The actors guide to the Daily Scrum ;)

I would like to share some thoughts and reflections on the experience I got when teams (especially new ones) “perform” the Daily Scrum. But before we do that let’s take a look at the Scrum Guide what it says about this ceremony:

  • It’s time-boxed to 15 minutes
  • It’s an event done by all members of the development team
  • In this the team will synchronize the activities and create a plan how to move on till the next Daily Scrum
  • It takes place every day at the same place at the same time
  • During the Daily Scrum each member of the development team has to answer the following questions
    • What have I done since the last Daily Scrum?
    • What will I do till the next Daily Scrum?
    • Did I observe any impediments since the last Daily Scrum?

There are some more details in the Scrum Guide about the Daily Scrum but for now it’s ok. I will come to it later.

Performing the Daily Scrum

When teams are “performing” their Daily Scrum I often see that the development team members are reporting to the Scrum Master or the Product Owner (or some high level managers or what ever). That’s not the intention of the Daily Scrum. It’s a special meeting from the development team for the development team. It’s public and everybody is allowed to attend but only committed people (in this case the development team and the Scrum Master) are allowed to talk. But it’s not a report meeting where each development team member justify what he or she has done. And it’s not a spoken word performance only. It’s also about interaction.

Confucius and the stages of learning

For me the first important point is the visual interaction. As a Scrum Master you should take care that the “performer” is looking at everyone else (and changes the person he or she is looking at from time to time). This creates a closer relationship between each other and makes them feeling as part of a team. If you are only reporting to a single guy it doesn’t create such relationship. The other important thing is when the development team is performing a spoken word performance only. Here is what Confucius said about knowledge and learning:

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

So if the team is only talking and talking it’s the first stage of Confucius’ stages of knowledge and learning which is about hearing and forgetting so the most things will be handled with less attention. But how to avoid that – and this is pretty easy. In all cases I’ve seen the Daily Scrum takes place in front of the Scrum Board. So each performer should interact with it moving the tasks from one column to another or pointing at a task which will be continued after the Daily Scrum, adding new stuff or removing something. In this case people will look at the performer, following his movements and listen to him. In front of brain science it’s way more better for the observer because they have to link what they see and what they hear. And the visual element makes it easier to follow especially when many tasks are moving. So interaction is leading to Confucius’ second stage of knowledge and learning. Here’s a short summary:

  • Each development team member should look at each other during their speaking time
  • Each development team member should interact with the Scrum Board and the team while talking
  • Moving is also a good energizer  and good to attract attention

If an interaction with the Scrum Board is impossible it’s a good sign that’s something’s not on the board 

I hope that helps.

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Björn Jensen

Björn Jensen

Björn hilft als Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) und Certified Team Coach (CTC) Teams und Organisationen dabei, in ihrem Kontext die Methode zu etablieren, die dort sinnvoll ist und in der sich alle involvierten Akteure wiederfinden. Dabei greift er auch immer wieder auf seine reichhaltige Erfahrung aus dem Handwerk, der Software-Entwicklung, dem Projektmanagement und der Organisationsentwicklung zurück. Mehr über Björn
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