focus on individuals at the daily scrum

The Scrum process recommends that everyone in the daily stand-up meeting should answer three questions: “what did you do since we last met?”, “what will you do until we next meet?” and “what might prevent you doing that?” While it isn’t necessary to go through the ceremony of actually asking those questions, it is very important to get individual answers to them – particularly the last.

This week I attended a couple of daily scrums in which the third question was asked only once, at the end: “do any of you foresee any problems today?” There was a bit of a mutter, along the lines of “nothing different from yesterday,” but mostly people looked at their shoes and kept silent. So the team recorded no impediments, and the meeting broke up. As it turned out, on those particlar days no-one was impeded sufficiently that they failed to deliver. (But everyone in the team did recognise that they could have delivered much more, if only the age-old “habitual” impediments had been removed!)

My point here, though, is one of focus. I suspect that we would have discovered more by asking the third question to each team member individually. We’re going to start doing that, and writing down each answer on a card. Those cards will be put on a board, and will be the ScrumMaster’s to-do list for the day. And as each impediment is addressed, for some of them we’ll set up kaizen teams to eliminate them completely. I’ll let you know how it goes…

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