on the same issue at the same time.

Switching between projects and activities is very frequent which drive to a non-focused group of individuals.

Team members going deep in the technical explanation and they exceed always the time box of the daily scrum meeting.

Solution:

As a scrum master, I triggered the issue on the retrospective and we agreed:

To not go deeper in technical details, that’s could be discussed after the daily meeting.

Make a priority on the projects and try to keep the team working on the top priority project, to gain the focus and be able to have a clear sprint goal.

Add a Kanban Board , to make the progress and the affectation of the tasks clear and transparent to everyone , thus no one will work on the same issue with his colleague on the same time. Kanban board brought a lot of work visibility and helped the team to swarm on the work by limiting the WIP (Work In Progress)

Add post-its to the board to keep more visibility , interactions and movements during the daily scrum meeting.

Result: Motivation increased and a better self-organized team, more engagements, better quality (more focus), transparency increased.

As you can see each company has an area for improvements and in all aspects of the process improvements will not stop.

As a coach or a scrum master, I recommend a nice strategies to bring improvements into practice :

All these steps should be triggered and discussed within the team and all the team members should come with ideas to improve the process (during the retrospective).

Advanced DSM

To break your DSM monotony some tips could be so helpful.

By introducing the questions below you can break the monotony of the “3 questions round-robin”.

These questions will keep the meeting short and usefull.

As an Scrum Master, I found them useful and helpful to bring more movements to the team and keep the meeting more focused.

Below the list of questions:

- What tasks/User stories have got done since yesterday’s standup?

- What tasks/User stories are expected to be done before our next standup?

- Is the board up to date? Is it reflecting the latest work status?

Is it synchronized with the Electronic board (In case we use electronic tools like JIRA)?

Note that :

The scrum board can delete the 3 main questions of the DSM.

The scrum master should not stay near to the board to not be viewed as a teacher, he should try to get a good position and let the team do the job.

- Are there any tasks/stories that are taking longer than expected?

- Is anyone stuck with something, or needs to discuss something with the team?

- What is the Confidence level of team to meet sprint goal.

- Is there anyone who needs the support of the Scrum master?

- Is there anything that needs the team’s attention, but has not come up in the discussion so far?

Conclusion

By focusing on what each team member accomplished yesterday and will accomplish today, the team gains an excellent understanding of what work has been done and what work remains.

The daily scrum meeting is not a status report meeting in which a boss is collecting information about the schedule of the project. Rather, it is a meeting in which team members make commitments to each other, communicate impediments and blocking points, ask for support for others and synchronize the next done and the next planned work.

If you’ve had any similar or different experiences with the Daily scrum meeting, please share them in the comments below.

Did you enjoy this article?
I look forward to your comments.

Passionate about applying agile and design mindsets to solve business challenges and innovate