Dysfunctions Around Scrum Events: The Daily Scrum
Consider the Daily Scrum as one of your instruments to measure just how well your team is doing Scrum.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
The significance of Mirrors in our world
I am sure you must have come across funny mirrors in theme parks or fun worlds which make you see a ludicrous version of yourself, maybe a heavier or lighter version. It's good for a laugh, but you won't buy one of those for your home to use regularly. On a regular basis, we want to see our true reflection in a normal mirror which helps us get ready for the day. The mirror enables us to take a look at the way we appear and then adjust from there. Bear in mind: the mirror can't adjust the way you look.
How Feedback Loops Are Like Agile Mirrors
Feedback loops are also like mirrors in our Agile journey, as they have the capability to show us how we work at present, helping us interpret what can be improved, but leaving the responsibility to experiment and improve things with us. These feedback loops can't change the way we work, just like the mirror can't change your appearance. One of the most common and frequently-used feedback loops is the Daily Scrum, which helps you to inspect what is already done and adapt your course which helps you steer your work towards the sprint goal.
When we use a dirty mirror, it doesn't give us a clear reflection of our appearance. If we still don't clean it, we adjust our appearance based on the vague image that we see in the mirror, which may lead to a disastrous outcome. Similar to mirrors, the Daily Scrum helps the team inspect the progress and adapt the plan towards the sprint goal. If the Daily Scrum is not done efficiently then the progress toward the sprint goal becomes vague and may lead the team towards a poor plan eventually spearheading towards a disastrous sprint. Let's explore what may cause an inefficient Daily Scrum.
5 Dysfunctions of Daily Scrum:
When the Daily Scrum is just about status updates, for example: "The story that I am working on is in-progress" or "The story I am working on is blocked." In these cases, it never comes across what the progress is on that work unit, what has already been done, and what more needs to be done. If something is blocked, then what is it blocked by and who can help it unblock? This information not only helps the team get better insights on the progress but also helps the development team to know what will be done next, increasing the accountability within the team.
I strongly believe that we must share what we are working on, be it development, quality assurance, DevOps tasks, or any enabling task. Active participation helps the team understand that every individual is equally important and accountable, and helps a team to better understand the present situation and help each other in the best way possible. Passive participation also promotes silo formation within the team based on expertise. This is one of the reasons why Scrum doesn't have these roles within Scrum teams.
The team often works on units which are not present in sprints, which hampers the transparency around the progress towards the sprint goal and also impacts the forecasting abilities of the team. It is perfectly fine to add some unforeseen work to the sprint which compliments the sprint goal but it needs to be communicated and discussed with the Product Owner and the team to find the best way to accommodate the change within the sprint.
We know software development is complex in nature, and it is quite impossible to stay in a "no impediment" zone for too long. If the team is habitual to state that they don't have any impediments then, it can be a sign of something bad. In these cases, helping team understand what can be stated as impediments can help them raise the impediments. If they can identify the impediments faster, they can fix them faster.
This is a very visible sign of an inefficient Daily Scrum. Some examples can be team members waiting for each other to move first for the Daily Scrum or if the team takes too much time to arrange themselves for the Daily Scrum. These are the signs that the team doesn't get value out of their Daily Scrum. Helping them understand the purpose of the Daily Scrum can be a good starting point for these cases.
To get a clear reflection, you need to keep your mirror clean. To become transparent you have to clean your feedback loops.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.