Daily meeting blues? How about shaking it up?


Whether you’ve just started agile with your teams or you’ve been doing it for a while, at some point people may question the value of the Daily Stand up, Daily Scrum or Daily meeting.  People start missing the meetings, arriving late, taking calls, the meetings go over the 15 minutes or start sounding more like a status report instead of the format that Scrum advised us to use.  Jason Yip blogged in Augustabout how to reevaluate the format, watch for patterns and offers some techniques on how to improve them.  There are some great tips here if you want to keep the same format.

This has been the standing Daily Stand up format:
  1.     What did I accomplish yesterday?
  2.     What will I do today?
  3.     What obstacles are impeding my progress?

If the meeting isn’t working for the team anymore, it should come up in the retrospective.  But, if it doesn’t, the scrum master should probe into this directly to get the team to find out WHY it’s not working.  Before revamping meetings or canceling them, always always always find out why first.  There may be a totally different reason than you know and asking the team may be a revelation to you and to the team on how to fix it.

If you’ve ruled out basic things like attendees, room location, tangents and the format just doesn’t work for your team. I’m here to suggest a small simple change.

As each person speaks, they state only the following:
“Today my plan is to _______.”  and if needed followed by “and I will need ____ today to do it.”

This captures their responsibility both for the work they will own today and help they need today.  It’s a simple change but as their Scrum Master, you should listen for ambiguity, overlapping work or people without clear direction so that you can follow up with them to offer help and/or their manager with feedback.

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