What is the purpose of the daily Scrum standup meeting?



  • I have a daily standup meeting with about 20 people. I only work with 2 of these 20 people. When it is my turn to stand up, I say what I've done and what I will do; it takes me about a minute. For the rest of the meeting, which takes anywhere between 15 min to 1 hour, I sit there pretending to listen to what others are saying about topics I am not working on and are not relevant to me.

    This isn't to say I am not involved with those two people I work with. We usually talk before the meeting to "sync up" we let each other know if we have an issue. If someone is waiting on me, I tell them what I'm up to, and so on. We do this whenever it is needed. If something comes up, we don't wait for the following day to come along for us to "speak up" when we have an issue. We talk then and there, and we usually fix the problem or plan how to fix it long before the next daily meeting.

    This got me thinking about why we are doing the daily standup. According to Scrum guides, the daily meeting is supposed to focus "on progress toward the Sprint Goal and an actionable plan for the next day of work" and to "promote quick decision-making."

    Still, the guide goes on to say that devs "often meet throughout the day for more detailed discussions about adapting or re-planning the rest of the Sprint's work." So this is what I find myself doing.

    If quick decision-making is what the daily is supposed to be for, well, this is what my colleagues and I do throughout the day. Whenever something comes up, and we need to make a decision, we immediately "sync up," involve whoever else needs to be involved, and decide then and there what to do. What, then, is the point of the daily?



  • There's a difference between a Daily Scrum and a standup meeting.

    The Daily Scrum is one of the Scrum events and is defined in https://scrumguides.org/ . It is a 15 minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team to look at their progress toward the Sprint Goal and determine what they will do over the next day to move closer to achieving that Sprint Goal. It's a planning event held by and for the Developers, managed by the Developers, and perhaps facilitated by the Scrum Master upon the Developers' request.

    In agile software development, the http://www.extremeprogramming.org/rules/standupmeeting.html . It includes the entire team - the developers, the onsite customer, the coach, and anyone else involved in the day-to-day work. Originally, everyone did stand to keep the meeting short, but that rule has been put aside by many teams. It includes both status update and planning components.

    Outside of agile software development, other types of teams have used similar practices to update and align the team.

    What you describe as a "daily standup meeting" - a meeting that could run upwards of 1 hour with 20 people that includes topics not related to your daily work - does not align with Scrum's definition of a Daily Scrum or Extreme Programming's daily standup meeting. For me, the two biggest concerns are the number of people (20 is much too big for an agile software development team) and the topics (topics should be directly relevant to all of the people in attendance).

    In theory, the purpose of Scrum's Daily Scrum is not to make fine-grained decisions. The guidance about meeting throughout the day often includes solving the most specific problems faced by the team and often includes a subset of the team. When you start including all, or even the majority, of the team's Developers in either decision points or perhaps in all of the work, you are moving toward https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mob_programming , and the Daily Scrum becomes less useful. The Daily Scrum is most useful when people are working in individuals or pairs and need to have an opportunity to synchronize, make sure that their Sprint Backlog is reflective of reality for external stakeholders, and if there are any risks or impediments, involve the Product Owner and Scrum Master immediately.

    You may see some value in you and your direct colleagues meeting for up to 15 minutes once a day to carry out a true Daily Scrum. In some cases, this may replace some of the more ad-hoc "sync ups" that you are doing and give the individuals more time for focused work with less interruptions and context switching. However, there's really no problem with the ad-hoc sync ups if the team is satisfied with their performance. It may not be Scrum, but being an effective and efficient team is more important than following the rules of Scrum.




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