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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Daily Scrum Question #2

Every member of a Scrum team will answer the following questions during the Daily Scrum:
  1. "What have you done since the last Scrum?"
  2. "What will you do between now and the next Scrum?"
  3. "What got in your way of doing work?"
However, I often hear people answer the second question as if it were this one:
"What are you going to work on today?"

It doesn't seem like much of a difference, but it occurred to me that that form of the question results in answers like:
"I'm going to work more on the jump animation."
"I'm going to see if I can get that problem with the PS3 textures fixed."

There is absolutely no commitment in these answers!

I think this cascades to additional non-committal behaviors on team such as not improving task estimate accuracy or not finding ways of improving how processes work (e.g. build times, pipeline cooking times, etc).

The first two questions are meant to reflect a commitment to the team by each person on the team. It's up to the Scrum Master to get the answer to the right question.

The SM should reaffirm this with the team by reminding them in the Scrum:
"What are you committing to finishing for the team by the next time we meet? If you can't meet that commitment there should be something for you to complain about when answering the third question! It's something we all need to know, because we'll succeed or fail as a team."

Failing to meet a daily commitment should put a little bit of pressure on the person who didn't meet their commitment. They'll either get a little better about their estimates or a little bit unsatisfied with anything that slows them down. Just enough to do something about it.

2 comments:

Adam said...

On my project we always made our appointments SMART, meaning Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. A method that's been working out quite nice.

Anonymous said...

The big takeaway for me is "What are you committing to finishing for the team by the next time we meet? If you can't meet that commitment there should be something for you to complain about when answering the third question! It's something we all need to know, because we'll succeed or fail as a team."

This is a problem on our team, becaause as Clint says, people will just say what they are working on, and don't commit to a finish time/date.

The tricky part is, even if the SM phrases Q2 per the quote I displayed above, I'm not sure the answer from the team would be any different. To paraphrase an old saying, you can lead a team to enlightenment, but you can't make them commit. Getting the team to think this way is my greatest challenge as a SM/team member.

Great post, it's given me a way to frame a problem I've seen before but couldn't really put into words.

r