Is this how it makes you feel?  “Come on guys, it’s time” says Paul.  He had already waited to see if the team would get together by themselves.  They move towards the sprint board.”

I have included the appropriate definition from the scrum guide. These small story snippets start poorly and improve with each subsequent case. These cases highlight common failures of Scrum, which after reading these I would like to think you could avoid them, or at least recognize them and see a possible way forward.

From the Guide

The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours. This is done by inspecting the work since the last Daily Scrum and forecasting the work that could be done before the next one. The Daily Scrum is held at the same time and place each day to reduce complexity. During the meeting, the Development Team members explain:

  • What did I do yesterday that helped the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • What will I do today to help the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the Development Team from meeting the Sprint Goal?

The Development Team uses the Daily Scrum to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and to inspect how progress is trending toward completing the work in the Sprint Backlog. The Daily Scrum optimizes the probability that the Development Team will meet the Sprint Goal. Every day, the Development Team should understand how it intends to work together as a self-organizing team to accomplish the Sprint Goal and create the anticipated Increment by the end of the Sprint. The Development Team or team members often meet immediately after the Daily Scrum for detailed discussions, or to adapt, or replan, the rest of the Sprint’s work.

The Scrum Master ensures that the Development Team has the meeting, but the Development Team is responsible for conducting the Daily Scrum. The Scrum Master teaches the Development Team to keep the Daily Scrum within the 15-minute time-box.

The Scrum Master enforces the rule that only Development Team members participate in the Daily Scrum.

Daily Scrums improve communications, eliminate other meetings, identify impediments to development for removal, highlight and promote quick decision-making, and improve the Development Team’s level of knowledge. This is a key inspect and adapt meeting.

Case 1: Not pulling together

“Come on guys, it’s time” says Paul stretching.  He had already waited to see if the team would get together by themselves.  They move towards the sprint board.
He continues, “OK, who’s starting today?”
Tony smiles rather smugly, “I was developing a new database schema for Geoff.  I was also asked to sit in with a client.  That was cool, as they are huge, I quickly knocked up a demo for them.  Quite a lot of meetings with others, so not so much development work me.”
Paul replies “Tony, Geoff is not part of our team; sure if we have time help him out.  But we have a lot on you should be helping others getting our forecasted work done”
Tony shrugs “I’ve done all my sprint work, nothing left for me to do!”
Paul sighs “Really, we have 4 stories that have not been started”
Tony retorts “They were assigned to Brent!”
Brent pipes up “I could do with some help”.
Paul concludes “There you go Tony you can help Brent”.

Case 1 Notes:

A common method of stand-ups are:

  •  What did I do yesterday that helped the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • What will I do today to help the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
  • Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the Development Team from meeting the Sprint Goal?

This can mean the stand-up becomes a status report.  In this case Tony was full of himself as he had completed his work and was not concerned about the team.  We would want to cover this in a retrospective and also 1:1. In this case the Scrum Master had to remind the team that the stand-up was due.  Paul had to suggest to Tony to help Brent, the first thing Tony should have done before attending meetings and helping Geoff was to ask his team how he could contribute.

Case 2: Swarming

Its 10am the team moves towards the sprint board.  4 stories left and the top priority story in development.  Paul the Scrum Master points to a story in development, “What did WE achieve yesterday on this story?” Dales starts, “I started with the DB schema”, Tony chimes in, “I was also helping out there, paring with Dale.”  Brent says “I did not contribute to that story”. Paul continues “What was OUR contribution on this story worth in points? On the count of 1, 2, 3.” The Dale and Tony but up a hand representing 5 points.  Paul then updates the points remaining on the card on the board.  “So what is OUR plan for completing this story” asks Paul.  Tony Starts, “I will be carrying on with the DB schema.” Dale continues, “I will be dealing with the API.” Brent jumps in, “Anything I can do to move it along?” Tony replies, “Sure, we need some automation tests creating.” Brent replies, “No problem will jump on it”. Paul carries on,” What, if anything, is blocking US or has the potential to slow US down today?” Tony adds, “Thinking about it we may have the issue with 3rd party integration”, Brent says, “If you give me the details I will look at that first. Before going on with the automation” Paul says, “So, let’s review the next most important story”. After 10 minutes once all the stories are reviewed the team move back their desks.

Case 2 Notes:

Focus on one story at a time, swarm it!

By moving the focus back to the work and not individuals of the team, this helps to avoid the status report type of stand-up.   We get the team to have a low amount of parallel work and to focus on getting the most important work done first as a team.  This would encourage pairing and team thinking rather than individual thinking “I have done my work.”  With this shift of mind set stories and architecture would be planned so it is easier to split the work up to get the story done quicker.  Moving away from the silo behaviour; as team members are fully engaged with the work in progress the updates have a greater focus. By updating the story points each day, the team’s estimations improve. There will always be exceptions, these are great talking points, if you are not working on the most important story why not?

References
Scrum Metrics for Hyper Productive Teams