John Hines' Software Process Blog

A blog on Agile software development and Scrum

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In a big company there are often dozens, if not hundreds of projects going on at the same time.  Getting stuck on a bad one - one that's disorganized, frustrating, and sure to forget any contribution you make (no matter how major) - is a pretty common occurrence.  Disengaging yourself skillfully becomes a kind of art form.

My team reached its limit recently after being assigned to a poorly run project for three months.  As a parting gift, we gave lots of advice on how the project should be run - not 20% Scrum/80% Chaos, but 100% Scrum.  The accountable manager then had his team define project had goals, milestones, a short-term schedule, and yes, a daily stand-up meeting.

The result?  Just as my team is preparing to disengage, we find we're suddenly quite busy!  The daily scrum has done some impressive things.  It has:

  1. Shown the real team.  The people who really aren't committed don't bother to come to a brief, daily meeting.  It's very clear who the people doing the work are.
  2. Increased collaboration.  The area experts have become known, and people ask them questions.
  3. Sped the project.  Issues that would have delayed people for days are now resolved much faster.

Not bad for a meeting that lasts no more than fifteen minutes.  You still need those other things - goals, milestones, and schedules.  But if you want an effective project team using Scrum, don't skip the daily stand up meeting.

Technorati tags: Scrum Scrum Process

posted on Friday, October 2, 2009 3:31 PM


# re: Saved by the Daily Scrum 10/3/2009 6:27 AM denise
I am working on a project that is introducing scrum to a team. The only problem is that the consultant brought in to institute scrum lets the meeting get out of control is side converstions and they end up lasting an hour with little accomplished. He says this side conversations need to happen because most of the team is new to scrum but I say the actual standup meeting needs to last no more than 15 minutes. Those who are in need of followup conversations need to have them after the scrum. To me we need to respect our coworkers by sticking to this rule. W have an extremely tight/unmovable deadline and the long meeting are increasing the stress.

# re: Saved by the Daily Scrum 3/7/2012 8:29 PM John
The meeting should be no more than 15 minutes, period. What you did yesterday, what you plan to today, and any impediments you may have. Check out:

The Scrum Master needs to keep a very tight leash on the daily scrum. If any conversation arises that doesn't involve everyone in the meeting (namely the three topics above), the relevant people should be quickly identified and the discussion tabled for after the 15-minutes. If the discussion are about how Scrum works, that should also be tabled.

Good luck!

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