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February 03, 2023

Daily Scrum: A beginner’s guide 

Hybrid Management Project Management
Aleksandra Szmit Content Writer

As you already know from our previous article, a sprint is a set timeline (usually 2 weeks long) which is used as a guideline for the completion of a project or a part of it. The sprint planning progress aims to set the Sprint Goal and Sprint Backlog.

During the meetings, you should have everyone involved to discuss things like deciding the overall objective, the target and the outcome of the Sprint or project. The Sprint planning session also focuses on establishing a starting point, assigning tasks and setting the outcome.

However, to be on top of all these plans and to have everyone involved and on track. It is essential to regularly meet and talk about the tasks that are in progress and about any potential blockers. This is why in the Scrum approach, there is a Daily Scrum meeting which may differ between teams, but its aim is the same everywhere. That is to be more effective.

What is the Daily Scrum meeting?

A daily Scrum meeting is a meeting which occurs daily during a Scrum sprint. It’s very brief and efficient and does not take up much time. Throughout its duration, the participants identify the work done and any obstacles they encountered or may encounter. As well as that, it is important to produce an actionable plan for the next day of work towards achieving the Sprint goal. Let’s learn more about this.

How long do these meetings take?

The average time of a daily sprint is up to 15 minutes. These meetings should be organized every day at the same time. It is also best if you arrange them in the morning to talk about the previous and upcoming day.A grouo pf people standing around a clock, that is counting down a 15 minute time frame.Are you wondering why these meetings are so short?

It is because they’re performed on a daily basis, so there isn’t such a need for them to be longer. They only focus on specific aspects, such as, if there are any blockages. In fact, the whole aim of a Daily Scrum is to be occurring every day for a short time to see where we are regarding our Sprint Goal.

Who takes part?

Scrum meetings need to be held with everyone who is involved in the Sprint. This includes the Scrum Master, Product Owner, the Developers and the Designers. Everyone should have their role within the meeting.

  • The Scrum Master – As the name suggests, this person is the expert of Scrum. Their duties may include facilitating the meeting, as well as ensuring the attendance of all team members, keeping the essence and aim of the meeting clear, without any disruptions and derailments.
  • Product Owner – The product owner may help in navigating the backlog items and prioritizing tasks. They can be present during the daily scrum, but don’t need to be, if they are, they shouldn’t disturb the Team.
  • Developers – They are the ones conducting the meeting. They have situational awareness of what is going on, what the progress is, and what may be or become an obstacle.

Everyone on the team is important within the meeting. All members should be focused on the inspection towards the Sprint Goal.

It’s optional for the team to involve other people (such as other employees of the company) but it is best to leave their feedback or questions for the end.

If you haven’t worked within Scrum before, it may seem like something new, especially if you’re a product manager. This is because usually meetings are held with one person as the organizer. That person is responsible for holding the meeting and going through the most vital points. However in Scrum, everyone is involved and gets a say.

What is the purpose of a Daily Scrum?

The aim of a daily scrum is to have an overview of completed tasks and those that require completion. The outcome and aim of these meetings is having an updated Sprint Backlog because this is what leads to achieving the Sprint Goal, which is the ultimate goal of the sprint.

A group of people standing on a path, next to a sign pointing towards "Sprint Goal" Remember that a daily scrum is not an update session, a brainstorming meeting or a place for discussions. A daily scrum is a brief meeting, which has strict guidelines, such as timeframes and questions such as “what may be blocking us from achieving the Sprint goal?” in order to not get off topic.

With all of the essential and foundational knowledge behind us, it is time to learn more about the practical side of the daily meetings.

How to hold a daily scrum meeting? Best practices

If you’re new to scrum, holding a daily scrum may seem unconventional, due to having long meetings with agendas and feedback loops in the past. So, a sudden switch to 15-minute runs may seem strange at first.

  • Furthermore, it is important to stay focused and not drift off into other topics and discussions. If there is something you need to discuss in more detail, you should do it  outside the daily scrum and organize a dedicated meeting for this topic
  • Try to hold the meeting at the same time and hour each day. This ensures a sense of consistency, regularity and organization. Therefore, by the time of the meeting, everyone feels ready and prepared.
  • After the daily scrum, make time for any offline or urgent topics that were detected. This way, you’re not going over the 15-minute timeframe and you can focus on the urgent topics instead of taking up the time of the meeting.
  • Make sure you include the same people – the Scrum Team – in the meeting each day. A rotation of people may cause unnecessary questions and confusion. However, as mentioned above, it is ok to invite people from outside, if necessary.
  • If you’re are not used to holding such short meetings, have a timer that is visible to everyone in the meeting. Just note that the meeting can run longer than the scheduled 15 minutes. E.g. because of a discussion of solving a blockage. In this case, it is ok to carry on and finish off the discussion to reach the necessary conclusions and action points.

Now that you know all the essential details of conducting a daily Scrum meeting and some of the best practices – make the most of it.

If you want to see these best practices in action, check out the video prepared by our colleagues at Whiteboards. Use it as a refresher and learn how Whiteboards makes running Daily Scrum easier for the whole Scrum team.

However, heading towards the achievement of the Sprint Goal may sometimes be a challenge. It is essential to recognise any obstacles that may arise. This is how you can do this.

Inspection towards the Sprint Goal & Identifying Impediments

As mentioned above, the aim of the Daily Scrum is to evaluate the progress of the Sprint and being on top and up to date on all tasks and potential impediments. The aim is to reach the Sprint Goal successfully.

However, anything that reduces momentum and prevents or limits the Team from completing its task is an impediment. This means that it is an obstruction for the Team from achieving the Sprint Goal successfully and on time. Therefore, it is vital for the Team to detect and inspect any of these obstacles. This way the vision of achieving a Sprint Goal is not disrupted or delayed.

Some examples of such impediments could be that someone had to take time off during the sprint. Or the absence of product choice to continue development, a lack of access to various development tools. However, it could also be a problem with the development environment, like the inability to promote code to the next environment.

So, apart from obstacles which may arise, what other mistakes should you look out for during a Daily Scrum? Take a look below.

What mistakes may occur?

As we’re coming to the end of the article, we should also highlight what is best to avoid during a daily scrum meeting. This may be especially useful for people, who haven’t worked in such a way before. When conducting a daily scrum, remember to avoid the following mistakes:

  • Do not skip the daily meetings – it may seem like not much can change during a single workday, but skipping even one meeting could cause delays or derailment.
  • As mentioned previously, don’t turn it into a discussion, a brainstorming or a problem-solving session. The idea of a daily Scrum is that it is short and on-point.
  • Don’t miss anyone out – meetings should always consist of the Scrum Team. If you’re working hybrid or stationary, then the people who are remote should join via a video call.
Backlog in the Board module of a BigPicture Portfolio Management software

Now, do you feel like you understand the idea of a daily Scrum meeting and feel confident to conduct one? We genuinely hope so. If you’re hoping to learn more about Scrum, you can also read our article about Sprint Planning. We will also soon publish new articles on the topics of a Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective and the Sprint itself.