You and your team are you like “Yeah! It’s Scrum time” or “Ah! this darn meeting… again”? For teams adopting Agility, the daily meeting used to review the status and list the day’s activities is sometimes a reflex that is not easy to acquire. Even worse, it is sometimes considered a disguised supervision meeting worthless to developers.
Whatever the development framework you are using (Scrum, Kanban, etc.), in this short post, I give five recommendations to energize your daily scrums.
1. Establish the rules and post them.
There is nothing worse than an unprepared environment for team members to elaborate an action plan together.
Whether your colleagues are near or far, you must agree on the time and location for the meeting. Once this is done, to make it official, invite the right people to the meeting and add the appropriate information to their respective agenda. If the location is in an open space, you can invite the people close by to listen. And just before the beginning of the meeting, gently remind them not to interrupt or distract you.
- Find a location for your meeting.
- Find a time slot that suits all participants.
- Reserve the location and time slot to ensure availability.
- Invite the right people to the meeting.
- Display the meeting’s rules.
2. There is value to impediments.
Let’s talk about the famous Scrum or Kanban board that is often displayed on a wall where the meeting takes place or on a screen.
We all know that during an iteration (and elsewhere!), nothing goes as expected, and the plan is affected by this. Therefore, any impediment must be handled in order to be able to serenely address what’s next.
During your meetings, when a problem is raised or when an improvement is expressed, write it down and display it on the board. Even better, mark it as a priority item!
Yeah! you’re right, it could mean many notes… But, believe me, during the iteration you’ll have time to handle many of them… and it’s way better than hitting the wall.
3. Your meeting and questions are unique.
Many team meetings follow a rather academic path. The following three questions are often used:
- “What have I done yesterday?”
- “What will I do today?”
- “Are there impediments in my way?”
It’s indeed a good start for teams that are new to dailies. Unfortunately, on the longer run, they are not that relevant (e.g., when the communication is so efficient that everybody knows the progress towards a goal) and, most importantly, they are not imposed.
You are free to choose your own questions. You should choose questions that are useful to the team while limiting the duration of the meeting. Using new questions will freshen up your daily scrums.
For example, you could ask to each person if they are fully awake or, on a more serious note, if they think the sprint goal will be reached on time. You could also ask about the status of the priority item or most critical bug to be corrected.
4. Use a talking stick.
Whether a stick, card, ball… an object is often required to ensure effective conversations, especially in larger groups. Have you ever used an instrument to give each person a talk time? Did those present to the meeting respect it?
Personally, I opt for the squeaky ball. You know that toy intended for pets. I will refrain from making a bad joke here, but there is nothing better than one (or many) loud squeak(s) to announce the beginning of a meeting, give the floor to somebody else, or remind the other ones to respect one’s talk time.
5. Provide sweets and snacks.
Finally, if your daily scrums are held early in the morning and far from the coffee machine, you could notice the absence or late arrival of some colleagues.
So, I invite you, with some moderation, to take turns bringing sweets and snacks to share. Just before starting the meeting, offer some sweets to your colleagues. Without becoming a tea room, the meeting will be more participative and joyful.
Now, what are you intending to do as early as tomorrow? What are your tricks for improving your dailies?
Please share you experience with us and let us know for which workshop or activity you would like to get solutions.