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Home -> Development -> Daily Scrum Meeting
ATL - Daily Scrum Meeting

Daily Scrum Meeting

On each day of a sprint, the team holds daily meetings (“the daily scrum”). Meetings are typically held in the same location and at the same time each day. Ideally the daily scrums are held in the morning as they help set the context for the coming day's work.

There is an old joke in which a chicken and a pig are talking and the chicken says, "Let's start a restaurant." The pig replies, "Good idea, but what should we call it?" "How about 'Ham and Eggs'" says the chicken. "No thanks," says the pig, "I'd be committed, you'd only be involved." The joke is meant to point out the difference between those who are committed on a project and those who are only involved. Scrum affords special status to those who are committed and many teams enforce a rule in which only those who are committed are allowed to talk during the daily scrum.

All team members are required to attend the daily scrum. Since both the ScrumMaster and Product Owner are committed team members, they are expected to attend and participate. Anyone else (for example, a departmental VP, a salesperson, or a developer from another project) is allowed to attend but is there only to listen. This makes the daily scrums an excellent way for a Scrum team to disseminate status information--if you're interested in hearing where things are at, attend that day's meeting.

The daily scrum is not used as a problem-solving or issue resolution meeting. Issues that are raised are taken offline and usually dealt with by the relevant sub-group immediately after the daily scrum. During the daily scrum each team member provides answers to the following three questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. Are there any impediments in your way?

By focusing on what each person accomplished yesterday and will accomplish today the team gains an excellent understanding of what work has been done and what work remains. The daily scrum is not a status update meeting in which a boss is collecting information about who is behind schedule. Rather, it is a meeting in which team members make commitments to each other. If a programmer stands up and says "Today I will finish the data storage module" everyone knows that in tomorrow's meeting he will say whether or not he did finish. This has the wonderful effect of helping a team realize the significance of these commitments and that their commitments are to each other, not to some far-off customer or salesman.

Any impediments that are raised become the ScrumMaster's responsibility to resolve as quickly as possible. Typical impediments are:

  • My ____ broke and I need a new one today.
  • I still haven't got the software I ordered a month ago.
  • I need help debugging a problem with ______.
  • I'm struggling to learn ______ and would like to pair with someone on it.
  • I can't get the vendor's tech support group to call me back.
  • Our new contractor can't start because no one is here to sign her contract.
  • I can't get the ____ group to give me any time and I need to meet with them.
  • The department VP has asked me to work on something else "for a day or two."

In cases where the ScrumMaster cannot remove these impediments directly himself (e.g., usually the more technical issues) he still takes responsibility for making sure someone on the team does quickly resolve the issue.

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