Don’t Hold Back Your Daily Scrum Meetings
Sometimes the daily scrum meetings get a bad rap, some argue it’s an outdated practice and a waste of time. This is not your classical article about how a daily scrum is structured. If you need that, Mike Cohn explains it very well here. It’s rather about why this ritual is important and what can it prevent.
Those 15 minutes of sync and alignment, about what the team needs to work on and clear out misunderstandings / missed understanding, are gold.
I purposely wrote misunderstanding because of people’s preference to choose assumption instead of clarification. And missed understanding as we usually tend to miss out on critical information because we don’t know what we don’t know.
While preparing for a daily meeting, ask yourself “Who needs to know more of what I know?”. No one else has the same perspective as you do about your work. If you spot something on the way, share your insights. So that others don’t have to wait for discovery and inspiration to magically strike.
This doesn’t mean people can ramble and talk nonsense for hours. Or use the daily as a replacement for communicating with your colleagues. It means, that if during the daily meeting you believe some colleagues need to know more info about your work, share it. Don’t wait to be asked for it.
The most common situation I spotted was that a lot of times people are in the ‘captain obvious’ mindset. For example, if it is in Jira, everybody knows about my task right? Or, If I uploaded the documentation in Confluence, of course people know about it just because it’s obvious you go there for that information. We have specific deploy procedures, of course, everyone knows about it, right?
No. It’s not obvious. Just because you do something new, it doesn’t mean that others are thinking about it. Or that they know what you know. If there is a fear of sounding redundant, you can start with: “You may know this already, but just in case, I wanted to share this because it could help create better outcomes.”.
Asking for help is harder than it may seem. But stubbornly refusing not to share the ‘pain’ is counterproductive and keeping the progress of the team’s goals at bay. If you tried different ideas to unblock your work and they weren’t successful, raise the issue in the daily, while the priorities of the day are checked and people can easily squeeze in time in for helping you.
Take advantage of daily scrum meetings
I believe that as a Scrum Master is important to see the communication and wording patterns in the team. The daily scrum meetings are the best moment to observe the team members, as almost every one is sharing the spotlight and speaking up. Besides being a teacher, preacher, protector, coach and wearing different hats, you sometimes need to help your team members with phrasing and sharing descriptive intentions in daily interactions.
The faster you discover potential challenges, the easier is to prevent conflicts and to coordinate efforts to resolve difficult and/or time-consuming issues. With all of the constant change and rapid pace in software development, investing 15 minutes has an important ROI for the team’s progress.