In On Scrum and the curse of the three questions Lasse Koskela throws doubt on one of the central pillars of Scrum – the three questions that everyone on the team must answer during the daily stand-up meeting.
“I think the way we talk about “answering three questions” contributes to the difficulty of getting people away from reporting progress to the Scrum Master (who almost unanimously is the same guy who used to be the project manager before adopting Scrum). […] Apparently words like “answer” and “question” tend to be associated with ideas closer to being interrogated rather than communicating information.”
This is a really good point, and hits the nail right on the head. Whenever I visit a team I always ask to attend their daily stand-up meeting. And time after time I see the team members treating the session as time to report progress to their boss. In some cases the team members even look at that person as they speak.
That’s not what the meeting is for. The daily stand-up is the team’s primary opportunity to self-organise. The outcome should be that the team has collectively agreed what to work on today, and what impediments they need their ScrumMaster to remove along the way.
So I like Lasse’s rewording of the “three questions”, but I prefer to go further. As I said in an earlier post, focus on the task board. Each team member’s report should be directed through the board: “Yesterday Chet and I completed this [points at a card in the Completed column] and this [points at another]. Annie and I started this [points at a card in the In Progress column], and we’ll continue with that today.”
Note the use of language here: “worked on” is vague to the point of redundancy. Note also the physicality: point, move cards around, update the burndown chart. Around eighty percent of all human communication is non-verbal; we should capitalise on that fact to make daily stand-up meetings more effective.