The 5 Discussions Your Scrum Team Should Be Having
The Daily Scrum is an absolutely necessary part of Scrum, but it’s not really about those 3 questions we all know and love:
- What have you done since the last Daily Scrum to help us meet the Sprint Goal?
- What are you going to do until the next Daily Scrum to help us meet the Sprint Goal?
- What impediments are standing in your way?
It’s about inspecting and adapting; collecting information (inspecting) and doing something with the information (adapting).
Here are 5 discussions that naturally percolate to the surface during the Daily Scrum.
1. The Re-Plan Existing Work Discussion
The most important kind of discussion, and one that often directly follows the Daily Scrum, is a tactical re-planning session. This is the discussion where the tactical Agility takes place; this is where the Team truly exercises its self-organization and self-management.
When a Team is Swarming, they need to know which Stories (represented by their Coordinators) need help from the Swarmers and which Swarmers are available to help. The Team Members need to know what they’re going to do today. There’s really no magic to this, it’s just simply a discussion amongst the Team Members about who’s going to do what today, who needs help, and who’s available. When this discussion is over, all the Team Members walk away knowing what they’re going to do today or, at least, what they’re going to be doing right now. That’s it, that’s all, that’s enough.
2. The Impediment Removal Discussion
The second most common type of discussion that the Team may have after the Daily Scrum is an Impediment Removal session. In this discussion, the ScrumMaster works with the Team Members who have impediments to help them figure out how to remove or bypass them.
To do this, the impediment must be thoroughly discussed to determine what’s really going on; why it is an impediment and what the Team wants done about it. The goal is to figure out what the Team’s plan of attack is, and then have the Team go and execute this plan. Often, the Team’s Product Owner will be involved in this discussion for one of two reasons: either the Product Owner will help remove the impediment; or the Product Owner will negotiate with the Team Members about the balance between effort spent on the impediment, effort spent on the Story that’s being impeded, and the possibility that other Stories won’t get Done.
3. The Intraspective Discussion
The ScrumMaster may have noticed or heard something during the Daily Scrum that requires an Intraspective. The purpose of an Intraspective is to discuss a particular issue, activity, or event in order to figure out if changes in the Team’s practices are needed.
4. The Product Focused Discussion
TeamLets that are Swarming need to have discussions about their Stories. For example, they need architecture discussions, design discussions, interface discussions, and test design discussions. At the Daily Scrum, the TeamLet should tell the rest of the Team that they’re having these discussions.
5. The Scope Negotiation Discussion
Occasionally, it is necessary to negotiate a change in expected scope with the Product Owner during the Sprint. We know, we know… we don’t promise any particular scope in a Sprint — it’s only a forecast. Nevertheless, the Team’s Product Owner probably sets expectations with Stakeholders, and these expectations and the Sprint’s reality need to be kept in sync.
These expectations can get out of sync in a couple of ways:
- The Team isn’t going to finish all it hoped to, or
- The Product Owner needs to add or change scope based on conversations with Stakeholders.
During the Daily Scrum, either the Product Owner or an affected Team Member should bring up the fact that a scope discussion is necessary, and the ScrumMaster and the Team should figure out when to have a discussion about this.
This discussion may not need to occur immediately. It all depends on how urgent the change is, how much time is left in the Sprint, and so on. If the change causes a modification to the Sprint Goal, any subsequent discussions will have to include the Stakeholders.
These 5 discussions may not happen every day, but a Scrum Team, on their continuing journey to becoming a Well-Formed Team™, will engage in them frequently.
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As Always, Stay Agile.