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Daily scrum is a waste of time

Daily Scrum aka daily stand up, daily huddle is a 15mins time box, same time, same place, same people every day of the sprint. That should not be hard to do right? Well, some teams, when they are missing the ‘why’ of the daily scrum, sees it as a waste of time. Scrum Coach often feels responsible for facilitating the daily scrum. However, if your team is ready, and you should encourage them, allow them to facilitate the meeting to give a sense of ownership of the meeting. 

Below is a conversation that transpired between myself and a Tech Lead who, with some Delivery Team members, believes that daily scrum is a waste of time. Rather than seek to understand the purpose of the meeting, they decided it was best to replace it with a ‘shorter meeting’.

Tech lead: Daily scrum takes too long to finish.  A lot of time Developers are waiting for their turn to deliver one line of update.

Me: What do you have in mind to make the daily scrum better?

TL: How about we reduce the amount of time spent waiting in line?.  What if the developers each give their own update to me and I will attend the daily scrum to give this status to the product owner and the scrum master? That way developers don’t wait at the daily scrum just to give a line of update. 

Me: What would you say is the purpose of the daily scrum?

TL: For the Developers to give updates to the Product Owners and Scrum Master.

Me: Well, it is actually for the Development Team to synchronize and collaborate. Also, surface areas they need help with. Kind of just- in -time- planning.

TL: Okay. Still think it is a waste of time for the Developers who could be spending that time coding

Me: What will you like to do then? Is this a consensus decision? Everyone is in agreement about this?

TL: Yes, all the developers agreed with me

Me: How about the QAs?

TL: Not sure what their intentions are. We would like to start this new way of working tomorrow morning (fyi, 2 days before the end of the sprint).

Me: That’s great! Have you factored in when you ( TL) becomes unavailable? How much notice will he need to give to the Developers?

TL: Yes, we had that discussion. I will let them know 30mins before the Daily scrum if I can not make the daily scrum for any reason.

Day 1 of the experiment:  the Tech Lead didn’t make the scrum meeting.

Day 2 of the experiment: the Tech Lead gave the update of all the developers and himself. He could not answer some questions posed by the QAs and POs. The daily scrum exceeded the 15mins time box because people were asking clarifying questions.

Day 3 of the experiment: the plug was pulled! The TL decided it was working for him. The purpose, and it was a duplicated effort for him. Moreso, he could not answer most of the questions the QAs asked at the regular daily scrum

My Takeaways

Allow your team to experiment, don’t enforce scrum.  People are resistant to change when you try to impose that change upon them, it becomes a flight or fright situation. Instead, make them partners in the change process. 

It is not about winning or losing, let us say to the team ‘I told you so’ or insinuate it. It is okay for them to suggest an idea and see it through. Your role as a Coach is to, among others, listen and be present for your team.

Here is a link to a presentation I gave at AgileTDUSA 2019 conference. My topic was “Daily scrum foster teamwork with just in time planning”

What has been your experience of walking your team through a change process? What did you do? And in hindsight, what could you have done differently?  Share in the comment box below, I love to read from you.

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