Most common mistakes in scrum ceremonies 4/7: the daily standup

Written by , in category Agile & Scrum

15 April 2013


Losing focus during the ceremony

The bigger your team gets, the harder it will be to make sure that everyone listens to the rest of the team, otherwise the whole idea of sharing knowledge and checking whether you can still meet the sprint goal is thrown out the window. In order to avoid everyone talking at the same time and losing focus during this very short meeting, it’s a good idea to have a physical object to indicate who is talking. One way of doing this is to pass around something that resembles a microphone. Another option is to always talk with a post-it in your hand. When you start explaining your learning, you pick the post-it of the task you want to share something about. This way you immediately create focus on this task. This also has a secondary benefit: if you are talking about something that is not related to the post-it you have in your hand, the team can point this out and this might result in a new post-it for the board.

Starting lots and finishing few tasks

The more ongoing work, the longer it will take to finish one of those items. And the more risk you take in not knowing if you will be able to reach the sprint goal. This is why teams should swarm around a small amount of stories and tasks in order to get those finished as fast as possible.

Interference with things that are not related to the real goal of the daily standup

Sometimes people take advantage of the fact that the entire team is assembled there to use this ceremony to announce general things that concern them. This can be the manager who comes over to talk about the new work policy, a stakeholder who comes over to give feedback about some story that was finished last sprint, some team members who start discussing the intricate details of one story they finished the day before. Although these types of information are very important, we want to keep those outside of the designated timebox for the daily standup. As soon as the goal of this ceremony is met, you can still ask people to stay there for what I’m used to calling a “second round”. During this one, team members can go into deep discussions, managers can announce things and all that stuff. At that point, the meeting has a new separate goal and this is no longer the daily standup. If some people are not interested in the topic to be discussed they are free to leave the meeting and continue their work.

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