Friday, August 5, 2011

Improve your Daily Scrum meetings

Normally when you are doing  Scrum, you have a Daily Scrum meeting. The idea is that you have a daily meeting where you basically determine how the work is progressing and if divine intervention is required to keep things progressing.

The goal is to provide a transparency where anyone can see what exactly the team is up to.

The basic format of a scrum meeting is pretty simple. Each person on the team says three things:

  1. What did I do since our last meeting
  2. What am I doing until our next meeting
  3. What is impeding me

Last week I was reading this post by John Sonmez about how these questions are too vague and can easily evolve to the following conversion:

“I continued to work on backlog X, I’ll continue to work on backlog X today.”

This is of course not very useful and a pure waste of time. I noticed that our own Scrum meetings were also evolving in this direction, so I took John Sonmez advice and tried replacing the 3 topics in a Scrum report with these:

  1. What did I commit to doing yesterday and did I or did I not meet that commitment. If not, why not.
  2. What will I commit to getting done today.
  3. What is impeding me that can be improved by bringing it up in this meeting.

This immediately changes the whole conversation and forces us to commit every day over and over again AND be truthful to ourselves realizing that we sometimes didn’t succeed in fulfilling these commitments.


sorna said...

Thank you for posting such a useful, impressive and a wicked article./Wow.. looking good!
Scrum Process

Ajie 30secondsmail said...

Hi Bart,
Thanks for this nice article. We figured out that standup meetings are great but needed improvement (they took a lot of time, de-focussed our colleagues and interrupted their workflows). Because of this we developed a SaaS tool to "automate" the daily standup meetings - with just a single email. If you like to take a look: