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How to Ruin Your Scrum Da(il)y

You don’t have any complaints about your team. Everything works and there isn’t a single thing you would change about how you run your daily scrum meetings. 


But the world is a mysterious place and we always want the things we are missing (a strange case of a grass is always greener on the other side) which is why (my guess is) you’re reading this article.


So, here it is. Here is a guide for ruining your scrum daily.


Steps for Ruining Your Scrum Daily


Step 1: Be There but Unproductive


The first thing you need to do is to make your daily meeting as unproductive as possible. To do that, you need to ensure that nobody listens during the meeting. The overall result should be nothing.


If someone mentions execution, deliverables or anything related to concrete and measurable outcomes the room should be dead quiet.


Important thing is to have a daily scrum for the sake of having a meeting. When the three common daily questions are asked, what you want are the broadest possible answers.  


As for the attention of the attendee, they should pay zero attention to what anybody else is talking. The last thing you need is engagement of the team. 


Prevent every analysis of the work and keep the conversations on an individual level (everyone should be focused solely on finishing their own task).


The result should be, if you’re lucky, a total misunderstanding or a lack of understanding of what everyone else is doing. The team should gain no deeper understanding of their or the work of other team members. 


The team should resist the impulse to unblock a blocked team member if, God forbid, someone in the team notices it by some unusual stroke of luck. Dead silence and pure unwillingness to understand something beyond individual work is of essence.


Everything should be fine, amazing, crystal clear for each member of the team until the last day when chaos emerges. During that period of blissful vagueness, you are encouraged to waste as much time and money as you can. 


If you need to focus on something, make sure it’s a totally unrelated matter. Be sure to go in depth discussing specific matters that relate to preferably only one person. Turn the whole daily to be about this issue so that others can detach themselves from reality.



Step 2: The Manager Is Alpha and Omega


Since Scrum is all about authoritarian rules and top down approach, make sure that managers are running the meeting. They need to “steal the show” and prevent others from sharing their problems and helping their teammates. 


If the manager is authoritarian then he/she can take all decisions and put pressure on team members. Additional pressure is always a great thing in a working environment.


Instead of looking at the board, managers need to preach and question people. They should be more like police and the meeting should look like a police interrogation. If your daily meeting turns into a status update and the manager is a bottleneck, you’ve got it right.


The manager needs to create all the action points and then delegate them. The goal is to create zero engagement and zero responsibility. Team members should be focused on what the manager wants and how he/she wants it. 


If the manager is not authoritarian but is a scrum formalist and follows all routines and recommended timeboxes without getting into the essence of the work, he will be disinterested as well and have 0 understanding about the processes.



If you follow these helpful tips, you should be quite successful at ruining your Scrum daily and create as much value as my dog Jesse when she’s sleeping (his dreams have the most wonderful ROIs). You are welcome!


This Is How You Should Run Your Daily Scrum Meetings (Seriously)


Ok, so you are still reading this article and (I hope) have figured out that it was not a serious list of steps. If you really think that you should ruin your daily meeting or worse, that there is someone writing seriously about it, then, my friend, the education system is crumbling down.


Joke aside, here is how you should run your daily scrum meetings in all seriousness.


A daily scrum meeting shouldn’t be a status update, it should be proactive. You need to spend an optimal amount of time addressing important issues and getting into details only when it’s necessary.


If something pops up that needs to be analyzed it should be done within smaller focused groups who are directly involved or impacted by a given topic. 


If after a few days working on a feature we see something new (an aspect we might have not considered in planning), and we think that’s going to add more value, and can be decided quickly, we should talk about it during a daily meeting. 


However, if it’s something that needs a longer discussion it can be addressed during a separate meeting, with a focused group of those involved.



Engagement Is the Key


The main thing is to have an engaged team that loves its work and is interested in what is the topic of the conversation. In other words, the team should be invested in their work. How to achieve that?


People are engaged when they are being heard to and when their problems/concerns/impediments are getting resolved in real time. When you care about a developer, the developer cares about the product. 


However, when we hear the same problems during a daily meeting over and over again, problems that are not really solved, it can demotivate the team.


Daily meeting should be a meeting where you gather your team, where you look at the scrum board to see the progress of your work. You need to figure out if something is blocking the team and help them to move forward or let someone else propose a solution.


The Daily Plan


The daily meeting is an opportunity for us to make a daily plan. This plan needs to take into account scrum board, progress, risks, blockers, etc. The output of a daily meeting should be a daily plan.


Say the daily plan out loud, so the whole team has a feeling of what is expected and where we need to be by the end of the day to stay on track. 


The goal of a daily scrum is to provide your team with an opportunity to evaluate, inspect their progress and adjust to changing circumstances in order to achieve the sprint goal. 


Be Specific and Laser Focused


Daily meetings should last around 15 minutes and should be very concrete when it comes to questions and solutions. 


Have target dates on each feature when it’s gonna be ready for test and flag automatically if something is missed. This will help you to stay focused on specific tasks. Also, make it visual to everyone. This will help you notice where the problems are, what needs to be modified, etc.


Instead of asking 3 classic daily questions to each individual at a time, look at the board and go ticket by ticket. For example: What was achieved for this ticket yesterday? What are we gonna be doing today with it? Is there anything we see that might cause us to miss delivering this? 


Everything Is Great in Theory but What About Practice?


Ok, everything sounds great in theory, but what happens when we have to apply it? 


Let’s say there is a team of 8 people and there are around 20 tasks. In reality, everyone is working on their tasks, working on their part of the feature, etc.


When the team comes to the daily meeting, everyone is talking about their work and nobody listens. Nobody understands anything because they haven’t grasped the depth of each topic. In short, nobody is interested in what others are working on.


So, how to create a daily scrum that engages everyone and keeps everyone interested in what others do?


From Individual to Collective


The crucial shift is to stop being focused on individuals and create collective success. Creating collective success can be done through the implementation of a collective responsibility.


Instead of looking at tasks as individual work, we should think about them as a collective endeavor. We should create a daily summary and figure out how to solve problems collectively.  


Instead of individual goals, we should be focused during our daily standup meetings on a sprint goal as something that the team as a whole succeeds at or fails to accomplish.


We shouldn’t ask each member to talk individually about the things he’s working on. Instead, we should look at the board to understand where my teammates are and if there is something I can do to help (or someone can do to help me).. 


Then, the person working on the task is updating us on what has been done, what are the next steps, etc.


The whole team is looking at the board and knows and understands what is the update for each task. 


We should visualize progress. If the majority of tasks are on the left, something is blocking the team. If they are on the right, we are good.


Impediments that keep coming should alarm us that something is wrong with the process. Somebody can suggest how to solve the problem. This way, we are involved in the process collectively


We need frequent alignments (on a daily basis) so we know where we are in the process.


The Bottom Line


I hope you’re ready to implement these steps to improve your daily scrum meeting. Again, the first part of this article was not serious so don’t apply those tips.


The crucial thing is to change the individualistic paradigm. We should use daily to zoom in on planning out the forthcoming tasks, but at the same time zoom out and keep the larger team goal in mind every day.


Engaged team is a team that listens and understands what are the specific issues, how can we solve them, etc. 


Silence and only positive updates are a sign that there is no engagement. This is the opportunity for you to implement already mentioned tips. Good luck!

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