The main purpose of the Daily Scrum is for team members to make and follow-up on commitments to one another that work towards the team’s shared sprint commitment. If your Daily Scrum has become unfocused, too long, or otherwise ineffective, here are seven ways to get it back on track.
1. Do it around the task board. Have team members point at stories and tasks on the task board as they talk about their work. This keeps the focus on work for the sprint and makes it obvious when the talk becomes unrelated to the sprint.
2. Change the questions. In “One Word Can Change Your Daily Scrum” I described a way I like to change the three Daily Scrum questions to focus the team on getting things done.
3. Don’t show up. If your Daily Scrum has turned into a status report to the ScrumMaster, try taking a few days off. Let the team report to each other instead of you. Aaron Sanders has more here. Less dramatic ways to have the same effect are avoiding eye contact or stepping outside the circle. But sometimes dramatic is necessary to shake things up.
4. Don’t talk. If you’re not taking sprint tasks, you don’t need to answer the three questions. Emphasize that by not talking at all during the Daily Scrum. Use non-verbal communication when necessary, but keep your mouth shut.
5. Use a parking lot. There are legitimate things for a team to talk about in the morning that don’t fit the tightly-defined purpose of the Daily Scrum. Use a parking lot (i.e. a flip chart or section of a whiteboard) to capture those topics. Address them right after the Daily Scrum is over. You can even let team members add items to the parking lot outside of the meeting to be addressed in the next “parking lot time.” That way, they’re not trying to remember their parking lot topic when they should be paying attention to the Daily Scrum.
6. Actually stand. It shouldn’t be necessary for us to stand to have a short, high-energy meeting, but it really seems to help. If your team has started sitting for the Daily Scrum and it’s running longer than 15 minutes, it might be time to try standing again. Set an example by standing for the whole meeting, and maybe ask one or two influential team members to do the same. Combining this with #1 makes it feel less awkward.
7. Pass a token. Jason Yip describes how introducing randomness and play into the Daily Scrum by tossing a ball to the next person to speak can add energy to the meeting.
What else have you done to keep your Daily Scrum effective? Share in the comments.