According to the Scrum Guide, a scrum is a framework for teams to address complex problems to deliver products of the highest possible value. Once specific to software development teams to ensure their sprint goals are being met, scrums have become much more widespread in the past several years. Daily scrum meetings are just part of being part of a scrum team. The brief, daily meetings can mean the difference between your project going astray and staying on target. However, there is both an art and a science to making these meetings work. 10 tips to master daily scrum meetings are as follows:

  1. Start on Time, Every time
    Part of the science behind mastering the daily scrum meeting is starting on time, every time, whether all attendees have arrived or not. This will keep everyone on schedule and may even shame the tardy attendee into coming on time next time! And, as long as you follow the 2nd tip on this list, attendees will know that if they are late, they will miss just about everything.
  2. Keep Meetings Short and Sweet
    One way to keep meetings brief is to hold literal stand-up meetings where everyone remains standing. The relative discomfort compared to sitting keeps people moving and has them keep an eye on the clock, or at least keeping their mind on the amount of time they have been on their feet and not sitting in their comfy chairs.

    If you’ve ever watched a rugby match, you can see why “scrum” is a perfect term for these meetings. A rugby scrum is done very quickly and efficiently, gets all of your front-line players together to work towards one goal, in this case getting the ball to your back-line players. There is someone that calls the plays and each person does their part until the scrum ends and everybody goes back to their individual tasks on the field in order to achieve the overall goal: to score points to win the game. Each game will require several scrums and everyone needs to be present in order for them to work. And, of course, these are also done standing ;).
  3. Don’t Cancel Meetings
    It’s understandable if every once in a while, a daily scrum meeting will need to be canceled. However, keeping them as consistent as possible will ensure your employees will make it an automatic part of their daily schedule. Too many cancellations will lead to people questioning the need for them and whether or not they really need to make it a daily part of their schedule. Even if there are only two of you able to attend certain days, it will help everyone to see the show must go on.
  4. Keep the same agenda
    Keep the same purpose and agenda for each meeting so everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them. Keep a similar cadence for each so team members are prepared when it’s their turn to speak and keep the information to be shared the same for each as well.
  5. Stay Focused
    Part of the art of running daily scrum meetings is to keep them focused. These meetings should require input from everyone, but nothing more than an update as to what was accomplished yesterday, what is planned to be accomplished today and any impediments that can be foreseen to getting those tasks completed. Problem-solving should not be a part of the daily scrum meetings. If there are problems that arise that need to be addressed, they should be taken offline.
  6. Everyone Should Be Prepared
    It shouldn’t take much time at all to prepare if the previous two tips are followed. A mental note should do the trick if there aren’t any complex impediments to be discussed. If anyone has so much to say that it needs to be written down, it probably should be taken offline as well. High-level information is best for these quick-hitting meetings.
  7. No Electronics
    Treat it like dinner with your teenagers and have everyone leave their electronics out of the area. Phones, tablets and/or laptops are essential tools throughout the workday, but they very easily become a distraction to anyone who receives a notification of an email or a text message. Most of us automatically look at our devices when we receive notifications any more. When that happens, the finely-tuned cadence you once had can go out the window, along with your attendees’ attention.
  8. Keep Them Energetic
    These meetings can be an excellent way to rally your team members. There are several ways to do so, including simply keeping an upbeat attitude as the facilitator. If it sounds exhausting just thinking about doing that or you just don’t feel like being cheery every morning before you’ve had enough coffee, changing facilitators can keep it fresh. You could bring a ball to use as a tool to determine who is speaking and each participant throws it to the next. It may help to get people to pay attention (so they don’t get hit unexpectedly by a ball!) and remind everyone who does not have the ball to stay silent.

    These meetings may also benefit from a certain something to begin it, like a quote of the day, and something to end it that could be used as a battle cry of sorts. Something similar to what was done in a popular cop show called “Hill Street Blues” decades ago where the chief would say “Let’s be careful out there,” to end every shift meeting. It would send the police officers off to start their day with the ultimate goal in mind and the knowledge that their leader cared enough to say it…every day. Though it’s a reference only your grandparents may understand, it demonstrates what could be done by a leader to end each daily scrum and start employees off to their tasks. A simple “You got this!” or “Go get ‘em!” would be an easy way to end the meeting and send them off in good spirits.
  9. Know Your Crew
    Not all teams are created equally. Figure out what type of format works best for your team so that it makes sense to them and to you. Perhaps your team will focus best on taking turns as you go around the room. Maybe they would do better with task-based updates.
  10. Use Collaboration Tools for Virtual Attendees
    Of course, this is all well and good, except it’s 2019 and now, more than ever, employees are not all on-site. This is where collaboration tools will become essential to get virtual attendees involved. Using apps such as Projects.ly will help keep virtual attendees informed about the status of all projects at all times.

According to a survey by Springer Link, the jury is still out among all participants about the effectiveness of daily scrum meetings. However, younger employees found them more valuable, which could indicate that it is a good way for those with less experience to gain valuable insight from their more experienced teams. Either way, following the tips in this blog, will help you gain traction in your daily scrum meetings, increasing the effectiveness of the meetings themselves.

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