+49 (0) 211 90 32 94 - 0 info@rising-systems.de

Thunder is good and impressive, but lightning does the work.

Mark Twain

5 Minutes of Reading

Daily Scrum

Every day the developers meet in a project to discuss what the actual status is and how they want to achieve the goal.

The meeting is a so-called Scrum Event and known as the Daily Scrum.

There are five Scrum Events in total, the Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective. All events are described in the Scrum Guide.

But how exactly does it work?

15 minutes Timebox

Like all other Scum events, the Daily Scrum is in a so-called “Timebox”. This means that the event cannot take up more time than allowed. But unlike the other Scrum events the length does not depend on the sprint length; it is always a maximum of 15 minutes. This is because it is not based on the sprint but on the day: You just discuss the next “24 hours” – with the goal in mind, of course.

But a Daily Scrum may end earlier. That is not unusual. It also has that in common with the other Scrum events–except for the Sprint. For the Sprint the Timebox is “strict”. A Sprint always has a fixed length and is neither shorter nor longer.

But what if you discover topics in the Daily that need a longer meeting? This is not a rare case either. Then you make an appointment for another meeting. The timebox does not mean that there must not be other arrangements.

The Daily Scrum is often sufficient and therefore reduces the need for other meetings.

Place and Time

Scrum is used for complex projects. Hence it is a good idea to minimize the complexity in the organization as much as possible, as the work itself is complex enough. It is therefore necessary to perform the Daily Scrum at the same time and place every day. This saves you having to ask when the daily is tomorrow and if which room is free, etc., because it is always the same.

There is a persistent prejudice that it should be a “stand-up” meeting–so all participants must stand during the Daily Scrum. Maybe because of the idea “who stands talks shorter” because it is uncomfortable. In fact, you can do a Daily Scrum in any position–and also via web conference. Regardless how comfortable your setup is, it is important to keep to the timebox.

Participants

All developers participate in the Daily Scrum. And that is it. Because the meeting should allow the developers to make the status transparent (Transparency), to inspect (Inspection) and to organize the work (Adoption). So, it’s all about transparency, inspection and adaptation: the three pillars on which empiricism is based on and therefore also Scrum, as an empirical process model. This also underlines the importance of Daily Scrum. It is not a status report, not a stakeholder meeting, but a working meeting to discuss how to achieve the goal.

Often the Scrum Master and the Product Owner also take part. But then as developers, as contributors.

But what if the Product Owner wants to have a status? Well, nobody prevents her or him from asking. But the Daily Scrum is sacrosanct.

Are they at least allowed to “be there”, even if not as active participants? That depends on whether the Daily Scrum is still positive and productive. The sense and purpose of the event shall not be endangered. Basically, it is not allowed. If the Scrum Team (in the specific constellation, including the Product Owner) is very mature, it can find other rules here–as so often. However, usually this maturity can rarely be reached within a few months.

The Procedure

The participants shape the concrete process. Teams often use “The Three Questions”:

  • What did you do yesterday to get closer to the sprint goal?
  • What are you doing today to reach the sprint goal?
  • Are there any impediments?

This is not a best practice, but perhaps a “best learning practice”: It may be an idea, but it is not a rule. In the context of self-management, developers can use any technique and choose any structure that helps them to share the status and plan their future work–with a clear focus on the goal.

The Daily Scrum thus ensures at least a daily communication.

Of course, as already explained, you can meet outside of the Daily Scrum and make arrangements for work and organization.

The Daily Scrum is, also with the Timebox, an event where quick decisions are encouraged.

The Scrum Master

What does the Scrum Master do? Those who have followed the above explanations so far know by now that the Scrum Master is not a participant of the Daily Scrum. However, he or she must ensure that the Daily Scrum takes place, runs positively and productively, and stays in the time box. For this purpose, the Scrum Master can “drop by” as long as this does not disturb the productivity and positivity.

Conclusion

The Daily Scrum is a productive meeting of the developers, which allows a synchronization in the project and the planning of the next 24 hours— within 15 minutes! It is the minimum requirement for daily work and aims to achieve a focus on the sprint goal. The Daily Scrum promotes self-management, communication, helps to identify impediments and make decisions faster–and leads to less (not no) need for coordination otherwise.

Sebastian Witzmann

Sebastian Witzmann

MBA

Our author studied law and holds a Master of Business Administration. He has been working in software development for over 20 years and has focused on agile product development. He is partner at rising systems and works there in holacratic structures. The company specializes in agile product and software development and has innovation deeply rooted in its DNA.