Whether you are familiar with it or in unknown territory, the daily scrum is an increasingly popular practice among agile companies. An integral part of scrum ceremonies, the DSM (Daily Scrum Meeting) is a daily meeting that should never exceed 15 minutes.
This meeting allows you to keep abreast of the current state of the sprint and to never lose sight of the company's objectives. It is part of the agile methodology approach.
What are we talking about in this meeting? What example questions should you ask? What are the benefits for the sprint and the team?
Put on your best helmet, Appvizer will take you to the hectic terrain of the daily scrums!
What is the daily scrum?
An essential part of the agile scrum method and used widely in project management, the daily scrum is a communication tool between members of the same team. It is a meeting that usually happens around the same time each day, mostly in the morning, which unfolds as follows:
- the person leading the meeting (scrum master) distributes the speech,
- each person presents reports on the progress of their tasks performed the day before and scheduled for the day ahead,
- possible problems are reported - but not solved during the daily scrum!
The daily scrum takes place after the sprint planning, and before :
- the sprint review: final sprint meeting with all stakeholders,
- the sprint retrospective: evaluation meeting of the sprint that has just ended, in order to draw the lessons learned,
- the backlog refinement (grooming): meeting allowing to refine the selection of tasks in the backlog to be processed, and thus to more precisely allocate the time dedicated.
Who participates in the daily scrum?
The daily scrum is a daily meeting concerning only the members of the company working on the sprint: the development team.
As its name suggests, the Scrum Master is in charge of leading the meeting. Their role is to create a conducive atmosphere for exchange and teamwork. Finally, their main objective is to make sure that their presence is no longer necessary afterward, i.e. to make the team autonomous.
The Product Owner does not necessarily participate in these meetings, although their role is major in the development and realization of the product.
Example questions to ask during the daily scrum
At the start of the meeting, the scrum master should gather everyone and ask questions to each participant.
The questions you ask during the daily scrum are the backbone of this meeting. They may vary depending on your organization, but there are 3 questions you should always include to your agenda.
- What did you do yesterday?
- What will you do today?
- Is there any kind of blocker for your tasks?
The answers should be kept short and to the point. The goal is to give a short status update to let everyone know where the others are and possibly coordinate their actions better.
If anything new makes it difficult or impossible to complete a given mission, it is important to communicate it to the team, and find who could solve the problem. This is especially important in the case of remote teams.
The 4 advantages of the daily scrum
The daily scrum has many advantages, both in terms of corporate communication and for the well-being of employees:
- It provides energy and motivation to scrum team members.
- It creates cohesion in the team: collaborators share their feelings, their progress and try to give advice to each other. The daily scrum is not the place to create controversies or debates.
- It makes sure that nobody goes in the wrong direction with regard to the sprint objective. In this sense, it promotes the empowerment and determination of the participants.
- Finally, the daily scrum guarantees the coordination of the team members' work. By presenting the daily tasks and the progress of each team member, it is easier to keep track of what still needs to be done to reach the final sprint goal.
Each team member must be heard. The average speaking time is estimated to be 1-2 minutes. Of course, the time can be lengthened or shortened depending on: the schedule, the project, the number of people in the team or the topics to be discussed.
How to organize a daily scrum?
Anticipate potential obstacles
Although the implementation of the daily scrum may seem extremely simple, several obstacles may arise during its implementation and hinder the progress of the sprint tasks. These obstacles may appear during the team's questioning.
Faced with any type of problem, the team, and, in particular, the Scrum Master (SM), are required to look for effective solutions. If the SM is not able to find an adequate solution, another reference person must be called upon.
The following list is composed of examples of obstacles that your team may encounter and that may prevent the daily scrum from running smoothly:
- Technical problems caused by a computer malfunction,
- Problems related to the use of software,
- Personal issues that may affect work,
- Communication problems and information sharing.
✅ Our advice: if the problem takes up time, it is better to postpone the discussion to a later date and in a different context. The daily scrum is primarily used to exchange and not to solve problems.
The daily scrum can be conducted in many ways, according to the team's preferences.
There is not really a fixed structure, and you are free to establish your own methodology and process!
7 rules to follow for the daily scrum
This daily meeting may still seem blurry, so here are a few tips from us to plan the perfect daily scrum:
- As indicated in its name, the daily scrum should be set up every day. However, depending on your team's organization and conditions, the frequency may vary. Sometimes, it is even more productive to hold this meeting every other day in order to have a more global follow-up of the team's effort.
- The daily scrum should be scheduled at a time that is convenient for all participants and should not be changed too often to avoid potential oversights by members.
- As the daily scrum is a short and dynamic meeting, it is recommended that all members keep standing.
- A visual aid such as a task board or storyboard is very important to have. Indeed, it is useful to see the current progress of each sprint task at a glance.
- We strongly advise you to always keep the meeting to a maximum of 15 minutes.
- As mentioned, the meeting is chaired by the Scrum Master, who acts as a mediator. The presence of this role avoids overlap or indecision as to who should speak.
- When speaking, it is a good idea for team members to focus on the relevance of the questions to the sprint objective.
The daily scrum: a must-have for all companies
Although it may seem to be a purely formal event, the daily scrum is actually an essential moment for the team. With an overview of the tasks performed the day before and the tasks to be performed during the current day, it is possible to give an insight into the progress of the sprint.
Beyond that, thanks to the continuous improvement and updates of the sprint, the daily scrum allows the synchronization of the team members' work and the improvement of motivation. Indirectly, it allows a case-by-case follow-up of all members.
In addition, the meeting helps to identify possible obstacles but also to visualize more clearly what is missing to reach the goal.
So what are you waiting for? Time to jump on board and hold your very own daily scrum meetings!