What is the Purpose of a Daily Scrum Meeting?

Many times, people will complain that their Daily Scrum meeting has turned into a status meeting for the Scrum Master, Product Owner or management. They are aware this is a problem since they remember from training that the primary purpose of the Daily Scrum meeting is to “synchronize” the activities of the team, or as Ken Schwaber puts is its “an opportunity for the group to socialize and synchronize.”

Perhaps the best article available to improve your Daily Scrum meeting is Jason Yip's "It's Not Just Standing Up: Patterns for Daily Stand-up Meetings". Here Yip begins by being a little more explicit about the goals of a Daily Scrum:

  • To help start the day well
  • To support improvement
  • To reinforce focus on the right things
  • To reinforce the sense of team
  • To communicate what is going on

The purpose of the Daily Scrum is summarized by the GIFTS mnemonic:

  • Good start: the meeting should give energy to the team, not take it. Energy comes from instilling a sense of purpose and urgency.
  • Improvement: exposing problems to allow us to improve. Improvement is also about sharing better techniques and ideas.
  • Focus: on moving work through the system in order to achieve our objectives, not encourage pointless activity.
  • Team: effective teams are the result of regularly communicating, working, and helping each other, as well as over-coming shared obstacles.
  • Status: in terms of “how is our work progressing?” and “is there anything else the team should know?”

And then there is “status” in terms of transparent reporting on progress using tools such as the Sprint Burn-down. While we are committed to providing this information, may also use the information to help during the Daily Scrum, this type of status is a side-effect of a good meeting.

If your Daily Scrum meetings have turned into a status meeting without the benefits of providing a good start, working on improvements, focus and the team, then Yip's article is a good source of ideas to work the issue. Step 1 is to decide that you are going to bring back the Daily Scrum to its original purpose.

One final point on the Daily Scrum. The latest edition of the Scrum Guide by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber suggest that the 3 questions used be changed slightly:

  • What did I do yesterday that helped the Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • What will I do today to help the Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the Team from meeting the Sprint Goal?

The idea is to remind the team that they are focusing on the Goal they have established.

Want to Know More?

Another useful resource is Miller's view of common stand-up meeting anti-patterns which also talks about common solutions to these anti-patterns.

And for a little humor on the subject see Chet Rong - The Worlds Worst Agile Coach on Standups.

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  • Last modified: 2016/12/23 11:35
  • by Hans Samios