The purpose of the Daily Scrum (or the equivalent daily team meeting in another method) is to figure out how the team will collaborate today based on what we now know about our work.
Traditionally in Scrum, a team tries to achieve this by having each team member answer three questions:
- What did you do yesterday?
- What are you going to today?
- What impediments are in your way?
Unfortunately, that approach pretty reliably produces a meeting where everyone reports on how busy they are and fails to achieve the purpose of the Daily Scrum—a plan for today’s collaboration.
One small change can fix this. Instead of going person by person and answering those three questions, go item by item on the team’s Sprint Backlog, asking each item these three questions:
- What happened to get me closer to done yesterday?
- What’s keeping me from getting done?
- What’s going to get me closer to done today?
Of course, the work can’t speak for itself, so team members will end up sharing. But what they share will be focused on the team’s shared commitment rather than on each individual’s busyness.
Taking the items in priority order increases the chances that the most important items will move forward today.
And asking about impediments before asking about today’s plan makes it more likely the team will rally around resolving those impediments to keep the work moving forward.