Agile Communication Project Management
August 04, 2022 - Jon Armour

Agile Ceremonies: Daily Scrums That Aren’t a Waste of Time

A daily scrum allows agile software development teams to address the complexity of a project with regularity. Every person from the scrum master to the product owner to the team members must attend the daily scrum meeting to track the progress of sprints and ensure that everything is on track. However useful the intent of a daily scrum, according to some developers, taking out 15 minutes every day to discuss a project is a waste of time, citing the purpose of a standup meeting is only to keep the scrum master in the loop - not better the project.

So, are daily scrum meetings a waste of time or not? We think, not. They bring everyone on the project together for a quick update which, if done properly, will alert the scrum master, leads, and (then) stakeholders to any concerns about the project timeline. This level of communication is unparalleled in any other project management framework. To help you understand this better, we have created a complete guide on agile daily scrums.

What Is a Daily Scrum Meeting in Agile?

Being a time-box event running for 15 minutes, an agile daily scrum meeting is held every day of the sprint between members of the development team, the scrum master, and the product owner to efficiently accomplish the sprint goal and communicate road blocks. During a daily scrum meeting, the development team discusses what they have done since the day before and plan their work for the next 24 hours. The purpose of this daily meeting is to optimize performance and collaboration on the agile team. To reduce ambiguity, the daily standup meeting is typically held every day in the same place and at the same time.

In simple terms, every day, the agile team sits together for fifteen minutes to discuss their plan to work as a self-organizing team to meet the sprint goal and help each other move past road blocks, if needed.

Even though the structure of the daily scrum meeting might depend upon the needs of the development team, every standup meeting mainly revolves around answering three questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday to help the development team meet the sprint goal?
  2. Do you see any hurdles that might prevent you or the agile team from meeting the sprint goal?
  3. What do you plan to do in the next 24 hours to help the teams meet the sprint goal?

Note that sometimes the daily scrum meeting ends, members of the development team meet again near the task board to re-evaluate their sprint planning and discuss tactics to get to the sprint goal.

Who Runs the Daily Scrum in Agile?

The agile daily scrum meeting is conducted between three parties; the scrum master, the product owner and the development team. The mission of a daily scrum meeting isn’t only to resolve problems or complexities; it is to disseminate information so that the whole team is on the same page and everyone knows what work is done and what remains.

The scrum master is the leader of the daily standup meeting. The role of the scrum master in an agile daily scrum is to listen to his team members, ensuring that the team is organized and growing every step of the way. Moreover, they make a note of any obstacles or challenges faced by the development team and try to find an immediate solution. If the product is in the testing phase, the scrum master reviews the user story (feedback) to understand what needs to be done to overcome minor bugs or errors and improve the project’s performance.

What Does a Successful Daily Scrum Meeting Look Like?

A successful daily scrum meeting checks the following boxes:

  • The Daily Scrum Is Completed within the Time-Box: Make sure that the meeting is completed within the 15 minutes time frame.
  • All the Team Members Attend the Scrum Meeting: Rotating the task members will only lead to disruptions. Therefore, ensure that all the team members attend the daily standup meetings.
  • The Agile Daily Scrum Meeting Is Conducted at the Same Plan and Time: For regularity and consistency, ensure that the standup meeting is conducted at the same time and in the same place.
  • All the Goals of the Daily Scrum Meeting Are Met: After all, the team members have to answer only three questions. Therefore, give everyone an equal chance to speak and ensure that the focus remains on the sprint goal.

Sometimes called the standup meeting, an agile daily scrum is a brief meeting usually held in the morning for about 10-15 minutes to discuss the plan for the day and preemptively identify any challenges that could impact the work. However, if you find your team complaining about daily scrum meetings as a way to micromanage them or waste time, remind them of its purpose and discuss a middle way that works for both you and your team. It also helps to remember that an agile daily scrum should be more about bringing all the team members on the same page, connecting them, solving problems, and ensuring that the sprint deadline is met.