The scope of the Daily Scrum

The scope of the Daily ScrumThis post is a discussion about scope of the Daily Scrum. Scope is considered in terms of meeting duration time, participants and discussion topics. Emphasis is particularly put on discussion topics. The general assumption is following The Scrum Guide™[1]. Scrum is a framework and allows us to suit it for an exact Scrum Team characteristics. We will cover here what is worth to include and what is not on the Daily Scrum meeting.

The Daily Scrum basics

The Scrum Guide™ says [1]:
The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours. This is done by inspecting the work since the last Daily Scrum and forecasting the work that could be done before the next one. The Daily Scrum is held at the same time and place each day to reduce complexity.

These are the fundamental scope factors of the Daily Scrum we will cover:

  • Participants
  • Discussion topics

The Daily Scrum participants

We are investigating the following participants groups:

Development team

All development team members have to participate in this meeting.

Scrum Master

According to the official Scrum Guide[1] SM does not have to be on the Daily Scrum. SM has to ensure that this meeting takes place and development team know how to conduct it. However, it is recommend when SM is on this daily meeting.

Product Owner

Scrum Guide tells us: The Scrum Master enforces the rule that only Development Team members participate in the Daily Scrum [1].

PO in not part of the Development Team. Does is prevent presence of PO? It does not. Participation and presence have different meanings. Participating means getting into discussion and influencing the team. PO can not interrupt and drive change in team’s decisions. PO can observe team discussion in a listen-only mode. It may give PO an implementation’s progress overview.

External people

Scrum does not provide advice how to handle external people. If external people appear on the meeting they should be some kind of experts cooperating with a team. The Daily Scrum is a very short meeting with a well defined purpose and it is dedicated to the Development Team. The Scrum Team is self-organized and does not need external commands and interruptions. Expert could be external for several reasons. This can be for example an architect in a company shared by some teams or an outsourced expert in UI/UX. Communication with such people is necessary on a certain level. Their participation in the Daily Scrum will be especially appropriate when the whole team needs to meet with the them.

The Daily Scrum discussion topics

This is the point in which the scope comes into the main consideration. Following the Scrum Guide [1] we can discuss only topics related to the current Sprint Goal. Is it really a violation of Scrum if on the Daily Scrum we will sometimes mention issues related to our work but necessarily connected to our daily update? This can be considered as a time optimization. The purpose of Scrum is eliminating meetings exceeding those defined in the Scrum Guide [1]. Assuming we fit in 15 minutes and topic does matter to our work, we can carefully consider including this discussion into the Daily Scrum. Why? Organizing additional meeting only because of a need to announce something will be more timewasting than including it into daily meeting. If you decide to do it, you need to moderate it. Longer and excessive discussions may fit in 15 minutes in a small team. However, it can have negative results when a team gets bigger. Again, Scrum is a framework and it needs to be correctly adjusted for a certain team in a given time. Agile requires continuous inspection and adaptation. If you see an opportunity in those 15 minutes and the topic is related to current work just use the time to proceed with the topic. Organizing another meeting produces more overhead and confusion. Every participant should book a quarter of an hour regardless of usual meeting duration. If a meeting quits earlier - that is fine. Be careful, extending daily discussion into off-topics will be harmful. Take care of appropriate audience of a meeting. The Daily Scrum is a meeting for all members of a the Development Team. If a topic is not addressed to all of them then it should not be included in this kind of meeting.

Resources

[1] http://www.scrumguides.org/docs/scrumguide/v1/scrum-guide-us.pdf

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