What is Daily Scrum Call or Stand-up Meeting 

Daily Scrum meeting is also called can Scrum call or Standup meeting. This meeting owned by the Scrum team happens mostly during the beginning of every day. Should last for a max of 15 minutes. Where the development team members discuss the work they have done and make the strategy work for the day. They highlight the impediments if any. This meeting ideally takes place at the same time and same place. For a co-located team all the participants stand in front of the physical scrum board (ideally the task board) and talk story by story or person by person, Scrum Master facilitates and takes ownership of any impediments or provides updates with the presence of PO. Though its majorly known as the daily scrum call, both Scrum and Kanban teams ideally conduct this agile ceremony.

We will discuss in detail the daily scrum call on each and every part of it in this article.

Basic Rules of Daily Scrum Call.

  • This meeting own by the Team not by Scrum Master or Product Owner.
  • It’s not a Status update meeting
  • This meeting should not exceed 15 minutes.
  • This meeting should be conducted every working day, at beginning of the day
  • This meeting should place at the same place and same time every day.
  • All development team members must attend the meeting, even if they don’t have any pending work. Scrum Master and Product owner are optional. But it’s good to have the presence of the entire Scrum team.
  • If the team (or majority of the team member) is co-located, all team members should stand up for 15 minutes.
  • The team should talk about

>> What they have worked on yesterday
>> What they are planning to do today, and Make the strategy for the day.
>> If there are any blockers or impediments, that stop the team to work.

Daily Scrum Call – Good Practices and what to avoid

Good Practices

  1. Rules: Follow and stick to the Rules of the Daily scrum call as mentioned above
  2. State Your Name: Everyone Please state your name before you start talking about your tasks.
  3. Speak Loud: So everyone can pay attention, to who is physically present near the speaker or on the Phone.
  4. Working from Home? : Please attend the bridge
  5. Task Remaining Hours: Update the task remaining hours before starting your DSM. To have the board populated properly and actual burn down.
  6. Burndown Chart: Scrum Master please check the burn-down after the end of DSM every day, and take action if required
  7. Long discussion items: Park the long discussion at the sidebar for core hour discussion (After DSM). its also called the 16th Minute discussion item
  8. Team member on Planned Leave: Is any team member on Plan Leave? Please send the information to peers by end of your last working day.
  9. Distributed team: Open a bridge and screen sharing: Share your screen with ALM open and point your mouse on the task you are talking about.
  10. DSM Duration: Try to complete the Scrum call/standup meeting in 15 Minutes.
  11. After the Scrum call:  quick check on individual load, and take appropriate action in case of overloading to avoid risk.
  12. Keep a note: Keep a quick Note for all the tasks you want to talk about, that will help you quickly discuss the points. Instead of spending time to remember it during DSM or searching the entire board
  13. Impediments: Talk about all the impediments and resolution, and the risk to meeting the commitment. 
  14. Cell Phone: Please get yourself detached from your cell phone for 15 minutes.

Avoid

  1. Avoid interference of anyone outside of the scrum team during that 15 minutes.
  2. Use of term “Status” or “Update”.It’s Not a Status update meeting.
  3. Avoid technical discussion during DSM –  Park it for Core Hour discussion.
  4. Avoid Requirement Clarification that may take a long time – Park it for Core Hour Discussion, or the next grooming session. Or Conduct an immediate grooming session
  5. Avoid Side discussions, focus on the active discussion for Daily Scrum
  6. Avoid change of the meeting time
  7. Provide your update to the entire team. Avoid giving updates to Scrum Master or Product Owner or any limited number of team members.
  8. Avoid losing focus or being distracted, even if you don’t have anything to contribute. If you are part of the meeting put your 100% to listen and understanding (if not speaking). Stay top on the ALM tool (may on a shared screen), or Physical board

Participants of Daily Scrum Call or Daily Standup Meeting

Scrum calls are primarily owned by the development team. so it’s very important all the development team should participate in this meeting very religiously. However, The participation of Scrum Master and product owner make the meeting more fruitful and effective. So to have the presence of all three roles (as mentioned below) is definitely a good practice.

Participants of daily scrum call or stand up meeting (in Moscow

  • All development team members (must attend)
  • Scrum Master (should attend)
  • Product Owner (Could attend)
  • one (Won’t)

Let’s try to understand the basic responsibility of the three primary Scrum roles during daily scrum calls.

Scrum Roles and responsibility during daily scrum calls or daily stand up meetings

Development Team Responsibility during Daily Scrum Call or Stand-up Meeting.

Individually 

  1. Talk about the three agenda
    •  What did you do yesterday
    • What are you planning to do today
    • Are there any impediments, blocking your progress
  2. Join the call on time, without delay. every day
  3. Give the task updates to all team members, not to scrum master or any selective team member
  4. Give your task update to your peer, in case you feel that you will not able to attend the Daily scrum call on time, or will be on leave or vacation. You don’t need to give updates every day when you are on vacation. give the update on your last working day before vacation.
  5. Give the task updates of any peer member in case they or on leave or vacation.
  6. Update remaining hours against each task before daily scrum call. So that you can utilize the scrum call time effectively.
  7. Make small notes of all the tasks that you want to talk about, or any other associated details. In the 15-minute time box, if you spend time searching for information, people may lose focus, and the team will waste time on unnecessary activity. And if you are having your daily scrum call in front of the physical board, you may not have your PC or notebook accessible.
  8. Refer to individual remaining work and days remaining in the sprint. Raise your voice if you think it’s getting difficult to complete the task within the sprint. consult with your peer member and find out the best possible solution. take preventive action rather than corrective.
  9. Move your task card in your task board, from one column to another based on your scrum board workflow and the task’s story card.
  10. Ask Product Owner related to any small question regarding requirement understanding. Remember If the discussion will take a longer time, park it for your core hour discussion or 16th-minute discussion.

As a Team

  1. Check the burn-down chart, and find out if the team’s progress is at risk. make a strategy for the day and the rest of the sprint duration.
  2. Re-assign tasks to normalize overloading. and keep a balance between task effort allocation and the remaining days of the sprint
  3. Think together, plan and act accordingly to complete the story as a whole, not the individual task. Even if one task remains incomplete, the story will be treated as incomplete. So when you are making a strategy of which task who will work when being careful of the sequential tasks.  A testing task can start when the development task is completed, So if you only think about only your task of development and think you can complete the task before the end of the sprint’s last day, then the tester will not be able to get time to test your change. And if there are any defects raised by the tester, the developer needs to fix them and followed them by re-verification.

Scrum Master’s Responsibility during Daily Scrum Call or Stand-up Meeting.

The Scrum Master is treated as a local coach for the team. till the time team is not getting mature enough to run in a self-organized fashion, Scrum Master drives the daily scrum call and continuously focuses on maturing the team, so that they can become self-organized. Along with that, a Scrum Master also has the below-mentioned responsibilities.

  1. Based on team composition, and distribution, find the best time and place to conduct this 15-minute discussion and schedule a recurring meeting with the scrum team including the product owner. preferable morning time of developers time zone.
  2. Facilitate the scrum call, and let the team drive it by them. Make sure the team is following the scrum call rules.
  3. protect the call from outsider interference
  4. stop the long-running discussion and park it for a 16th-minute discussion. Also, let those open discussions happen after daily scrum calls.
  5. Enforce on-time start and end of the meeting.
  6. Make sure the team is covering all the items in progress. And if any story can come in progress.
  7. Check if anyone is overloaded or under-occupied and ask the team to balance it.
  8. Have a quick look at the burndown chart and identify potential slippage of commitment. and take proactive action.
  9. Take ownership of impediments and give updates on them everyday Daily scrum call
  10. Ask the product owner to verify the completed stories (if any) to mark it done.
  11. Ensure the team is following the definition of Done.
  12. Ensure the story cards and task cards in the scrum board represents the right states of the sprint progress.

Product Owner’s Responsibility during Daily Scrum Call or Stand-up Meeting.

Products Owners are not mandatory for daily scrum calls, However, I encourage having Product Owners present in daily scrum calls. That will help him to understand what is happening during the sprint. And also the team member can give heads up on the doubts they have and needs to discuss in detail. Mainly to remove any gap in requirement understanding.

Scrum Master or team can update about the stories to product owner those are completed and ready to review.

The product owner can update about any impediments that he/she is resolving.

Purpose of daily scrum call or Daily Standup Meeting

  1. Increase Team coordination, and work together to meet a common goal.
  2. Increase transparency of Sprint’s progress, dependencies, and Risks.
  3. Increase the opportunity to take proactive decisions.
  4. Increase Team bonding and self-organization
  5. Identify road blockers in advance and act accordingly.
  6. Make a strategy for the day.

Why Stand up?

The daily stand-up meeting is also known as a “daily scrum”, a “daily huddle”, and “morning roll-call”.  is practically a quick synchronization meeting with an individual team. Traditionally the scrum team mostly used to be collocated. where the team used to gather together at one place during the morning time for 15 minutes for a daily stand-up meeting in front of the physical board. they used to keep standing and share their updates within the team. The main reason for conducting this meeting being standing up is to keep the focus on the main agenda of the daily stand-up. The team avoids long discussion, and restrict external interference. Now in modern days, the Scrum teams started working from distributed locations, they refer to digital scrum boards and rarely get a chance to meet with each other by a person. So standing up does not make much sense from their own desk. The name of the meeting is become changing from “Daily Stand-up-meeting” to Daily Scrum Call” or “Daily Huddle”.I will still emphasize conducting this Scrum called, Standing up if your team members are co-located, or mostly co-located.

Scrum Call Approach for Distributed and Co-located team?

Co-Located Team, You may be part of a co-located agile team, or distributed agile team. In both cases, the overall rules, roles, and responsibilities will remain the same. The co-located team gets the advantage to gather physically for daily huddles, most of the time they use a Physical Scrum Board or Kan-ban Board. Nowadays all teams are getting digital, by using ALM tools like Rally, Jira, Version on, etc. and the use of the Physical board is fading out eventually. During Daily Scrum, These team members used to stand up for 15 min. These teams can easily plan their Daily call during the morning Time.

Distributed Team, On the other hand, If the team is distributed, the Physical board does not add value to everyone, as it is not accessible to everyone. However, the availability Digital board within the ALM tools fills the gap of a Physical board and works out pretty well. However, the team lacks the physical presence of its members. And does not needs to be stood up, As everyone is referring to a small screen rather than a big physical board. The team meets through Screen sharing apps like Webex, Skype, BlueJeans, etc. Many teams prefer to do a video Conf to get to see each other. If the distribution of the team is within the same time zone, it’s good. But if there are different time zone evolved. It’s practically not possible to schedule the meeting for everyone morning. So mostly the team mutually decides to have the Daily Scrum Call in the morning time, when the majority of the Development team is there.

Because of the different time zone. many times the Daily scrum call get extended, as the team member from two different time zone generally gets this time to share their thoughts, Ideas, and sprint progress. However in that case try to complete the Scrum Call, identify the long-running discussion, and park them for later. Once the main agenda of the Daily scrum call is over, make a logical end of the Daily Scrum Call. and start the discussion you have parked for, here the only required member can stay, the rest can drop off.

The outcome of the Daily Scrum Call

Common Understanding of Team Progress  Meeting with the team sharing what they are working on, and what they are planning to do today to meet the common goal of the sprint, improves the common understanding of the team about the progress on their commitment for the sprint. Execution Strategy for the Day Based on the current state and progress, the team makes the strategy for the day, who will work on what task, which task needs to be finished first, and how to utilize the sprint time in the most optimized way. An Updated Sprint Backlog Continuous acceptance and progress on Task and sprint level updates the sprint backlog on daily basis. Gives better visibility to the team, or management level. It also contributes to consolidated reports to reflect real-time states. And Updated Scrum Board or Sprint Board The teal also updates the task Remaining hours, Task card, and Story Cards placement in the sprint board. and make the Sprint board or Scrum Board up-to-date.

Challenges of Daily Scrum Call

Time for distributed time zone, Apart from not being able to follow the basic rules of Scrum Call, the biggest challenge is to define a time when the team is distributed, and the team is located in two different time zone. As it is good to have in the morning time, it becomes difficult to identify, the morning of which time zone. So in that situation, plan the Daily Scrum call in the morning of the time zone where the majority of the development teams are working. Mindset Reaching a mature mindset that, this 15-minute discussion is not a status update meeting, that you need to update your Product Owner or Scrum Master or anyone about the progress. The team just needs to discuss within them and prepare a strategy for the day. Giving Importance If the team (Dev Team + Scrum Master + Product Owner) doesn’t utilize time for the purpose it is meant for, or even they were forced to do so. The Agile team will not get the real expected outcome of the meeting and it will impact the overall performance of the team also the agile value. The team will eventually lose interest in the Daily Scrum Call. And for the team, the Daily Scrum Call becomes just a formality or burden.

Niladri Mahapatra

Niladri Mahapatra

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