The Daily Stand-Up – You Are Doing It Wrong

What Everyone Is Doing

Most Scrum Teams that I know of are really missing the purpose of the daily stand-up.  It is treated as a status meeting that is used to provide some form of a status report to management usually via the scrum-master.  Afterall if management does not get a status report how will they know people are working.  The format is something like “This is what I did yesterday, This is what I plan to do today and I do not have any impediments”.  Further, if there are any impediments the daily stand-up is used to convey these to the Product Owner and Scrum-Master

What It Should Be

According to the Scrum Guide, the purpose of the daily stand-up is for the development team to plan how to accomplish the sprint goal.  In fact attendance by the Product Owner and Scrum Master is not required.  Therefore this should be a 15 minute, time-boxed, planning session on how to best go about getting the items that the team committed to completed by the end of the sprint.

An impediment is really only something that cannot be resolved within the team.  If a team member is struggling with any part of what they are working on they should ask for help from other team members.  The team working together to advance toward a goal is inherent in the phrase Scrum Team.  If you do not know where it came from, look up some videos online about rugby teams and their scrum (or scrummage) and you will get an understanding of why this name was selected and how it stresses that the team should function as a team.

A true impediment should be raised with the Product Owner and/or Scrum Master as soon as the impediment is realized.  Do not wait for the next daily stand-up.

How To Fix The Stand-Up

There are two paths to take.  First of all, if other parts of the organization are demanding status reports then the Product Owner needs to find a way to provide that status.  Keep in mind much of “status reports” are legacy business process left over from before Scrum was implemented.  Look for ways to move the rest of the organization into the Scrum/Agile mindset.  Stop asking for a status report as part of the stand-up and start asking about plans for success.

Second, try having the Product Owner and Scrum Master NOT attend the daily stand-up for a week