A. Sharif

Start Being Creative With Your Daily

21 Jul 2014

be creative!

The daily is an essential part of the scrum experience. The team including scrum master and eventually product owner meet everyday to discuss what happened since the last daily, identifying possible roadblocks and the tasks each and every single member will commit to.

The theory says every team member answers three questions: “What have I done yesterday?”, “Are there any impediments / road blockers in my way?” and “What will I do today?” The three questions per se are not bad or up for discussion, this is what the theory prescribes. A team transforming from a waterfall to a more agile approach will need guidelines, and the above are excellent. It's like a guide, where you can get used to the process and start adapting an agile state of mind (whatever that really means).

But what if a team is already agile to the bone, knows nothing else than scrum and has been doing this for some time now? The three questions might start to rather hinder than support the team. Answering these three questions might become boring, predictable and first and foremost frustrating.

Scrum itself always promotes the idea that one should start by doing it by the book, then slowly start experimenting and finally adapt the framework to what suits a team, culture, company best.

Adding dynamic to your daily:

a.) Rename The Daily

The daily might be associated with something negative over time, renaming the daily as part of the adaption could prove to be helpful. This strategy must be combined with real change of course, otherwise this will have no effect whatsoever. Imagine this as some internal rebranding. Lay emphasis on the fact that this is more than the “same old same old” and signal change.

b.) Let The Team Decide

Instead of letting a scrum master or other non team members decide how a daily should run, you could consider having the team decide what the daily should accomplish, how the daily should take place, what should be solved etc. For example have the team decide on a set of rules and goals and write them down. Hang the rules up on a poster so everybody can read them, make the daily rituals visible. But also make sure that this is a dynamic process, some rules might prove to be ineffective and should be removed or new goals can be added over time when this seems suitable. See this as a point in time set of definitions, that should support the team to unfold their potential.

c.) Focus On The Outcome

The daily should never be a status meeting, it should keep the team synchronized. Instead of answering the aforementioned three questions, why not focus on what has to be done from a team perspective. Where are we from a sprint point of view, what needs to be done to reach the commitment and what roadblocks need to be removed? With that, we entirely focus on the status quo, which means: what do we need to do to fulfil our commitment? The team only takes care of the tasks left, and the team might even discuss who will do what as a collective, instead of every single team member committing to certain tasks without consulting with the other team members.

Of course every change will fail if the daily is misused as a certain control mechanism, where its sole purpose is to see who is doing what and who is not delivering as expected. Every attempt to change the status quo will also fail if a company's reality is all about process over people.

Experimenting with new ways to be more effective can never be wrong. If it does not prove as effective one can always do it by the book and try out a new experiment when new ideas for optimization appear on the horizon later on.

At the end of the day it should be all about what suits the team best, what makes the team most effective.