Running an efficient Daily scrum

As an Agile Scrum Manager, you would be familiar with the daily chores of dragging in the development team (sometimes by their feet) in to do a daily standup. Depending on the size of the team, you could be spending up to 20 minutes, or even more, if a developer decides to go into a rat-hole and discuss the deep complexities of a Swift class. You can't help but wonder if it's all worth it? Are you really making the most of everyone's time doing this? Well that depends on how it's conducted.

A rugby scrum

A rugby scrum

The premise of a daily scrum during a sprint (usually in the morning) is to set the context of the day's work, and ideally are meant to be capped at 15 minutes. That's one thing that needs to be heavily disciplined, otherwise everyone gets restless.

I usually have a timer, and if we have five people in the scrum, set a clock of three minutes per person, with time for the product owner to talk at the end. 

Secondly, you need to ensure everyone is there, but only the revenant people (that is developers) talk. And it's not problem-solving time, so don't spend time resolving the problems, but take it off-line and resolve. 

Using Jira, print out (or bring your iPad) you present the board of active sprint tasks, and each developer answers three questions: 

  • What did you do yesterday? 
  • What are you doing today?
  • Any issues blocking your work?

An important yet commonly under-appreciated benefit of daily scrums, is that when one developer is answering the questions just mentioned, it provides the potential for other developers whom are working in the same area to raise some concerns if there could be some code-impact, or encroachment. Important point, when one person talks, make sure everyone is paying attention and respect, because it could impact them.

Do you have any other tips for how you run your sprints? Drop me a line.