You’ve probably heard the term Scrum before in Agile project management. You’ve also probably heard of daily Scrums. But, do you really know what they are and why they are important?
Scrum, in a nutshell, is a type of Agile framework that is used in order to complete projects of different sizes. It focuses on the values of the customer and how to organize and deliver those values. Because of how it is structured, it is very useful for complex projects with many features to build and implement.
There’s a certain process that is followed in Scrum. This process includes:
- Product Backlog – a list of tasks with user-stories prepared and prioritized by the product owner
- Sprint Planning – selecting tasks from the product backlog to be worked on
- Sprints – performing work in two to four-week iterations
- Daily Scrums – fifteen-minute daily stand-up meetings
- Sprint Review – demonstrating working software and obtaining feedback from stakeholders
- Sprint Retrospectives – reviewing successes and failures to determine how things can be done better moving forward
You will notice in this list that daily Scrums also known as daily stand-ups are included in the process of Scrum. These daily Scrums are sometimes taken for granted and can also be misinterpreted. However, daily Scrums are very important and necessary during a sprint to make sure the team is moving towards their sprint goal.
The daily Scrum is a time-boxed fifteen-minute stand-up meeting between the development team. It is meant for the team to check in and state what they accomplished the day before, what they will be working on today and what blocks are impeding their progress. A Scrum Master can help facilitate the meeting but this stand-up is mainly for the development team. Other team members can be present such as the project manager but the PM is more of a spectator and meant to take note of any blockers the team is experiencing to help remove those for them.
So why are daily scrums so important?
- It gives a snapshot view on the progress of the team and how they are doing in their sprint
- It allows the team to review and adapt the sprint backlog
- It gives insight on how quickly the team is moving through their assigned tickets
- It helps the team to coordinate the work being done and to plan their days
- Progress in the sprint is managed to make sure everyone is still on track with meeting the sprint goal
- It gives an early indicator on if the team will complete their sprint on time or if there will be unfinished tasks at the end of the sprint
- The team members can discuss any blockers that might be preventing them from completing their tasks that need to be dealt with
As you can see the daily Scrums are essential in keeping the team on track and making sure the sprints are moving forward smoothly. This is why they should not be skipped. Communication is a major factor in success and the daily Scrum helps keep the communication lines open within the team.
Below is a chart that shows a simple flow of how the daily Scrums should be conducted. They should always be time-boxed and happen every day at the same time and place.
At Grata we strive to conduct daily Scrums for all of our projects. However, the methods vary depending on the client and team. For example, one of our daily Scrums are held every day at 11:30 a.m. via GoToMeeting where the team has the ability to share their screens, so everyone is connected through video and audio since the team’s locations vary. We’ve also automated one of our daily Scrums using geekbot and slack that asks all of the team members the three questions seen in the process chart above. The answers get posted for everyone in that team to review and see if there is anything that needs to be addressed further.
No matter the approach you select for your daily Scrums, remember to be consistent with them to really get the value out of having them.
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Jarrell, J. (2016, May 20). Scrum Master Fundamentals – Foundations. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/scrum-master-fundamentals-foundations/table-of-contents
O’Connell, K. (2017, July 18). Scrum Advanced. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://www.lynda.com/Business-Skills-tutorials/Scrum-Advanced/550574-2.html
Starr, D. (2012, October 23). Scrum Fundamentals. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from https://app.pluralsight.com/library/courses/scrum-fundamentals/table-of-content