Sunday, June 23, 2013

How to make the daily SCRUM meeting better

What did you do yesterday?
What will you do today?
Are there any impediments in your way?

We all know these 3 famous questions, and with these 3 question we are going to know where we are in the current sprint. We are going to know what everyone is doing and we are going to know if we have impediments. Well, in reality it doesn't really end up like this.

In reality Bob will tell you that yesterday he was sick and had to leave early. James was planning to work on our sprint tomorrow, but he had to take his kids to the doctor and Ted worked on our project by got distracted on another bug from another team (where was the scrum master to block that?)

This is normal, we ask these somewhat personal question so we are going to get personal answers. Do I know more about the user stories that are going to be done in the sprint? not so much, but I know more about my team schedule and personal problems. So how do we fix this? Simple! instead of focusing on the people in the team, focus on the stories to be done. Go over each story on the board and ask “what’s the status with this story? who worked on it and what did they do? what are they planning to do tomorrow? Then the person or persons that worked on the story speak. If you speak, its because you did something on the story. If a team member doesn’t   speak after going over all the stories it means he or she did not work on any stories, and you need to try to find out why. This way at least the product owner gets to hear about what he cares about, which is the stories and their progress during the sprint.

Still, after going over all  the stories, as a SCRUM master, I still ask if anyone has anything to add, and if there are any impediments I should know about. I also ask if the product owner has new information from the customer he might want to share with the team. Still, it's important to keep the meeting to 15 minutes or so.

There are other benefits to the daily stand up - everyone is together at the same room, this should be also be a fun time. Everyone should feel at ease and happy to be together. Lets crack some jokes, make it light and fun, so the daily stand up doesn't end up like a status meeting where people are worried their heads will be chopped off. If people are scared to speak or tell you the “bad” stuff, then the meeting is pointless. Spending 15 together everyday is “quality time” with your team - make it count.

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