I just came across a great summary of the daily stand-ups in scrum, written by Joakim Karlsson. I guess most Scrum teams start out with good intentions and focus in the begging, but as time goes by, we start falling into the old "around the table" reporting habit to the project manager, the Scrum master becomes more and more a project manager, and we gradually drift away from the core principles and ideas behind the daily stand-up!
To summaries the key principles:
- Keep the goal in mind. Start the sprint with a clear goal of what were we want to end up after the sprint. Remember on a daily basis to keep the goal in mind, are we heading forward, and are we heading in the right direction?
- It is for the team. We are all equals in the daily stand-up! We report to our team members, not requesting acceptance from the scrum master or dev lead!
- Discuss elsewhere. If a discussion starts evolving, or the team gets into too much details, its everybody's responsibility to stop the discussion or say "I'm not interested in this, please continue the discussion after the daily stand-up!". Just identify the discussions necessary and stack them up after the meeting or later in the day.
- Come prepared! Don't use the meeting to think about what to report in the meeting! Stay focused on what your team members report, and don't waste you team mates time with "eeemmmm hmmmm what I did yesterday?"
- Accomplishments, not activities. Focus on what you have accomplished, not all problems you stumbled into.
- Make commitments. All team members should report what they plan to accomplish today, we then make a commitment to our team what we plan to accomplish. This also makes it easy to compare commitments from last meeting to what we actually accomplished.
- Bring up impediments. How many time have you not had a colleague look at a problem you've struggled with for hours, and he/she immediately sees the problem? Get the impediments into the light so the scrum master or a team member can help remove all impediments to keep the teams velocity up!
- Stay focused! 15 minutes is max, not min! Get in sync, and get out of the meeting!
- Require progress each day! If you report no progress and your task have the same estimate effort left as yesterday, maybe it's necessary to break it down further? Don't allow a sprint backlog item be worked on without having any burn down, that means the task is not good enough, wrong or needs more fragmentation