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Daily scrum: my way

February 25, 2008 1 comment

I’ve written before that the most important meeting of my day is the Daily Scrum. For those not aware of what Scrum is or the Daily Scrum check out http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/daily_scrum.

I’m sure every team has a slight variation on the way their scrum’s work but I thought I’d share how we do it.

At 10am every morning we have a stand up meeting by the whiteboard.

Daily Scrum whiteboard

From my fuzzy mobile phone picture you can see the task slips (or battleships as the team has referred to them). These are automatically created from the scrum excel template and provide an excellent visible guide on how the project is tracking. The five columns are Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, In Progress, Complete and Deferred.

So in the daily scrum meeting (4 developers, 1 Program Manager) we move the task slips and ask the three questions;what did you do yesterday, what are you doing today and what impediments are in your way.

Anything that requires in-depth discussion we talk about it away from the Scrum unless it will benefit it all. I also try to plan a half hour gap after the meeting to try and fix the impediments straight away.

All pretty much textbook stuff. What the books, blogs and website don’t really go into is personality which I think is key to making it work. A daily meeting can be a chore at best so also use the time to catch up as a team, talk about the weekend or things we get up to. It’s only for a couple of minutes but I think it’s good team bonding time. I also pass on any business updates or things I’m working on so they know what’s coming along in the pipeline. Be energetic in your discussions, monotony will make the process ultimately fail.

Another key is to fully explain the process and why it’s useful. In the Scrum try and get discussions going amongst the developers, it’s amazing some of the thoughts that can come out of a 2 minute discussion. Also as the project leader, the team needs to trust you, so the question isn’t “WHAT DID YOU DO YESTERDAY?” but more how is the project going and what successes or troubles are you facing. It is not a tool to push people harder.

We’ve now had hundreds of daily scrums and I don’t think there’s been one where it hasn’t been useful. We do stray away from the theory a little but we do still keep the meeting to within 15 minutes and the major elements are there. Just make sure you add energy and personality and enjoy the successes of a well informed team.

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