Agile Alert! Is Your Scrum Daily Standup A Status Or Planning Meeting? 

 May 23, 2022

By  Anthony Amos

I like to compare the Sprint to a long road trip. In that vein, the Daily Scrum serves as my vehicle and roadside checkpoints – or confirmation that I am going to get where I want to go within the timeframe I expect to arrive.

The Daily Scrum provides the information the team needs to adapt and ensure that it is still on course to meet the Sprint Goals.

Tony Amos

Along the way, I need to keep an eye on my gas or energy level (for BEVs), estimate how far I can get before refueling or recharging, make sure I’m headed in the right direction, on the right road, and use the right exits, pay attention to the GPS, and come up with alternate plans if I run into bad traffic or construction (AKA blockers).

The Daily Scrum provides the information the team needs to adapt and ensure that it is still on course to meet the Sprint Goals. Without it, the team has limited confirmation that it is on track. This leads to late awareness of blockers and delayed problem response, which translates into missed Sprint Goals and project delays. This could happen on the road trip if I’m enjoying the music so much that I don’t pay attention to the GPS that has been trying to tell me for 20 minutes to exit the highway because of a fallen tree ahead that is blocking traffic. Now I’m stuck for hours and my schedule is blown up!

So, is the Daily Scrum a planning or status meeting?

I prefer to go with accuracy over categories. I teach teams to make the session to make the Daily Scrum a “check and adapt” session. Simply answer the question: Are we on course? And we do that with the three basic checkpoints: What I completed yesterday; what I plan to complete today; and, if necessary, here are my blockers. Then, scan the Sprint Backlog to ensure the right activities are getting attention.

The session lasts no more than 15 minutes, so there’s no time for status. Planning has already been done in Sprint Planning, so the only additional planning happens when a blocker requires the team to adapt. This planning and other details are handled outside of the Daily Scrum with the problem-solvers, not the whole team.

This daily checkpoint provides confidence to the team that they are on track and forces the opportunity to confront problems before delays accumulate. So, when I take that road trip, the smart thing to do is to periodically check the gauges, GPS updates, highway mile markers, and distance to the next rest stop. Having confirmed that I am on course and on time, I can go back to enjoying the music!

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Anthony Amos

Anthony started creating software in 1981 when he curiously picked up the programming manual for a Wang OIS Word Processor while deployed with the US Navy. He had never seen a computer before, but he taught himself how to write programs that made his Navy work easier and more accurate.
After his honorable discharge in 1986, he began creating financial and analytical software for diverse organizations including Verizon Wireless, JP Morgan Asset Management, GoldenTree Asset Management, NASDAQ, Prudential Insurance, AT&T Capital Corporation, Lehman Brothers, Ernst & Young, and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of New Jersey.

Demonstrating his commitment to the principles and values of Agile Software Engineering, Anthony is a recognized SAFe® version 5 Program Consultant and holds many of the most challenging and difficult to attain Agile certifications. His practice is grounded in Agile Frameworks as he leads clients to implement Scrum, Kanban, Scrum with Kanban, Scaled Scrum with Nexus, and Scaled Agile Framework. He believes in using the framework that best fits the organization's cultural and business direction while maintaining disciplined processes.

Tony Amos

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