Sunday, March 4, 2012

Daily scrum misconception, scrum meeting objectives and different stages of meeting

I talk a lot about scrum. Many times when I speak I hear people saying that they are also doing scrum and they have daily scrum status updates. No other ceremony is so blatantly misused. It’s a misconception that scrum is only about stand ups. I have seen a project manager doing a scrum update with a big team, the status update itself took 1 hour, and the information passed was so huge that nobody remembers anything. By the time the last person updated his “status” the first person would be sleeping. Starting a daily meeting and asking for status update does not falls under Scrum. Many are thinking about “what are the scrum meetings rules” rather than thinking about “why do we need this meeting”. I prefer calling this as Scrum Planning meeting.

This is the planning meeting for the day. I can add the following objectives to the meeting
  • To see if the team is on the correct path, will they complete the committed task if not what changes should be made to accomplish the objective.
  •  Discuss and take actions on the risks faced by the team in meeting the commitments.
Apart from this status update mentality there are some dysfunctions also which should be avoided.

  1. Coming to meeting un-prepared - I have seen many occasions when team members come to meeting without any preparation. They are even unaware of the tasks which they are supposed to work on. 
  2. Big team - Having a meeting with teams bigger than 8-10 people is not effective. The complexity of communication will be huge & time consuming. There will be a high risk of meeting being derailed
  3. Status updates mentality - In many meeting team updates the status of work, there will not be any information about the task to be taken next. They end up updating this information to Scrum Master, Product Owner or other managers if they are present  
  4. The manager Product Owners Many managers are transitioned as Product Owners. They find this meeting as a forum for status update. They go around each one and ask the updates.

  
Even though daily scrum is time-boxed for 15 minutes, there are some pre & post actions which every team should consider.

Stages of a Scrum meeting

Pre – Planning
  • Before the Scrum meeting at least 15 minutes should be spend updating the task boards and other metrics if any. 
  • If any doubt regarding the types of tasks to be pulled then it should be cleared before the actual meeting.
  • If all the committed tasks are finished then team should plan to work on the next item from backlog. They can even do some research work on the items in the product backlog.  
Actual Scrum planning meeting
This is the actual scrum planning meeting
Follow the rules @ http://thetechjungle.blogspot.com/2012/03/daily-scrum-meeting-rules.html

Post Planning actions.
During scrum team might bring something of importance to notice which needs further action/discussions. All such meetings and follow-ups should be taken as the post scrum meeting actions.
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